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To all mothers everywhere – Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy-Mother-s-Day-Mother-and-Child-in-Veil-PostersBefore I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn’t worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

CB106347
Before I was a Mom,

I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn’t want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn’t stop the hurt.

I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn’t know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn’t know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn’t know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn’t know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Mother and ChildBefore I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn’t know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

mother-child-silhouette-cli

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by the cares of life.

Thank you to one of my Kindermusik moms, Myra Stewart, for sending this on to me.    Happy Mother’s Day, Myra!

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I am usually known as an encourager, although from time to time I have been known to really wallow in pessimism and have one absolutely *terrific* pity-party with anyone and everyone invited.    But with the overwhelming, frequent soundbites each day of the “free-falling economy,” the “downward spiral on Wall Street” with “no end in sight, ” it’s sometimes difficult to keep a positive outlook.

I’ve thought a lot recently about something Franklin Delano Roosevelt said in his first inaugural address in 1933:   “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”    Fear is palpable in our country right now, especially in the media who feeds it to us daily on a frequent basis.

Yesterday, thankfully, I read something so encouraging about one CEO’s decision to not give in to the mindset espoused by the media that I wanted to share it here in hopes that this choice might spread rapidly across our nation like a virus.   It already did there at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

All it takes is one person making a conscious decision to look for an alternative to layoffs,  being willing to give up something in order to help out others in jeopardy of their livelihood,  asking other workers to come alongside and share with the load of keeping everyone employed.

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Read about President and CEO Paul Levy’s alternative to layoffs here and how his staff responded to his request for sacrifice.

Their response, in my opinion, is akin to the actions shown by my grandparents’ generation in the Great  Depression when extended families and neighbors reached out to help each other when there was a need.

It reminds me of my parents’ generation – the so-called Greatest Generation – when they came together as “one nation” in World War II to fight to preserve the sanctity and safety of their families here at home.

It’s about time that my generation – the Boomers – gets off their collective blessed assurance and show that we are capable of  carrying that same torch to keep our nation whole and healthy as our parents and grandparents before us.   Our children and grandchildren deserve no less.

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I just found my new theme song.  Now to drive my kids crazy with it until they refill my coffee cup!  Enjoy!  🙂

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I don’t honestly remember how I first found TED.com.  I guess it was a link sent by a friend or one of those days I was surfing the web, traveling from link to link, reading whatever caught my interest.  In any event,  I was so fascinated by the expansive offerings on TED that I subscribed to their newsletter.

This week’s e-newsletter shared one of the three winning TED wishes ($100K prize) this year  – that of Dr. Jose Abreu of Venezuela,  a 70-year-old retired economist, trained musician, and social reformer who founded “the system” (El Sistema) in 1975 and has built it with religious zeal, based on his belief that what poor Venezuelan kids needed was classical music.

Abreu’s wish?  To take El Sistema to other nations, including the United States.

El Sistema is all about children,  many from neighborhoods which are so poor, desperate and crime-ridden, that hope is often extinguished in children at an early age, living in areas where residents don’t walk alone day or night.  And it’s focus is about saving them – hundreds of thousands of children – through music.

According to Dr. Abreu, music is a social system that fights poverty and overcomes it by the spiritual richness that music provides, becoming a vehicle of social change.

Each day, children from some of the poorest of the poor slums in Venezuela line up for free lessons at their local branch of El Sistema.  Beginning as early as two years of age, they start learning the basics, like rhythm, and the language of music.  (Sounds like Kindermusik!)

By the time they’re four, they’re being taught how to play an instrument. By the time they’re six or seven-year-old veterans, they’re playing in orchestras.

Through hard work and the assistance of fifteen thousand trained musicians as well as gifted kids who teach other kids, the system uses classical music to instill in the kids self-esteem and confidence.

In the thirty-four years since El Sistema was first founded, over eight hundred thousand children have passed through the organization.  While the majority of them do not continue on to be professional musicians, all of them are changed.

Dr. Abreu is quoted as saying,

“Music produces an irreversible transformation in a child. This doesn’t mean he’ll end up as a professional musician. He may become a doctor, or study law, or teach literature. What music gives him remains indelibly part of who he is forever.”

When asked if he thinks the system could work in the United States, one Sistema branch manager said:

“Yeah. But I mean, kids are kids. It doesn’t matter where they come from. And if you can help a poor kid in here, you can help a poor kid everywhere. It doesn’t matter the culture, it doesn’t matter the race. I mean, it’s music. Everybody love music.”

Make sure your computer is hooked up to a good set of speakers, turn up the sound, sit back, and prepare to be completely blown away by the power and beauty of  the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra (Sinfónica Juvenil Teresa Carreño), the national high-school-age youth orchestra of El Sistema, directed by Gustavo Dudamel,  newly named musical director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and product of El Sistema himself.   The two selections are Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, and Mexican composer Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2.

To learn more about Dr. Abreu, El Sistema, and making Dr. Abreu’s wish come true, please visit TED.com here.

To view the El Sistema segment by Bob Simon on 60 Minutes, please follow this link.

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I love hearing what parents have to say about Kindermusik!  After all, I’m biased – I know that it’s the very best early childhood music and movement curriculum there is!  And I know that it’s *so* much more than just music.

But to hear what a parent has to say – well, that’s a glimpse into the other side of the equation in the Kindermusik classroom – the parent and their participation in class, too.

This article by Beth Britton in Clarkesville Online shares all this, but also points out another big plus for Kindermusik parents – the Kindermusik community of other parents that are right there with you in the classroom.

beth-britton

Read what this mom from Clarkesville, Tennessee had to say about Kindermusik and the eye-opening insight she received about her own daughter while in the classroom.   Where would we be without the free thinkers of this world?  Your child *just* might be one of them!

It’s not too late to register for our upcoming Kindermusik semester which begins *next* Saturday, January 24th.    We’ll be singing Mother Goose rhymes, walking along with a dog named Rover, visiting “Cities – Busy Places, Friendly Faces” as well as playing the “Rhythms of the Land”.  Come join us!

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A colleague of mine, Jenn Horak-Hulk of Waukee, Iowa, recently posted a video of Kindermusik parents who explained why they chose Kindermusik for their children.  Each one has a different perspective to offer that is well worth hearing.  And the kids are just darn cute!  Enjoy!
This highly qualified parent (Early Childhood PhD) explains why she chose Kindermusik for her own children.
Our new semester begins in just two weeks!  Home materials are being ordered today.  Have you registered your child yet?

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Most babies come into this world with only a few notable abilities at first, namely eating, sleeping, crying, and, well,……elimination, to be blunt, although not necessarily in that order.  One of the constants in that first year of life is growth – physically, mentally, and emotionally – on a scale that is only matched again in the early teen years when, yes, they’re again extremely good at the same basic skills.  Well, at least the eating and sleeping parts!  😉

However, in an article from the Daily Mail Online, dated 23rd September, 2008, researchers now tell us that even from day one, infants have a strong sense of rhythm as well as pitch and melody.   Experts now say that introducing a child to music at an early age could possibly enhance these innate musical abilities and also help them learn to talk.

The fledgling musical talent was discovered by Hungarian researchers during a study of more than 100 boys and girls who were only one or two days old.

They played the babies music as they slept and measured their brain activity.

The researchers found that their brains computed changes in beat, tone and melody.

For instance, if a key beat was missed from a rhythmic pattern, the baby’s brain registered the change.

A change in pitch, similar to that between male and female voices, also provoked a reaction.

The Hungarian Academy of Sciences study was part of a three-year European project on how the brain processes music and other sounds, co-ordinated by Dr Susan Denham, of Plymouth University.

She said: ‘What is perhaps most significant is that not only do babies’ brains register changes in beat, pitch and simple melodic patterns but they do so more or less automatically, as they are fast asleep during these experiments.

‘People come into the world with brains that are wired-up to detect patterns’.

Dr Denham added: ‘A lot of music reflects the rhythms and contents of speech. If you are listening to music you will also probably be more sensitive to speech rhythm.’

This really does make sense when you think about it.  After all, a baby spends 9+ months in utero, listening to a steady beat 24/7 of his/her mother’s heart.  I’ve also had numerous Village moms tell me that their babies seemed to recognize not only their mothers’ voices shortly after birth, but also other voices heard consistently pre-natally, such as dad or siblings. 

One Village mom in particular told me just last year that when she was pregnant the previous year, she tended to listen to one particular artist on a regular basis, almost daily.  She had an album she enjoyed listening to, with one song that was a favorite, listening to it over and over again. 

After the birth of her daughter, with all of the adjustments and changes in the family routine that results from a firstborn, listening to albums was not high on the daily schedule – until the day that mom turned on the CD player for some badly needed relief from a crying, inconsolable baby. 

Without really consciously thinking about it, she chose the album and song she had listened to frequently during the pregnancy.  Amazingly enough, the baby stopped crying within a few seconds of the beginning strains of the song.  I don’t honestly remember the song title, but I do remember laughing with Yolanda at the time; both of us agreeing that it wasn’t the usual lullaby-type song you would expect an infant to enjoy and relax with. 

Give your baby a head-start by joining us next Saturday, October 25th, or Monday, November 3rd, as we begin Dream Pillow  in our Village classes.  Online registration is available for your convenience here.

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