Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Piano for Children

 Piano for Children


The starting point in private piano lessons with a child who has maintained and developed their natural musicality before beginning private lessons  

is quite different than the starting point with a child who has not been exposed to songs, dances and instrument play in early childhood.

If you have dreams that your child will become a pianist, then I recommend starting early but not with formal private instruction.  

Begin early with parent/child music classes that incorporate movement and singing and playing instruments.  

If you have dreams that your child will love the piano, then make sure there is a piano in your family!    

Find a piano or keyboard that can live with you in your home.

I have been so fortunate that many of the students who currently study piano privately with me began their music education in my Orff classes before they were 2 years old.

The benefits of involvement in baby & toddler music and movement classes are HUGE!

1. Children develop a sense of rhythm and ability to audiate before they begin playing piano.

2. We build confidence in approaching all variety of instruments and in being in musical situations.

3. We play percussion from around the world; shakers, scrapers, metals and drums.

4. We try violins, cellos, guitars, ukuleles, banjos, dulcimers and harps.

5. We hear wind instruments from all varieties of whistles through recorders, harmonicas and some common band instruments like the clarinet.

6. I create and incorporate activities that engage babies in noticing symbols for sound and pitch.  They LOVE this!

7. We move our bodies to music feeling every type of meter, a variety of tempos and also show dynamics of music.

8. We engage in creative movement using language to describe how we are moving our bodies.

9. We play social circle games that teach us musical and social skills simultaneously.

10. In addition, these early group experiences develop a natural sense of music-making within a group of people.  We learn to take turns, stop and start together, feel tempo and show dynamics with our bodies and with instruments as a group.  We develop a sensitivity to the idea of making music in community.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

A pre-school music teacher asked (true story)

A pre-school music teacher asked, 

do you really think it makes a difference 
if kids are exposed to music in preschool?"

I responded with calm and certainty.  

"If you weren't there to do this, who would do it?"


How would those few children you spend minutes with each week gain exposure to using their voices and bodies creatively, expressively, thoughtfully, joyfully

Who would be their model?
(aside from the media stars and pop singers...
...and those models are not real-everyday-life-type-models...) 

I said,  
"music & movement are the first languages of the brain."  

The brain wires itself most happily and easily through song and rhythm.   

Setting a foundation for early musicality happens in these young ages.   We don't get to see the results of our efforts for almost 2 decades...so it can seem pointless at times.

I've been doing this for several decades now and I have seen results.

Did you know...when the child is still in the womb the first teacher is sound!

Just days after conception the fetus will withdraw in response to a loud sound.  

A few weeks later the ear canals are formed and are responding to sound.

The baby is born already in the habit of learning through sound and doesn't even have to be exposed to Mozart for this to happen!

Even newborn babies have non-verbal ways to let you know they like a song.  

Babies who have heard certain songs sung to them in the womb recognize those songs and respond to them.

Children learn to speak more easily through song.  So easily in fact, that I have had experiences where mamas withdraw a one-year old from an english-speaking class because the child was learning English too quickly.  Mama wasn't ready for her mother tongue to be replaced!

Yes, music and movement in preschool makes a world of difference to a child's development.  

We use the elements of music (rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre, dynamics, tempo) to shift emotional state.  

Music is THE most amazing way to light up the ENTIRE brain!!!

Nothing does this like music does.  Nothing.  Best activity ever for brain development!

You're doing great work when you make music with kids!  


Friday, April 17, 2020

How times change!

How Times Change


Well....I moved this blog from blogger to a wordpress site in 2013.

All of that was done in coordination with the publication of my ebook, Growing Grounded: Movement and Songs to Organize the Brain.

Then my life took a couple of unexpected turns.  I retired from my group work with children and decided to release my obligation to maintaining a blog.   Make Me Musical disappeared as I took down my wordpress site in 2017. 

I'm regretting that decision only slightly right at this moment (lots of amazing content lost forever!) but looking on the bright side that this blogger site with all my work up to 2013 still exists and it's still extremely useful. 


Why have I come back to this work???

(aside from being highly specialized, highly trained and having decades of experience in all of it?)

I have recently been invited to create a new music and movement program for children at a local music school.  The purpose of creating that program is to have a live training ground to train new teachers in my unique and integrated way of teaching. 

I felt excited about the opportunity and so jumped right in this past January! 

The new program is called, Growing Grounded Kids! and you can read more about it here.

Facebook page here
Growing Grounded Kids !  


Instagram here
Growing Grounded Kids!


The ebook is now available as a real live paperback resource book!

You can get a copy here  

Our in-person children's program is now on hold during our covid pause.  While we're pausing, I'm resurrecting this blog and creating an entirely new Teacher Training and Mentoring program with a new teaching curriculum.

It feels exciting to be creating in this world again! 

I hope you find some useful resources here for your nurturing, healing and educating work with children.

xo Susan

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