Kari Richmond on raising musical children

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Kari Richmond is a mother of two and the director of Asheville Area Music Together. She is a wonderful teacher, sharing her love of music with many children (including my own two) in her Music Together classes. Please join me in learning more about encouraging children's musical selves. 

***Note: Readers will have a chance to win a child's hand drum at the end of this interview.***

JEAN:  Can you tell us a bit about your background and why you have been drawn to music and to Music Together?

KARI:  Before I was a Music Together teacher, I would have answered this question by talking about piano lessons, church choirs,  high school band, and so on.  But my Music Together journey has really reminded me of the true roots of my love of music, and to a large degree, my musical tastes and abilities.  My truly foundational musical memories include watching my parents boogie to their favorite oldies and classic rock records; creating "instruments" out of tinker toys and empty cereal boxes to form "rock bands" with my sisters; and an enthusiastically musical Children's Church teacher.  As I remember it, I was always the joyful and aggressive drummer (think Animal from the Muppets) in our make-believe rock bands, and I have vivid memories of playing the rhythm instruments during music time at church. I am a life-long devotee of the old Muppet shows and Warner Brothers cartoons, which effectively (though perhaps not intentionally) teach musical concepts through the silly antics of the characters.  Taking the Music Together Teacher Training workshop put me back in touch with really special musical memories, and teaching Music Together is the perfect outlet to be free and silly and spontaneous with music again.

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JEAN:  How do you feel parent/child music classes affect the families who participate?

KARI:  Kids often wait until they get home after class to display their musical *stuff,* so parents have given us a lot of feedback to let us know what's going on outside of class.  The most basic effect that parents notice is that their child's musical experimentation increases by leaps and bounds.  More humming, more singing, more tapping and bouncing.  On the older kid end of the spectrum, one mom sent me a video of her 4-year-old daughter singing a song that she had created–music, lyrics, the whole shebang!  

My favorite stories are the ones where music has helped grow emotional bonds within families.  I've heard stories of siblings creating and playing musical games together at home, based on the activities we did during class.  The Hello Song we use in class becomes a dinner blessing ritual or a morning wake-up ritual for many kids.  A lullaby at bedtime can become an important bonding time, and these connecting moments are cherished memories for parents AND children years later.  One of my Music Together families this past fall included a newly adopted 3-year-old.  The mom told me that Music Together classtime was one of the few times where she and the child experienced positive interactions with each other during their stressful acclimation.

I know from experience with my own children that music-making helps us get through our day more joyfully. Tricky times like transitions and clean-up times are more fun and efficient when we sing our way through.  Hopefully, Music Together class inspires parents to keep music in their minds more at home, to sing and move with their kids, to notice their kids' musical behaviors for what they are–musical "babbling" and play/experimentation–and to support those musical behaviors.  

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JEAN:  You’ve called music one of the languages of the world – will you talk about this concept?

KARI:  The Music Together founders refer to music-making as a birthright for every human being.  We believe that every child is musical, and this isn't just fluffy feel-good philosophy.  That statement is based on research that shows that potential musical ability is distributed on a standard bell curve across the population.  This contradicts the commonly held concept of musical Talent that is bestowed mysteriously on the "lucky few."  

Music activates our most basic emotions, stimulating hormone and other physiological changes.  Our regularly beating hearts render us individual rhythm machines.  Some experts suggest that humans were a singing species before we developed speech, and a fascinating book called "The Singing Neanderthals" discusses the possible evolutionary stages and advantages of music-making.

On a personal level, I find it incredibly exciting to trace our musical heritage and to know that I share a gut-level emotional response with folks of other cultures, whose music birthed our own modern American music genres.  Though I can't speak any African languages, I can recognize certain African rhythms and tonal cadences and can follow their evolution through blues, gospel, and modern pop music.  Our modern bluegrass music has long roots back to Celtic music, our modern classical music has been heavily influenced by middle-Eastern, Indian, and European musical traditions, and our cinematic music calls up music from any culture you can think of!  Our inheritance is not just a set of musical themes, but the moods and ideas that have been tied to the those themes for centuries.

JEAN:  I’ve often felt (and maybe this just shows my ignorance) that music isn’t as open ended as some of the other arts – that with music you can be right or wrong, which I don’t feel is the case with visual art. You can be off beat or get the notes or pitch wrong. Can you talk about the role of creativity versus skill and memorization in music?

KARI:  This is a really interesting question.  I do think that there is a right or wrong component to the majority of our musical context, but if you check out some of the post-modern music that people have written and performed in the past few decades, you might re-think where the right/wrong line can be…or even where the music/noise line can be.  There is a lot more flexibility in what's acceptable for tonal and rhythmic accuracy than most people realize.  Especially in pop music of the last hundred years or so, there's so much vocal sliding and rhythm "bending" going on that it's just become an accepted part of our musical tradition.  Some of our best-loved singing artists were/are really not that "good" in the sense of true accuracy…think Janis Joplin, Billy Joel, Nina Simone, Prince, Bob Dylan, Britney, Dave Matthews for goodness sake!  But that doesn't lessen our enjoyment of their sound!

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The beauty of music is that given a decent amount of exposure, babies start to decode musical information very very early.  My 6-month-old daughter lights up when I sing to her, and she often responds with musical "babbling" behaviors, like toning on my resting tone or a related note.  The more I sing to her and bring her to classes, the broader her experience becomes, with more opportunities to advance through the upward spiral of musical understanding.

One of the catch-phrases that kept coming back in my Teacher Training workshop is "Repetition is good.  Repetition is good.  Repetition is good."  Young children thrive on repetition–they love it and learn through it–and most kids go through a stage of preferring or requesting one or two particular songs over and over until the parent thinks she will lose her mind if she has to listen to THAT SONG one more time!  This repetition helps the child decode that song over time until it is mastered–meaning the child can sing it in tune and in time.  With each new song, the the decoding process is more efficient and shorter with each new musical obsession, until the experienced music-processing child can actually predict the ending of a song she's never heard before.  Along the way, any musical understanding that is accumulated becomes the jumping-off platform for creativity.  You only have to know one note to make a chant.

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One reason it's so important to get young children into musical environments and exploration is that they are not self-conscious about whether they sound "good" or "correct."  For them, making music is all about the experience itself, not the product, and learning happens naturally and efficiently through play.  That is the kind of pressure-free environment we try to establish in Music Together classes too.  We lay out the information like a buffet table, and we invite each child to sample whatever is attractive and appropriate to her.  Depending on the child's stage of development he may be more focused on trying to match what he hears, or he may be more interested in experimenting with new sounds that he can create.

Consistent exposure to rich, varied, joyful, live music-making environments (Music Together class!) supports children as they build their musical foundations; a child's personal musical experimentation games become intuitive musical understanding.  An intuitive grasp of music concepts gives the child increased opportunities for creative outlet.  

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JEAN:  What can parents do to encourage musical exploration at home?

KARI:  Young children are highly motivated to learn to do what their parents do.  Most of us are not Grammy-award winning musicians, and most adults I know loudly bemoan their lack of musical skills. But even if you can't sing in tune or tap in rhythm, you are not off the hook for teaching your child to be a confident, joyful music-maker!  Modeling musical exploration is so so simple and so important.  Get out a shaker or a drum…or a pan and a spoon…or Tinker Toys and empty cereal boxes, and sing and bang along to "I've Been Working on the Railroad."  Sing along with your favorite CD–certainly doesn't have to be "kids' music!"–and dance around with your child.  Sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider" or "You Are My Sunshine" while you're changing a diaper.  Make up short little songs or chants to describe your child's activity (i.e. Picking up your blocks, picking up your blocks, Hi ho, the derry oh, picking up your blocks to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell").  Leave familiar musical phrases unfinished to see if your child will chime in with the last note.  "Happy birthday to ____!"  Bring your child to a fun class where he or she can experience the community music-making environment.  Take your child to live musical performances as often as you can.

So many parents fear that they will somehow "mess up" their child by singing out of tune around them.  This is simply not true.  The only way to raise a child to be fearful of or inept at making music is to NOT make music with them. 

Think of how you would introduce your very young child to creating art or to any sport or to reading books. Most 2-year-olds don't have the "equipment" to read, but we don't have to wait until they do to get them excited about books, familarize  them with the reading process, and instill an early foundational *propensity* to read.  We present our little ones with attractive age-appropriate books, and we model by reading out loud.  Luckily, we don't have to be prize-winning authors to be qualified to teach our children a love of reading and basic reading skills.

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JEAN:  Will you share your favorite instruments or music games for young kids?

KARI:  I'm pretty spontaneous about what my favorite game is at any given moment.  The best game is the one we're playing right now!  Because that's what's relevant.  And spontaneity and silliness often go hand in hand.  

Though everybody gets excited when the parachute or the instruments come out in class, I try to help parents understand that children can only truly learn to play instruments after they have mastered "playing" their own bodies.  I love games that reinforce the parent-child bond or that build a sense of community.  With all this in mind, we do lots patty-cake type activities, hugging, rowing, rocking, hand-holding, tickling, dancing, anything that involves loving physical interaction between parent and child.  

Peek-a-boo!  It's a universally beloved game, and it can be taken to new heights when you add music.  We do things as simple a singing "Peek-a-Boo" on the cadential notes of a song, and as involved and protracted as having a whole 4-phrase chant that is basically one long peek-a-boo game.  "Jack in the Box" is a favorite chant along those lines.

I do love the instruments too, and I have a special place in my heart for the drums.  There were never enough drums to go around when I was a kid, and I SO wanted to be the drummer!  I love the big ol' booming gathering drums!

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JEAN:  Anything else you’d like to add?

KARI:  While books-on-tape are fun and useful, you wouldn't rely solely on them to teach your child to read.  Likewise, don't fall into the trap of thinking you can teach a child to be musical by relying solely on recorded music.  You may raise a skilled consumer of music this way, but probably not a confident music-maker.

Also, I want to encourage parents to keep on singing, even when you're not receiving accolades from your child.  It is typical for every child to go through a protracted "No Mama, don't sing!!" phase.  My son did this from about 2 1/2 years until 3 1/2 years.  But "How can I keep from singing?" Eventually he outgrew that phase, or maybe he just gave up!  No matter what your child says at any particular moment, your voice is the most important and beautiful one in the world to him.

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to spout off about musical learning for young children! I would love to hear your readers' reactions to any of what I've said and answer questions, so fire away!

JEAN: Thank you so much, Kari!

Registration is now open for Asheville Area Music Together winter classes. If you live in the area and have small children (between 0 and 5), I highly recommend them! And if you live elsewhere, there is likely a parent-child music class somewhere near you.

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Drum Giveaway:

To be entered into a random drawing for this child’s hand drum, please leave a comment about a favorite musical experience you've shared with your child – this could be a favorite song sung together, a show you’ve attended together, a favorite musical routine… Comments left by Thursday, December 9th at 12 midnight EST will be included in the drawing.

The random number generator picked #70 so Ann wins the drawing for the child's hand drum. Congrats Ann!

I love Music Together. We play the CDs and my boys now 7,7 and 10 still love them. Last night in the ER with my 2 year old we sang "open, shut them" together while waiting for her to get stitches in her forehead. For a Christmas present I want to give her (and me) registration to Music Together classes.

 

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94 Comments

  • Reply
    Kate
    December 6, 2010 at 6:19 am

    I’m afraid that my children have inherited my husband’s tone-deafness, but I love how enthusiastically and uninhibitedly they will belt out a tune! Thanks for this interview and giveaway!!

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    toasted
    December 6, 2010 at 6:21 am

    Hah .. this post is great timing for me. Just a half-hour ago my daughter was tinkering on the piano and she said ‘Mum, is this a night-time song?’ and I said ‘Yes, it sounds like stars twinkling to me’ and I joined in playing those high notes. It was really connected and fun … but I still thought ‘oh, I’ve got to learn to read music so I can play some ‘proper’ songs with her (I’ve never been taught music, just taught myself and always feel inadequate because of it.) This interview makes me realise it’s all about teaching the love of music to her (the same way we do art)… probably a good tack to take with myself too! Ta.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    December 6, 2010 at 7:12 am

    we need a new drum and we love MT! and kari too!

  • Reply
    Kathie
    December 6, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Wonderful interview. Ver educational. Thanks for the chance to win a drum.

  • Reply
    Helen
    December 6, 2010 at 7:33 am

    We did Music Together with my kids from very early on…and they both adore music. All it takes to get my daughter to calm down when she is upset is to say “ba ba ba ba ba” and she pats her knees and repeats it back. Such fun!

  • Reply
    Randi
    December 6, 2010 at 7:43 am

    I sing with my youngest child every night at bath time, we both love it.

  • Reply
    Beth
    December 6, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I made my daughter a “drum” out of an empty formula can and she loves it. I love when she starts drumming on it and then looks up at me with a big, proud grin on her face. :)

  • Reply
    LIsa Fairbridge
    December 6, 2010 at 7:59 am

    I have taught my oldest 3 children how to sing (and do the actions to)Incy wincy spider. It is so cute. My 2 oldest are now 7 and 11 so they do it perfectly and they are now helping me teach miss 2 how to sing it. (My youngest is only 8 months old so anything I sing to him he loves but he cant sing himself yet but he does squeal).
    We all love singing and dancing in our house. Miss 2 grabs anything that she can use as a microphone. Normally ends up being one of her baby brothers rattles.

  • Reply
    Rachelle
    December 6, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Great interview! My 2.5 daughter falls asleep to Music Together music everynight, and definitely has her favorites that are always requested. She’s now learning about holiday music and it’s interesting to watch her face light up when a familiar tune comes on the radio. I’ve heard, “mom, don’t sing” so many times, and I’m glad to know it’s not necessarily because I’m singing off key!

  • Reply
    amy
    December 6, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Great interview! It took me a while to find the right music class, and now we travel 45 minutes each way for Music Together. There are a few choices closer to home, including two other MT classes, but the teacher is a huge part of the experience, and ours is worth the trip. I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, but I have been joyfully singing to my children since birth, and my kids all sing too. Music is just joy around here.

  • Reply
    Stacy Gray
    December 6, 2010 at 8:19 am

    We pull out all of out bells and shakers and put some music on (usually 80’s) and make some noise every day. We are missing a drum though. :)

  • Reply
    Tracy
    December 6, 2010 at 9:17 am

    watching my daughter enjoy all kinds of music over the years, and now mostly what she is asking for as gifts are musical instruments. She’d love a drum!

  • Reply
    adrianeNH
    December 6, 2010 at 9:34 am

    My daughter and I always sing a “good morning” song and a “good night” song. It really helps anchor those times for us and a lovely transition to wake and sleep.
    Would love to include a drum under the Christmas tree this year! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Jesse
    December 6, 2010 at 10:04 am

    My three year old daughter loves music! My favorite thing to do is teach her a song (nursery rhyme, etc.) and then watch her adapt it by making her own lyrics to the tune. She is a very musical person, and is constantly singing during tasks, dancing to music, and playing with the instruments we have. Great interview!

  • Reply
    Erinode
    December 6, 2010 at 10:20 am

    My 2 year old is such an avid dancer and singer right now, it’s so fun. His favorite now is ABC song? So, we often do as Kari suggests, starting the song and pause, he picks up on that and loudly joins. I love the confidence that little ones have in their own voices. We have a designated bin of music makers, some purchased, some homemade, but the pots and pans still get a big workout.
    I laughed at Kari’s advice to keep singing when they tell you to stop…my now 8year old used to tell us, ‘Stopa singing!’ :]

  • Reply
    nichole
    December 6, 2010 at 10:37 am

    We loved our experiences in Kari’s Music Together classes. She’s a wonderful teacher!

  • Reply
    Becky
    December 6, 2010 at 10:37 am

    We also loved Music Together, but the fact that mommy and daddy participated in all the antics in the classes probably made it more delightful for my girls. Trot o Joe will probably be etched forever in their memories.

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    December 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

    We listen to a different radio station every day in the car.

  • Reply
    Linda B
    December 6, 2010 at 10:45 am

    My current favorite is listening to my 3-year-old sing “Teddy Bears’ Picnic” and “Happy Birthday to Jesus”. I love it!

  • Reply
    Janelle
    December 6, 2010 at 11:11 am

    We have a family band called the Twinkies. My 2.5 year old son usually plays his ukelele and then assigns various instruments to the rest of us. He also makes the set list :-)

  • Reply
    Becky
    December 6, 2010 at 11:25 am

    My three year old loves to put on concerts for the family and especially her little sister. Even as an infant my youngest would lie on a blanket mesmerized by her sister’s drumming, singing, and dancing:)

  • Reply
    Jennifer3
    December 6, 2010 at 11:33 am

    I am with her in that my favorite musical experience with my kids is the one I am in. My ipod lives in the kitchen, though, and we are often dancing in there. That my be my overall favorite.

  • Reply
    Allison
    December 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    My daughter (3) LOVES to make up songs and is actually really good at it. She has a real knack. My son (1) has had the music in him since he could hold his head on his own and will bop along to any beat.

  • Reply
    Jill
    December 6, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I think my 4 year old gal would love this! Going to check out the website right now!

  • Reply
    April
    December 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    Never does a day go by that I don’t sing to my children. I sing to them all of the time and my daughter loves to join in. My son is 6 months old and when I sing to him is when I can get the most smiles out of him. Our favorite songs are the traditional ones such as Itsy Bitsy Spider and The Wheels on the Bus but we do also sing seasonal and themed songs as well.

  • Reply
    Dongdong
    December 6, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    My favorite musical experience is getting glimpses of my daughter and son improvising a dance together. Usually my daughter leads her little brothers and does the choreography and tells him what to do. Then they put on their dance for us.

  • Reply
    Kim
    December 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    My favorite musical experience with my son was when he discovered that it was more fun to drum on the drum head rather than the sides of the drum. We were in Publix with his bongos when he made this discovery!

  • Reply
    Holly
    December 6, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Both of my children love music and dancing. My DH plays guitar in a couple of bands, so they are pretty use to hearing music around the house. One great moment was when my DH was playing at a restaurant and my oldest (19mths @ time) and I went to go see him play. Well as soon as he started she wanted to get down from the highchair…so I let her down…she started dancing right in front of his band. It was such a cute site. She won the crowds over for sure…cause he got many “tips” that night ;)

  • Reply
    Carolina
    December 6, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    My favorite musical experience with my children happened last summer when we took them to the Gathering of the Vibes (a music festival in Connecticut) last summer. As a “tourhead” who lived for The Dead for many years, I always dreamed that one day I would take my kids to shows and watch them loving the music just as I did. To see that dream come true and watch them joyfully dancing to a drum circle or sing along with bands my partner and I enjoy was so exciting. Can’t wait to share more musical experiences with them next summer…including a Dead or Ratdog or Phil concert!

  • Reply
    Heather
    December 6, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    First thing that came to mind was this summer when my son bought a mini bongo drum for $1 at a garage sale, he was very excited about it. I don’t feel musical at all so I’d love it if my children all learn to play something!

  • Reply
    Annette Standrod
    December 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    Both my girls (3&4) sing and dance all day everyday. I think the best instruments we have is the egg shaker and harmonica. the shaker can be used from infant to adult and the harmonica works when you breathe in or out so it is easy for my kids to play it. [email protected]

  • Reply
    Amy Fields
    December 6, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    My favorite musical memories are my grandpa teaching me to play the guitar when I was little and sitting on his lap. My son has inherited the love of guitars and now I get to teach him. We do music together at his school and we love it!! Thanks for all the great interviews!

  • Reply
    AnnasBananas
    December 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    This is fantastic! I’ve been exposing my daughter to different types of music and instruments since bith- we sing frequently throughout the day. She’s always seemed to enjoy it but like you I always like to leave things a little more open ended and I love your last question about the “right and wrong” of music- I always wondered if I was giving her enough leeway or trying to impose my narrow adult view of making music “correctly” on her. Love this interview- can’t say it enough! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Maureen
    December 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    My favorite musical experience with my young twin boys has definitely been our weekly children’s music class. We’ve done those together for 4 years, every Saturday, and I enjoy them just as much (if not more!) as they do. Thanks, Maureen (jnomaxx at hotmail dot com)

  • Reply
    Kate
    December 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I did Kindermusik with my oldest and MT with my youngest. Both experiences were so much fun for them and me. My favorite recent memory is my youngest singing the same resting tones that we did in class when we’re on our way home in the car – “bum, bum, bum” – it melts my heart. He is constantly asking for more music to be sung to him!

  • Reply
    Isabelle
    December 6, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    We love Music Together too and now African Drumming with Rhythm Kids. My 4 year old loves to pretend he is having a concert and asks me to write down song lists of all kinds of crazy made up song titles and then “plays” his guitar and sings for us. I love seeing him so confident.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    December 6, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    We’ve always kept a tub of musical instruments – drums, maracas, xylophones, tuners, tambourines, etc. – in our livingroom, free to use at any time the mood strikes. We also have a piano that is open to use, unless someone is sleeping. We firmly believe that music should never be off-limits, as long as it’s not disruptive.

  • Reply
    Haley
    December 6, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    My daughter’s current favorite song is actually the Music Together hello song. She loves to sing hello to everyone she can think of!

  • Reply
    C McCurrach
    December 6, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Sharing our new-to-us piano together and all learning at the same time: ages 3, 5 and 36!

  • Reply
    Liz
    December 6, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I have countless memories of sharing music with both my daughters from attending CATS when my oldest was just under 2 years old to gathering with close friends and family around our Pow Wow drum. Music is a huge part of our lives and we try to incorporate it all day, every day.

  • Reply
    Jennie
    December 6, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    One time my daughter wanted me to sing a church song to her. She was 3 at the time. I didn’t know all the words but tried to sing it to her. She stopped me and said no mommy it goes like this. She then sang the whole song to me and then told me it was my turn. She taught me to sing the song!

  • Reply
    Jodie R.
    December 6, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    I’m a band director (5th-8th grades) so I have TONS of musical stories, however I’m going to share one from when I was little and at VBS. We used to love this one particular song called “I cannot come” and wanted to sing it all the time :) For years, we would request that song until at one point, they said that we weren’t going to sing it anymore!

  • Reply
    melissa
    December 6, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you for this interview! The MT classes are truly awesome, my toddler loves them and I look forward to bringing my newborn.

  • Reply
    Kerstin
    December 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    My Mother in law used to teach preschool and she knows ALOT of kids songs. Last Christmas she made us a little book of songs with a CD of her singing them and my kids have used it almost everyday.

  • Reply
    Mel
    December 6, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    We love singing church songs and lullabies together each night before bed.

  • Reply
    Nikki
    December 6, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    We love to sing songs in morning as we light a candle to welcome the new day. My 3 year old sings a bit and my 1 year dances. So cute!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    December 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing this great information! I love Music Together :)
    We’ve been dancing around the kitchen to Christmas music lately (three kids, mama, and daddy! and the dog!) and it’s been SO much fun!

  • Reply
    Christine
    December 6, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    We just finished our first Music Together season and it was amazing for my son. He’s became the group’s air guitar player and talks about class constantly. My big moment was the first time we sang “I’ve been working on the railroad” together – it’s so amazing to me that he learned it all!

  • Reply
    Autumn
    December 6, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    We went to a They Might be giants (kids’ songs only) concert with our son and some of his friends and their parents. It was awesome, the kids were babbling along, clapping and having a great time.

  • Reply
    Mary
    December 6, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I love hearing my husband play the guitar to my daughters. They have songs made up together that are a regular part of the bedtime routine! I know both my three year old and my one year old would love the drum.

  • Reply
    Halley's Mommy
    December 6, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    I would love to say my favorite musical memory w/my daughter was her @ her mini piano or she and I making our own bean shakers and dancing. But no… oh no. Instead my best memory is when we went to see Yo Gabba Gabba Live a few months ago. We were given the tickets. Not something I would have thought to take her to. And OMG… so unexpectedly it was the best thing ever! I broke into tears just looking at her face… so shocked with excitement and jumping up and down in her seat while she screamed and yelled and sang at the top of her lungs. Go figure!

  • Reply
    georgine
    December 6, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    I have done kindermusik with both girls, but what I really love is just listening and dancing to music after dinner and before the bath. And the baby loves Row you boat, especially when you add in some swaying back and forth for rowing and a wiggle for merrily, merrily. Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Reply
    mara
    December 6, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    We fell in love with the MusicGarten classes we attended with my daughter. We were amazed at how much she remembers over a year later.

  • Reply
    Meda
    December 6, 2010 at 8:47 pm

    With my oldest (3) is listening to her make up her own lullabye while rocking her “baby” to sleep when I’m putting her sister down for a nap. With my youngest (still a baby), I love that she is soothed when tired or hurt by a song that her older sister and I sang all the time while I was pregnant–a Music Together song. She must have been listening while in my belly–so sweet(and cool)!

  • Reply
    Tracy
    December 6, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    We love music in our family…we don’t have TV so music is always on. We have lots of instruments. We love our Bongo Drums especially. We also take our 5 year old to a Beatles festival every year.He is the biggest Beatles fan and loves it.
    Great Interview

  • Reply
    Sarah
    December 6, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    My mother has a piano, and I love it when my little guy (14 months) bangs away on it. It is also so sweet how much he enjoys hearing me or his grandmother pay it. He’ll sit on the sofa with a toy, and listen attentively.

  • Reply
    Quinn Franklin
    December 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Susanna Lane and I have been attending a Parent and Me music class in Texas for the last 12 weeks. My fondest memory is when I began to sing the intro song- the song that we sing at the beginning of every music class– to her when we were engaged in floor time, in her room. She looked up from the toy she was playing with and her eyes began to dance with excitement. To this day, its a favorite. The best part about the song is that it includes her name and waving at her. Its so great!

  • Reply
    kate
    December 6, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Nice interview. Wish they had those classes where we live. (Cute drum too!)

  • Reply
    B Mom
    December 6, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    We’ve done some mom+toddler music classes here and love them – and echo your comment that the little ones are often just taking it all in during class, and then show their stuff at home!
    One of my favorite musical memories dates back to when my oldest was barely one, just steady on his feet and trying to walk. We took him to a food festival which also had live music – and were totally delighted by how he lit up, stood up, and just wanted to dance when the reggae band started up – magical!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    December 6, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    thank you! what a helpful reminder. i am taking her words to heart.

  • Reply
    Rockabye Butterfly
    December 6, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Our favourite musical experience right now, (my daughter is 3 years old) would be playing our Christmas music! We sing and dance together and I’ve made hand held jingle bells to play along with as well :)) My daughter also loves when I sing her “Silent Night” to her in bed before sleeptime :)
    <3 Rockabye Butterfly
    http://rockabyebutterfly.blogspot.com/

  • Reply
    GM
    December 6, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    About a week ago I took my daughter to the library for a free class put on by a local music school. She had a blast, the teacher interacted a lot with the parents giving us ideas and suggestions. We even got a CD and idea sheet/song list to take home with us. It was a great!

  • Reply
    urbanhen
    December 6, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    There’s a new one everyday! My two year old twin boys surprise me daily with rhythms they’ve remembered, melodies they’ve retained- it’s amazing! Our public library recently hosted a percussion/dance event and that began their excitement about drums. Guess we’d have to buy a second one if I won. :)

  • Reply
    Caroline
    December 6, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    My daughter and I have out our Christmas carol book and have been singing daily and nightly. Tonight she fell asleep singing the 12 Days of Christmas. I wonder what she’ll wake up singing? =)

  • Reply
    Milika
    December 7, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Last week, I took my 18 month old niece to see our local orchestra play for a kiddie concert. It was the first time she had seen instruments – when they started playing she stared and stared, thinking very hard. Suddenly after a few minutes she figured out the sounds were coming from the instruments. She was delighted!
    A wonderful moment to see her understand the music she hears comes from instruments.

  • Reply
    candice
    December 7, 2010 at 1:33 am

    I sing the same song to my daughter every night, part out of habit and partly because she requests it every night. The other day she picked up her little baby doll, started rocking it to sleep and singing the same hymn i sing her. She doesn’t know all the words so she kept singing the same line over and over again. It made all those nights that I didn’t feel like singing, but sang anyway, worth it.

  • Reply
    Angelica
    December 7, 2010 at 4:30 am

    When the mood around the house is off I put some music and start dancing. It always works.

  • Reply
    Ann
    December 7, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I love Music Together. We play the CDs and my boys now 7,7 and 10 still love them. Last night in the ER with my 2 year old we sang “open, shut them” together while waiting for her to get stitches in her forehead. For a Christmas present I want to give her (and me) registration to Music Together classes.

  • Reply
    erin
    December 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    My two year old is now requesting me to sing “Hush Little Baby” to her every night, and she gets to decide whether it is going to be Papa or Daddy who bequeaths the treasure troves of gifts… she asks for it by singing, “Mommy, Hush little, baby, don’t …word. Papa, mockingbird”. This is better than the previous four months where she went through a phase of saying “no, mommy. no singing.”

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    December 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    We LOVE music in our home. We listen, dance, sing…but I am looking forward to making more of our own music together!

  • Reply
    Christy
    December 7, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    My mother in law plays a hand held drum and has taught my almost 2 year old to play a little. It is so cute to see.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    December 7, 2010 at 11:31 am

    We love music in our household. My favorite musical experience is during our circle time in the morning. My 4 year old son, Kai, always chooses to sing itsy bitsy spider and my younger son, 19 months, always cheers and tries to sing along. It’s so cute!

  • Reply
    amy
    December 7, 2010 at 11:41 am

    My 2 year old is into playing the harmonica lately and we also (me, my 5 year old and 2 year old) put on Disco music or other dance music on Friday nights. I think I am trying to relive my younger years before kids when I would go out! :)

  • Reply
    Renee
    December 7, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    My daughter and I have enjoyed Music Together classes together for over two years now. We incorporate music into everyday, and I love how she breaks into song regularly.

  • Reply
    Ana
    December 7, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    Since my little girl was born I would sing the same son to her before bedtime ( La le lu ) a german goodnight song. My fondest memory is when she was about 16 months old and started humming along when I sang it. She is almost 4 now and I still sing it to her and sometimes she sings along:-)

  • Reply
    tasha
    December 8, 2010 at 2:42 am

    My favorite memory involving music and my children, dates back to 2006. At 3 months, my son Tristan was laying on the floor, as my husband put on some funky reggae music. As I watched him, I noticed he was grooving his little body to the rhythm, and was in love with the music. His eyes were huge, in that way infants get when they are fully amazed by something. From that moment on, we realized music would be a major force in his life. He drums daily, to this day, on every surface he can possibly drum on. He creates elaborate drum sets with all varieties of household items he pieces together. Music is truly in this boy’s blood!

  • Reply
    Sharon
    December 8, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Every night after we read books, while I tuck my son into bed, he asks for me to sing him a song. I love this time….sometimes he sings along with me, sometimes he just smiles and listens. Either way, it is one of my favorite times of my day! His requests change daily. Lately, his favorites have been Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman!

  • Reply
    Kimberly
    December 8, 2010 at 3:33 am

    We listen, play, and sing music daily. It brings me so much joy to see my son recognize songs we have sung together and get excited:-)

  • Reply
    Emma @ paintsandpuddles
    December 8, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for a great interview – its always great to get some fresh ideas. My little boy is really into music at the moment. He’s just started pretending to be a rock star (he’s autistic and supposedly limited with imaginitive activities, but you wouldn’t think it with this!). Its so cute – he does a giant floor puzzle so he can use it as a stage, and then he puts his toy guitar on and makes you hold a microphone for him (made out of a toy mop!) so he can ‘la-la-la’. And he’s just decided he likes the Beatles – he has very eclectic tastes in music!!!!! He would LOVE the drum like you wouldn’t believe. Here’s hoping ……!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    December 8, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    We’re lucky enough to have a pilot class here of MT for Big Kids so both my 6 yo and my 3 yo get to enjoy the magic of making music.
    We listened to Sandpiper for the 1,258th time today on the way home. Lately Elizabeth Mitchell’s Little Bird has been challenging for #1 requested song in the car.

  • Reply
    Catt
    December 8, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    We love Music Together, and my daughter sings many songs from class. She seems to remember which “instrument” each song is from.
    My favorite is hearing her interpretations of songs in other languages. She loves the songs from José Luis Orozco’s “De Colores” and often sings in Spanish. She surprised me the other day by singing “Hine Ma Tov”, an Israeli song we learned in MT a year ago.

  • Reply
    Andie
    December 8, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    My husband and I are not particularly talented in the music area, but we love to have “family dance party” as much as our two little girls. We sing, dance, shake maracas and bang on whatever we can get our hands on. These are our most joyous family moments.

  • Reply
    heather at brown robin
    December 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    We love, love, love to sing together in the car. We also have a routine of listening to the same album on the way to school. The album may change every few months, but the routine never does. It seems to set the stage for having a good day, and creates a sense of family among the three of us in the car, even though we’re all about to go our own seperate ways for the next several hours.

  • Reply
    Susan
    December 8, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    still love the kitchen instruments – using recylables and coffeecans and wooden spoons and old pots and whisks to make music. I saw a cool thing in a children’s street fair abroad – old water bottles and improvised drumsticks made out of plastic pipes and duct tape. Good noises!

  • Reply
    Eliza
    December 9, 2010 at 12:01 am

    One of the favorite activities in my house is having an afternoon dance party. It’s a great way for my boys (ages 4 and 2) to get out their unbelievable energy and it’s also just plain fun! For some reason, my older son’s song of choice is always Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger and we run around until we are pooped! I hope they remember these times together :-)

  • Reply
    Jill
    December 9, 2010 at 11:09 am

    We love Music Together! Thanks for a wonderful giveaway!

  • Reply
    Dorothy Hall
    December 9, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    My 2 1/2 year old son is hooked on “twinkle twinkle little star.” We sing it off and on throughout the day, sometimes silly and loud, other times in a whisper, and often just however it comes out in that moment.
    Our little town has a walking bridge that crosses the creek downtown, and the entire length of it is decked out in lighted arches with stars at the top for the holidays. It is officially the “twinkle twinkle little star” bridge, at least it is according to Liam. I’ll let you guess what song we sing when we walk across it on our (nearly) daily walks.
    But my favorite twinkle little star moments are when I catch Liam singing his favorite song in his most quiet soothing voice to his baby brother. That’s a musical memory I never want to forget.

  • Reply
    andrea
    December 9, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    oh my, we’ve been enjoying MT for 5+ years now at our home, starting with my (now) Kindergartner. Her baby brother joined us in class when he was 2 weeks old! 2 1/2 years later, he still goes with me while big sister is off at school. I love hearing him singing in his crib when he wakes up in the morning. Sweetest little voice in the world :-)
    Oh–and both of them are incessant drummers. They drum on the entire house! Sometimes making mama C-R-A-Z-Y!!!!

  • Reply
    Kari
    January 2, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Awww, I know your feeling exactly! Our kids’ reactions can be so unexpected and SO unrestrainedly jubilant! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Kari
    January 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

    The Beatles! How fun! I love it when parents tell me what “grown-up” music their kids are into. Sometimes, they look a little sheepish at first, as if the Music Teacher might think it’s inappropriate that they’ve exposed their child to “pop” music. Then, I’m happy to tell them that my 5 year old had a month-long stint of listening exclusively to Michael Jackson!

  • Reply
    Kari
    January 2, 2011 at 11:42 am

    Hi Ann! Thanks for your comment, and I hope you received the drum! I apologize that there was no thank you note enclosed. I meant for there to be, but only remembered the intent when I had (finally) almost reached the post office desk. Happy New Year! And here’s hoping you’ve reached your ER quota for the decade!

  • Reply
    Kari
    January 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Oh thank you so much for sharing! I appreciate your acceptance of Tristan’s drumming tendencies! My husband and I were both like that as children, and a parent’s attitude makes such a huge difference in the child’s musical exploration and learning!

  • Reply
    Kari
    January 2, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Aaaaah, for my 5 year old it was “Trot, Old Joe” 3 zillion times. Luckily when I reached my daily quota of singing it, he’d sit in his room and listen to it on repeat. We love Elizabeth Mitchell too!

  • Reply
    Angelique
    July 14, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Thank you so much for this article. It’s profound and saying that what I always felt while doing music with babies, preschoolers, toddlers, they learn to speak many more languages after being acquainted to music.
    I will link back to this interview in my upcoming post ‘Fun with Music’ .
    Angelique Felix

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