Friday, August 31, 2012

Change on a dime: The Human Jukebox

Change on a dime | The cello/violin duo plays an instant-mash up in real time and gives whole new meaning to the term "busking."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Village with Seniors: A unique approach to Intergenerational Programs

We've seen and heard stories like these countless times: the Alzheimer's patient who can play Claire de Lune on the piano without missing a note. The unresponsive patient whose face literally lights up at the sound of music. And the mother, who, for the first time all day gets a motherly pinch on her cheek, and a sing-song compliment: "you're so cute."

Moments like these happen every day in a "Village with Seniors" class -- a special Kindermusik class held in senior centers for babies and their mothers. The class brings generations together, and researchers are just beginning to understand both the short-term and long term benefits.
“It makes them feel like they have more of a role in society, and that they can contribute to the next generation," says Phyllis Heppner, Kindermusik Educator and owner of The Musik Shop, in a recent article in the LangleyTimes about the program in British Columbia. 
“We’re not just hiding them away somewhere, they have an impact on little, tiny babies. And they tend to really encourage the babies, so that’s very good for them. It gives them an opportunity for creativity, and self expression. They have an increased sense of self-worth and less depression, because of that. They make friendships, they have regular participation in an event that they love. So it makes their life a little more interesting.”
Studies show that intergenerational programs have a positive effect on both the young and aging populations. As healthcare specialists prepare for the rising tide of aging groups -- dubbed the silver wave -- the age group 85 and older is now the fastest growing population in the United States, according to Generations United.
"Research shows that ... Intergenerational programs help to dispel age-related myths and stereotypes. They can also address societal concerns such as literacy, environmental issues, health, crime prevention, and much more. Public policies can support intergenerational programs through the promotion of intergenerational civic engagement and encouragement of intergenerational solutions to community issues."
Want to learn more about bringing "Village with Seniors" to your community? We'd love to help you get started.

888.442.4453 x 1200  
336.544-0573 x1200  

Monday, August 20, 2012

Lesson number one: Get to the gig early

How does teaching Kindermusik help you be a better musician and performer?

Bryant Belin is a vocalist, coach, choir director, and educator. He also performs each Sunday at Congregation Church in Tryon, NC, and is preparing to perform a set of spiritual songs by American composers, November 18 at St. Methias Church in Asheville, NC.

With so many different music roles in his life, we recently asked Bryant how teaching Kindermusik has helped him become a better musician.

Basically, it has taught him to get to the gig early. Here’s why...

Bryant Belin
Vocalist, choir director, and Kindermusik Educator
Licensed Kindermusik Educator in 2010
BA in Music Performance in Coker College, Hartsville, SC
Music Instruction Studio in Hendersonville, NC

Teaches voice lessons and Kindermusik at the Tryon Fine Arts Center in Tryon, NC

The more I taught (music) the more it forced me to learn more about what I was doing.

It’s the same thing with Kindermusik.

In Kindermusik class (we just had our Kindermusik camps) and during Gathering Time in Adventures Zoo Train, I was sitting and watching the kids and everyone interact with each other.

I watch to see who is shy, who is outgoing; listen to what are they talking about, what happened before they got here, and what’s happening after they leave. Then I’ll know who needs what type of attention once class starts.

As a performer, it has helped me do the same thing as far as being more aware of the audience members, and what could be going on with them.

Especially if you meet people before the show, and learn a little about what’s going on with them.

Then during the performance, I can focus a little more attention their way. If I know they’re going through a hard time, it could be as simple as focusing on that person during a particular song. 

Now, I get to the performance early so I can see who is there, and what they might need.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Still thinking about teaching Kindermusik? Ask a mom.

So what do people really think about Kindermusik? We love finding parent resource sites, such as, where families are talking about their experience in a Kindermusik class.

On this recent thread, one mom asks if anyone has heard about taking music classes for their child. And here's what they had to say ...

Click I love Kindermusik! to

Apparently, birds love Bluegrass, too

Click here to watch the video.
What a gentle soul. Halfway through the song at this Bluegrass show, a bird flies on stage, lands on the lead singer's guitar, and flies away at the end of the tune.

What will your music do today?

(Love Bluegrass and Folk music? Check out this list of songs we'll being singing together in Kindermusik at

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Go outside and play: Backyard Tin Can Band

Start your own Tin Can Backyard Band from Growing A Jeweled Rose.
“Rosie painted the cans using washable tempera paint. That is what we had on hand, but outdoor acrylic paint would really be ideal. Once the paint was dry, I used outdoor Mod Podge over the paint to prevent it from coming off. So far, this has worked great!
Then, I strung the cans together using floral wire and pony beads. To do this, I nailed holes in the cans, strung the floral wire through the holes, and used a pony bead on the underside of the can to secure the floral wire.
I also added medal key chain loops I had left over from another project, to the inside pieces of floral wire so that when Rosie banged on the cans, the medal loops would hit the inner sides of the cans and make noise. I then hung the strings of tin cans to our deck using utility rope I purchased at The Dollar Tree. 
Rosie loves her Tin Can Backyard Band! Every time we are outside, she grabs one of the sticks from her mud pie kitchen, and delights in making music.”

Friday, July 13, 2012

Yes, we're tooting our own horn a bit this month. 

Carol Penney, Director of Education for Kindermusik International, is featured in a special USA Today magazine. USA Today “Guide to Kids’ Health” Summer 2012 issue features a special article, “Music & Learning in Perfect Harmony” by Mara Gorman.

“Music makes a great teaching tool. “Everyone knows their ABC’s because of the melody,” says Carol Penney, director of education for Kindermusik, a music education program. ”Traditional children’s songs are perfect learning devices for turning sounds into words and words into creative thoughts.”’

Here are some additional fun “Did you know?” moments from the article:
  • Children who engage in musical activities from infancy end up with stronger literacy, language, and math skills. They also typically have higher SAT scores and are more likely to graduate from college.
  • Studies show that early and consistent exposure to music improves children’s academic performance. The explanation lies in music’s ability to affect brain
  • “Music education actually rewires the brain in the same area where you develop math, language, and spatial reasoning skills.” ~ Jill Todd, president, Music Intelligence Project
  • The top instruments for young children are: 1) Voice. 2) Percussion and 3) Keyboard. Many kids start lessons at 7 or 8, so look into a music education program if you think your child is ready for daily practice.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Music will take her home

This is where music begins: at home. Around kitchen tables. And the effects - and the love - lasts for a lifetime.

Music will always take her home.

Friday, June 22, 2012

"I call it my Joy Job:" Miss Lynette

Kindermusik with Miss Lynnette
Jenison, MI

Music background

I earned my Vocal Music Ed. degree from Hope College.  I taught first in the Hudsonviile Public Schools, and since receiving my license in 1999, have enjoyed teaching Kindermusik.  

"I often call it my Joy Job!" 

The children and families are so much fun. I also direct the adult choir at Georgetown UMC where my classes are held. My husband and I have two boys of our own, both now in college. We know the busy-ness that accompanies parenthood and are grateful for each opportunity to take part in their growing up years.  

My hope 

My hope is that [making] music together will create a spark in you that will in turn, ignite a spark in someone else. We are all connected, and music is a great way to share our gifts, humor, caring and support with each other.  

I have gained so much in teaching by watching the growth and blossoming of students through music. I have learned about patience, cooperation, compassion and creativity by being involved with small children and their families.  

And so many days I finish up class with my face hurting from smiling so much!  

Friday, June 15, 2012

Lights, camera, MUSIC!

A photographer in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania shows a few "behind the scenes" shot of this Kindermusik class. Enjoy!
"We did a home session and live, class session – SO much fun & lots of energy from the three-year-olds!!" Studio S Photography

Priscilla Swee swapped a writer's pen for a pair of Kindermusik rhythm sticks in Jakarta, Indonesia

No more writer's block. Priscilla Swee, a former writer and advertising director, makes the Kindermusik class a mix of fun, patience and cute child talk. After the birth of her daughter she decided to swap her pen for rhythm sticks and bells, and in the process reconnected with her own love of music. 
“Music is like the vehicle in Kindermusik because it unlocks so many things in a child. Music just seems to reach out to them and help them express themselves,” Priscilla said. “When kids sing out loud, you see their happiness and growing confidence. And when you combine music and movement, I think that’s when you see the magic of Kindermusik.”  
Read Priscilla's full story in the Jakarta Globe.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kindermusik featured artist David Holt and how music saved his heart

Years ago, musician and archivist David Holt lost his daughter in a car accident. In the grieving process he made a list of things to live for. 

Simple things topped the list, he says in this Ted Talks video. The feel of a baby's hand, seeing Bluegrass musician Doc Watson play guitar, watching daffodils bloom in the spring. 

Around that time, someone gave David a steel guitar and a bottleneck slide. Something about that sound - the glass bottle neck slide over a resonator guitar - helped David express something he couldn't say before, he says: the healing power of music. 

David was also a featured speaker years ago at the Kindermusik Convention in Nashville, TN several years ago. Many of the Appalachian folk songs David plays in his show are also part of the Kindermusik experience, in addition to the wide variety of music you'll hear in Kindermusik classes.
Explore more songs in the folk genre in the Kindermusik online music store here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

If you can read this, you should teach Kindermusik

Kindermusik: We make learning fun

photo by Molly McGinn

Minds on Music blog
The Kindermusik blog provides links to new research, tips for easy at home activities, and "what to watch for" developmental tips for Kindermusik Educators and parents.

ABC Music & Me
Developed for the early learning classrooms emerging in daycares, ABC English & Me helps children develop early literacy skills and prepare for preschool.

ABC English & Me
As more children around the world are beginning to learn English at an earlier age, this new program uses the Kindermusik approach with proven, research-based adaptions to help young children learn a second language.

Play Kindermusik
Kindermusik has developed an extensive online archive of songs featuring rock and roll bands, symphonies, children's choirs, and so much more. Explore the sounds of learning that you'll experience in the Kindermusik classroom in our online music store.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

New study shows musical benefits for babies before they can walk


One-year-old babies who participate in interactive music classes with their parents smile more, communicate better and show earlier and more sophisticated brain responses to music. 

The findings were published recently in the scientific journals Developmental Science and Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 
"Many past studies of musical training have focused on older children," says Laurel Trainor, director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind. "Our results suggest that the infant brain might be particularly plastic with regard to musical exposure."
Source: Science Daily, Babies' Brains Benefit from Music Lessons, Even Before They Can Walk and Talk

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

How to Listen to Music: A Vintage Guide to the 7 Essential Skills (condensed to 6)

Do you remember what was happening musically in 1982?

Musician BB King donated his personal record collection to the University of Mississippi's Center for the Study of Southern Culture. The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company gave its final performance at the Adelphi Theatre after more than 110 years. Johnny Cash hosted Saturday Night Live. The musical "Cats" began an 8-year run on Broadway.

And this book, How to Listen to Music, was published. Like the "Art of Conversation," music listening is a practiced skill, which is part of what you'll re-experience in Kindermusik Educator training.

“Rediscovering” music, and learning to listen to it all over again, is one of the most unexpected benefits of training.

Excerpt and adaptation from the very inspiring "Brain Pickings" Web site, which recently featured the book, Music: Ways of Listening, published in 1982.

1. Develop your sensitivity to music. Try to respond esthetically to all sounds, from the hum of the refrigerator motor or the paddling of oars on a lake, to the tones of a cello or muted trumpet. When we really hear sounds, we may find them all quite expressive, magical and even ‘beautiful.’

On a more complex level, try to relate sounds to each other in patterns: the successive notes in a melody, or the interrelationships between an ice cream truck jingle and nearby children’s games.

2. Time is a crucial component of the musical experience. Develop a sense of time as it passes: duration, motion, and the placement of events within a time frame. How long is thirty seconds, for example? A given duration of clock-time will feel very different if contexts of activity and motion are changed.

3. Develop a musical memory. While listening to a piece, try to recall familiar patterns, relating new events to past ones and placing them all within a durational frame.

This facility may take a while to grow, but it eventually will. And once you discover that you can use your memory in this way, just as people discover that they really can swim or ski or ride a bicycle, life will never be the same.

4. If we want to read, write or talk about music, we must acquire a working vocabulary. Music is basically a nonverbal art, and its unique events and effects are often too elusive for everyday words; we need special words to describe them, however inadequately.

5. Try to listen objectively and dispassionately. Concentrate upon ‘what’s there,’ and not what you hope or wish would be there. ... Try to focus upon ‘what’s there,’ in an objective sense, and don’t be dismayed if a limited vocabulary restricts your earliest responses.

6. Bring experience and knowledge to the listening situation. That includes not only your concentration and growing vocabulary, but information about the music itself: its composer, history and social context. Such knowledge makes the experience of listening that much more enjoyable.

Learn more about Kindermusik Educator training on

Ever considered teaching Kindermusik?

Friday, April 20, 2012

The little red piano - El pequeño piano rojo

What draws us to play, or to love hearing, some instruments above all others?

Why are 40m children in China learning the piano, a European instrument that has scant connection with Eastern culture?

What accounts for the guitar’s dominance in Western popular music?

Why do composers express their most melancholy thoughts on cellos?

These questions go beyond music. They touch on the essence of identity, aspiration, expression, history and politics, as well as what Jung called our collective unconscious… 
How you interpret any sound depends on its context and your knowledge.
More Intelligent Life asks, “Which is the best music instrument?” 

Also see this vintage guide to how to listen to music and a neuroscientist’s debunking of the myth of a "music instinct.”

via ex.plore

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The inspired story of the Kimbanguiste Symphony Orchestra, the only symphony orchestra in Central Africa, which practices in a rented warehouse in the Congo and got its start with no instruments and no professional musicians who knew how to read music – a wonderful addition to other recent innovation in orchestras.


We can teach music anywhere. Call today and talk us about all the wonderful places we're teaching Kindermusik around the globe - and hopefully soon, in your hometown!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Adventure Ahead! Snacks, crafts, activities, and summer!

"Our first Kindermusik homework assignment is to make some paper tube binoculars and go exploring. "

Love what this parent says about the unique relationship between a child and craft time. 
"My friend Courtney has a theory when it comes to doing activities with your child - There is an inverse relationship between the amount of time and effort you put into making something with your child and the amount of actual enjoyment by your child.  
When you spend hours lingering over the perfect craft or activity with your child, they drop it in 2 minutes, never to return to it.  
When you slap something together in 30 seconds with no thought or skill associated with it, you can guarantee that your child will love it. This explains the success of these very low-tech binoculars." - Gardening Without Skills
We agree. That's mostly because if it's easy enough for the two of you to do together, your child will love it even more. 

That's why we created Kindermusik Adventures.

As an Educator, you'll love teaching these camps. And your families will love the easy activities, tested again and again by children in Kindermusik classes around the country!

  • The semester is shorter, about 5 sessions long (you can extend the semester or supplement activities if you choose).
  • Choose from developmentally appropriate themes for children ages newborn to 7 years.
  • Each class is an integrated experience, from the stories and songs to the summer time snacks (polar bear ice cream!)  

And the take home class activities are specifically designed for summer - such as making your own binoculars at home and spending the day simply exploring the neighborhood.

If you're just beginning Kindermusik training, you'll learn more about summer camps in your online training class.  

Get ready for an Adventure!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Math students in California start with the basics: Music Education

"Math teachers know that fractions can be hard for the average third-grader. Teachers at a public school in San Bruno, Calif., just south of San Francisco, are trying something new. They're teaching difficult math concepts through music, and they're getting remarkable results." Fractions curriculum in Fractions Curriculum Strikes the Right Note with Students. 
To learn more about teaching early concepts of music and notation to young children, ask about the Young Child program in Kindermusik Training.

Age range: 5 to 7 years old
Class length: 60-70 minutes

Children learn to play three basic instruments - a stringed, wind, and keyboard instrument - along with early concepts of music and notation.

Using a small-group approach to music education, Kindermusik for the Young Child provides a pressure-free class where your child can develop a strong musical foundation by learning the concepts, language, notation, and vocabulary of music and its greatest composers. 

The program is designed to prepare the young child who is eager for first experiences with musical symbols and instrument discovery but is not yet ready for formal lessons and traditional music reading with an instrument. Parents or caregivers are encouraged to attend the last 10-15 minutes of class. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Alive Inside: The Story of Music and Memory

Alive Inside Trailer from Michael Rossato-Bennett on Vimeo.
A new documentary on the effects of music on Alzheimer's patients is showing this month at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Screening dates are Wednesday, April 18th through Saturday, April 21st. More information about the project can be found on the Rubin Museum website.
If you're reading this blog, you're probably a musician. A music educator. Perhaps you're a music therapist. And you've probably seen or experienced a few of the things from this video: Seemingly unresponsive people who light up when they hear music. 

In the early 2000s, as scientists started capturing images of the musical effect on the mind, there was a surge of research and reports on what was eventually coined the "Mozart Effect."

But it's not just Mozart that can affect the mind. It's Cab Calloway. Doris Day. Ray Henderson. The California Ramblers. 

Recently I was asked to play a friend's party. I needed a set list full of those tunes.

It was a friend's "going away" party. She was a resident in a local nursing home here in Greensboro, NC. Her doctors recently told her that her cancer diagnosis was terminal. But at 90-some years old, she wasn't about to go out quietly. 

She threw a going away party.

Over 100 people, friends, a few daughters and grand-daughters gathered around her. I stood in the corner, playing a few songs that might lift some of the heaviness in the room. "Que Sera, Sera," was a  natural pick.

But the Rabbi stole the show. 

When the family's Rabbi asked to borrow my guitar he stood in the center of the room and banged out one of the most rousing versions of "5 Foot 2, Eyes of Blue," I've ever heard. And soon people were clapping, singing, dancing. For 3 minutes. We forgot why we there.

As musicians, we know the power of music. The challenge is to find the right song. And the other challenge is to give people and families and children lots of ways to experience that music. 

Live music. This is what we do every day in Kindermusik classes: give people something to sing about, from their first day, to their last.

- Molly McGinn
Kindermusik Educator
song | writer

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Where in the world? Flying Fox Studios in Brisbane, Australia

If you didn't already know it, Kindermusik is everywhere, and we love finding it in places like Flying Fox Studios in Brisbane, Australia.

I found this pic while searching for "Kindermusik" on the studio's Pinterest site and stumbled upon the variety of programs this creative development center offers to families.
Flying Fox Studios is a kids creative arts studio and store based in Brisbane Australia. We run classes for kids in art, music, and construction.  
We LOVE what we do!
And it shows!

Kindermusik Founder Dan Pratt: The good beginning

Kindermusik as we know it today - the business and the learning approach - started over 30 years ago with this man, Dan Pratt.

In this video (created for the Kindermusik International convention in South Africa) Dan talks about how the Fulbright scholar "accepted the challenge" and started Music Resources International in Princeton, NJ on his back porch in the late 1980s; moved his family onto a farm in upstate New York; translated the German program into English, and eventually, moved the business to Greensboro, NC.

And the rest, is musical history.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Follow Me to Kindermusik!

There are now more creative places online to "Follow Me to Kindermusik." If you're thinking about becoming a Kindermusik Educator, you don't have to take our word for it: Just take a look at what a Kindermusik Educator has to say about it.

Do a "search" in any one of these popular social media sites and you'll see first hand what parents and educators have to say about it:
Kindermusik on Pinterest  
Kindermusik on Twitter  
Kindermusik on Facebook 
Minds on Music Kindermusik blog
Kindermusik on YouTube 
Kindermusik on Google Plus
Are we missing any?

Photo Essay: "You Have to Check Out Kindermusik!"

By photographer and Mom Samantha Ferguson.

One of the hardest things to describe is what happens in a Kindermusik classroom. So we love it when photographers attend a class, cameras in hand, to capture some of the "moments" that give us the goosebumps, and so much affirmation that a good beginning never ends.

Thank you to His Hands Photographs for taking these photos.

And here's what photographer, and Mom, Samantha Ferguson had to say about her first Kindermusik Class experience.
"I was so excited to be a part of this great idea but I didn’t know what to expect. I have heard of Kindermusik before but I really had no idea what it is exactly. 
Over two days, I was able to observe six classes and I am just amazed at how awesome the class is for both the child and the parent. 
The kids were singing, laughing, playing, LEARNING, and moms were enjoying a little down time with their babies AND spending time with other moms in the same place in life. 
Perfect! It is so perfect that I will be taking my Sarah to a class this semester. 
Kelly is so great with the kids and you can tell she is gifted in teaching music. I don’t know about you… but I am SOLD. 
You should sign up now, classes start next week! And you can even try out a class first!"
See more photos on His Hands Photographs. And thank you again, Samantha: We couldn't have said it, or pictured it, more perfectly!

Cereal Box Guitars

We loved this cereal box guitar, made by a creative parent. Visit The Fraker's Acres blog to learn and see more.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

Full Time Focus

bilde by Molly McGinn

"I was a French horn player and a vocalist, but my focus was really in music education, teaching children," says Matthew Burns, Kindermusik Educator.

And for once, it's good to hear that a community isn't cutting its arts programs. The city of Clarksville in Tennessee will expand its creative reach, and has asked Kindermusik Educator Matthew Burns to lead the effort.

The former schoolteacher was recently tapped as the new coordinator for the Community School of the Arts at Austin Peay State University.

"The Community School is ready to take the next big step," Burns said of the changes he will make.

We think it's a good beginning for many great things to come for Clarksville and the arts.

Read more about the center and Brian's work there in the Clarksville Leaf.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What the Mahler 9 taught me about active listening

Photo by The Inhabitant

Can you hear me? Rub the outer edge of your ears. 

Will your cell phone ring while you're reading this? If so, can you turn it off?

In Kindermusik Educator training, we learn that focused listening is an active experience. It's a learned skill, and it's one of most critical lessons in early childhood. Recent events in the news remind me that listening is also an ongoing lesson - it doesn't stop in childhood. And we may be living in an era when the simple act of listening is one of the most distracting parts of our day.

If you haven't heard the recent story, the twitter version goes like this:  "Concertus interruptus: unsilenced cell phone brings a New York Philharmonic performance to a halt." During Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony" -- a haunting piece some say the composer wrote as he faced his own death -- a cell phone started ringing in the audience," according the story in

"New York Philharmonic conductor Alan Gilbert reacted to the intrusion by stopping the music. He didn't melodramatically fling his arms down; rather, he merely dropped his hands, which alerted the musicians to stop playing, according to Jo. 
Then, the only sound in the great room was the "Marimba" ringtone of the cell phone, Jo said. 
Gilbert turned his attention to the owner of the phone, who was seated on the front row, and asked, "Are you finished?" 
When there was no reply, Gilbert said, "Fine, we'll wait," and placed his baton on his music stand, according to Jo."

I loved Gilbert's calm reaction and focused listening as he waited for someone to turn off the cell phone. As Kindermusik Educators and musicians we have a unique opportunity to help families practice the art of listening - even in the midst of unnerving interruption. We learn in Kindermusik training to model active listening behaviors - to rub your ears, bend closer to the listener, and model the "your turn, my turn" response. We help families learn how music literally helps little ones "tune in" to the sounds we want to hear, and don't want to hear. 

We also have a chance to help parents learn the simple act of turning off their phones for some focused listening in class. It could become the one hour a day when a child isn't interrupted by a parent's ringing cell phone.  

Here are a few ways we could introduce the concept in the classroom. 

1. Make it a part of your class routine. In class we learn to take off our shoes before Kindermusik, include the reminder to turn off your cell phones, too, as a part of the class ritual.
2. Remind families that listening is a learned skill. Children learn "focused listening" by watching adults model appropriate listening behaviors. When they see adults take action to listen - by showing them how we're turning off our phones to completely focus and listen to the child - we're showing them how we value what they have to say, and that we want to hear them without interruption.
3. Slip in the reminder during the "rub your ears" reminder during class. Remember to ask questions: "Is your cell phone off? Are you ready to listen?"

The idea is to learn how to live with technology - not complain about the problems. In your classrooms you have a unique opportunity to help parents learn how to better model active listening among modern day distractions. A reminder that might activate just before they go into a movie theater or to a concert symphony hall.

Can you hear me now?