Music Mondays Blog

Music Mondays October 7th, 2019
By Music Together of Charlotte on October 07, 2019

Music classes in Charlotte give kids the opportunity to make neural connections through repetition!

I’m trying to learn a new language….and boy do I have a new appreciation for repetition and the concept of “practice makes perfect.” Just like for this “old dog” trying to learn something new, in early childhood, repetition is the KEY for all learning and skill development. 

When we learn something, we are laying down neural pathways in the brain via electrical impulses. Repetition creates a sort of “hack” to ultimately save the brain energy. In my case, it’s easy (and requires very little brain energy) for me to speak English because of years of experience and lots of repetition. With German, those connections aren’t there yet, so it takes a lot more neurological energy. Repetition is the tool that allows me to strengthen the connections in my brain so I can learn this new skill and process the synapses more quickly and efficiently.

It’s the same with children learning music. When toddlers attempt to play along on the micro-beat to Hey Lolly, Lolly for the first time, the “beat feedback” is actually routed through the cerebellum, or “little brain,” which has the important job of determining to which part of the “big brain,” the cortex, information should be sent. Robert Barton (Barton, 2014), an anthropologist at Durham University in the UK, reports that the mastery that takes place through repeating this over and over and over, in this case, the skill of tapping on the beat over and over and over, actually creates physical changes in the brain. Once the new skill has been learned, the flow of messages changes and by-passes the cerebellum all together. The messages go directly between the relevant part of the cortex and the muscles being activated, thus eliminating that extra step and utilizing less energy for the task.

So the next time your toddler wants you to get down on the floor and “play music class” with some egg shakers and Hey Lolly, Lolly, just remember that this musical participant is speeding up connections in her brain, and getting very efficient and proficient at tapping along to the beat!


Children and adults play with music!

Looking for something to do with old clothes? How about a fun game of MUSICAL CLOTHES? It’s just like Musical Chairs, but ends with a lot more fun! It works like this:  create a bag of old clothes – hats, scarves, gloves, jewelry, ties, whatever you can find. Turn the music on and have the children hand the bag of crazy items to one another in a clockwise direction. When the music stops, the child holding the bag must grab an item from the bag and put it on. The child with the wackiest costume when the bag is empty is the “winner.”


Charlotte is full of musical events!

Don’t miss the Jolly Lollies at Suffolk Punch’s “Fall Fest” on Sunday, October 20 from 4 – 6 pm. Dress in your finest costume and sing, dance, and play with this amazing duo with Music Together® ties! They play at 5 pm, but there will be lots of fun activities before then!



Music Mondays September 23rd, 2019
By Music Together of Charlotte on September 23, 2019

Charlotte music classes for kids get the brain firing!

Joe Biden got me thinking.

In the most recent debate, Mr. Biden suggested that we play music for our kids on “record players” in order to improve their academic performance. He was referencing Frances Raucher’s research (published in Nature in 1993) that found listening to classical music can improve spatial-temporal reasoning in children. This later became known as the “Mozart effect.”

While the theory has been debated since that time, researchers agree that music-making creates an even greater impact upon intellectual performance. This four-minute video explains how listening to classical music fires up many areas of the brain, but playing music fires up ALL areas of the brain; when we play an instrument, visual, auditory, and motor functions ignite in both hemispheres to create a cacophony of fireworks in the brain!

We’re glad the presidential candidates aren’t forgetting about the power of music in child development! 


Musical activities for parents and kids

If you have the Music Together FLUTE collection, then you know the song, Little Johnny Brown. But did you know it originated from the Gullah people of the Georgia Sea Islands and is a great “ring” or circle game to play with kids?! Just grab a large scarf and start singing and dancing. Here’s how it works: one child starts in the middle of the circle with the scarf and the group singing. She folds down all the corners, then takes it to a neighbor, with whom the child struts like a chicken, etc. Then it’s that friend’s turn to go in the middle, fold down the corners, etc. It’s great fun, especially with some adults willing to clap and sing and stomp and get silly!



Fun happenings for parents and children in the Greater Charlotte Area

“YOU AIN’T NEVER HAD A FRIEND LIKE ME!” Don’t miss ALADDIN, great music for families, Saturday, Sept 28 at 2 pm and Sunday, Sept 29 at 1:00 pm, Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.



PITCH YOUR CARSEAT – GET $30! Bring in an old car seat into Walmart from September 16th to September 30th, 2019, and you’ll get a $30 Walmart gift card. The card can be used in-store or online to buy items for your child. All car seats collected in this program will be recycled through TerraCycle, and each component will be diverted from the landfill.



FAMILY FRIENDLY AW SHUCKS CORN MAZE, September 20 – November 10, 2019, on Friday nights, Saturdays 11-10 pm and Sundays 1- 6 pm. Aw Shucks Farm, 2718 Plyler Mill Rd., Monroe. 

Enjoy this corn maze that most can finish in 25 minutes – littles welcome with parents! The farm also has hayrides, a kid’s play area, gem mining, animal barn and more. $8-$13, plus extra fees for certain activities, children 3 and younger FREE!


Music Mondays July 22nd, 2019
By Music Together CLT on July 19, 2019


The 18th annual 24 Hours of Booty is this weekend–July 26 and July 27. With an estimated 1200 bike-riders and 200 walkers set to rally in Myers Park, the event is focused on raising money for the Levine Cancer Institute, Levine Children’s Hospital, The LIVESTRONG Foundation, and Queens University of Charlotte. If you are not riding or walking, consider taking your little ones to the Cornwall Center on Friday night from 6 pm – 9 pm for the First Annual Booty on the Lawn! The address is 2001 Selwyn Ave. Charlotte, NC 28207. There will be an obstacle course for children, a dunk tank, face painting, and a DJ for shaking your booty!  For the adults, you can check out a yoga or spin class, enjoy a cash bar, browse the food trucks, play cornhole, and more.  



One of our favorite summertime rainy day activities is playing Tissue Dance. Give it a try! All you need is a box of tissues, space to dance, and some great music.

Give each child a tissue and have them put it on their head. When the music begins, everyone can start dancing while trying to keep the tissue on their head. If the tissue falls off someone’s head and they catch it before it touches the ground, they can put it back on their head and continue dancing. If the tissue falls on the ground, the player is “out” and must wait until the next round to start again. The last person dancing with the tissue on their head is the winner and gets to choose the next song.



Archeologists recently found a 200,000-year-old skull in Greece and it got me thinking…. Why did homo sapiens survive when Neanderthals and homo erectus did not? 

There are many competing theories, but one that interests me most is this: homo sapiens were uniquely able to create music. Scholars debate whether music-making is a biological adaptation or a cultural creation, but all agree that music was a key piece of the puzzle as to why humans survived.

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, homo sapiens shared the planet with Neanderthals and homo erectus.  Even though these early relatives were better adapted to climate in the Ice Age, homo sapiens survived and they did not. What was the major difference?

Geoffrey F. Miller from the University of New Mexico proposes that homo sapiens, who could dance and make music, were much more successful in courtship and mating and therefore had more reproductive success and staying power. Robin I. M. Dunbar of the University of Liverpool posits that music promoted social cohesion in groups that had grown too large for grooming. In part because of their ability to make music, homo sapiens were able to live in larger communities that could successfully coincide and work together for better survival.   And, of course, music helped “soothe the savage beast.” When homo sapiens sang to their infants or even just to themselves, they could self-regulate, be quiet, and survive in dangerous times. 

Of course, homo sapiens had bigger brains than their evolutionary competitors, which enabled more complex language, helped them to spread new ideas, and equipped them to make more sophisticated tools. If this is true, couldn’t their unique ability to make music also play a part in their ultimate survival?

Pretty cool, huh?


Music Mondays July 1st, 2019
By Music Together CLT on June 27, 2019


There are lots of fun events in our area to celebrate the Fourth of July.  

Matthews People’s Parade  – There will be bike and wagon decorating and a parade along with bounce houses, food trucks, and more --  followed by a concert at Stumptown Park, 120 S. Trade St., Matthews 

Stroll along South Street in Davidson  for a parade that will include a color guard, a fire engine and lots of patriotism. McEver Field, 626 South Street, Davidson

Sky Show Charlotte  combines baseball and Independence Day for a fun festival of rides, food trucks, and live music at a free street party from 2 – 10 pm.   The Charlotte Knights play at 6:05 pm. Mint Street and MLK Jr. Blvd.



John Philip Sousa composed “Stars and Stripes Forever” in 1896, and it remains one of the greatest marches in our country’s repertoire.  On this week of celebrating the Fourth of July, find this famous march on your favorite streaming device and let your child try her hand- and feet- at some large movement.

When kids move to music in a large way (like skipping, jumping, marching, twirling), they are not just developing their coordination, balance, and concentration abilities, they are also developing part of the brain that will help them to speak, read, write and play instruments.  From being in class, you know how to move on the micro and macro beats, and you can broaden that to super quick and super slow beats, ‘march’ like different animals...really let your child’s imagination direct the fun while you’re waiting for the fireworks.



Have you ever had a song stuck in your head?  For me, this week it was Bohemian Rhapsody.  My son and I recently watched the movie and for days afterward, in my head, all I could hear was “Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, Gallileo, figaro, magnifico…” This got me thinking about “songs in our heads.”

On June 10th, we wrote about the RECEPTION and EXPRESSION loop:  children must receive a lot of musical input in order to express music with their mouths and bodies.  What also happens in that loop is some good old-fashioned “song in my head” time – or what we call AUDIATION. Audiation describes the experience of hearing music in our minds even when there is no external music present.  And audition occurs in the silence. When a child’s audiation of a song or chant is accurate, then its outer expression is likely to be accurate, and we’ll hear our children sing in tune!

A child needs many chances to experiment – both consciously and unconsciously – with creating the outer reality and comparing it with his inner audiation of the music.  By repeatedly listening to and comparing her musical expressions with yours, as well as with the performances on the recording, she is gradually building her ability to audiate and “think musically.”

So, yes!  Give lots of opportunities for reception.  But allow those silences in between, where your son or daughter can hear music in their head, and begin the process of expressing music accurately.




Music Mondays June 17th, 2019
By Music Together CLT on June 13, 2019


June 21 is the SUMMER SOLSTICE – the longest day of the year!  Celebrate by checking out Reedy Creek Park and Nature Center’s “Fire and Hike”, 7:00 – 8:30 pm. All ages are welcome! 

There are also lots of free outdoor movies for kids this week!  Click HERE to see where you can hang out on a blanket under the stars and enjoy one of your favorite family films.

And don’t forget the Balloon Lady will be at Imaginon on June 18 for 1:00 and 3:00 shows.  Go to their website HERE to register for a show of story telling, music, and magical balloon creations!



Have you ever been on a SOUND SCAVENGER HUNT?  It’s a great way to have your little one sharpen up her ears, distinguish between different sounds and noises, and have some fun!

Simply ask your toddler, “what sounds do we hear outside?” As he answers, write them down (or draw them) in a notebook together.  You may have to give suggestions:  birds, dogs, cats, trucks, rain, wind, silence, owl, dinosaur, clock, plane, waves, bees, people, door, etc.  What will you hear?  What do all those things sound like?

Then out you go!  When you hear a sound, mark it off in your book with a heart or a star (for a nice sense of accomplishment) and then really listen.  What sounds did they make?   Did anything sound differently than you expected?  Stop and smell the roses, hear the bees, splash in the puddles and enjoy the sounds of the world!  



I was watching two puppies play in the park yesterday and was reminded of how important PLAY is in learning.   We’ve all seen it – two puppies rolling around in a pile, nipping at each other, growling, chasing and rolling on their backs.  What joy!  But that joy is teaching them about their social construct, what is tolerated in their environment, what hurts others and what doesn’t, and how to move their bodies in space.

The same is true with childhood play.  Whether it’s rough and tumble play like puppies or imaginative play, solo play, ritual play or musical play, kids learn through play!  There is a strong connection between the practice of play and the emotional and cognitive development of the brain.  It fires up the cerebellum and the frontal lobe and creates complex contextual memory.  In fact, Dr. Stuart Brown has found that play is as basic a natural phenomenon as sleep; and, like sleep, many of us aren’t getting enough of it!

What might musical play look like?  Maybe it’s your pre-crawler picking up and shaking everything in order to find the sound, your toddler having ‘music class’ with his stuffed animals and ukulele, kids acting out songs from movies (think Let It Go! or songs from Moana). Play is how kids sort through the stimuli of their days. Less structure in the summer allows children lots of space and time to really play. 

Music Mondays June 10th, 2019
By Music Together CLT on June 10, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen…. The Beatles!

What’s happening?
Looking for a fun Father’s day weekend experience? Music Together of Charlotte is a longtime supporter of Tosco Music, which is putting on FabFest, the Southeast’s first Beatles festival! Father’s Day weekend, from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, and noon to 5pm on Sunday, all things FabFour will be celebrated with guest speakers and performances, rare Beatles concert footage by the Charlotte Film Society, trivia contests and more! There’s also a family fun room at the festival- groovy crafts, games, music for kids, and there will even be a Beatles Music Together class both days! (If there are any grand-dads in town for the weekend, it’s a fantastic experience instead of another tie or funny socks, coffee cup, or grill tool, am I right?!)

FabFest is a ticketed event through Blumenthal. The first 10 families per day (20 total) will get 1/2 price day tickets to the Tosco FabFest for the same day of the class.

To reserve your spot, simply email, BY THURSDAY JUNE 13 at 9:00 pm, with the following info: # of adults to attend, # of kids under 5, #of kids over 5. You will receive an email later in the week with a link and discount code to purchase tickets. Saturday class is at 11:30, Sunday class is at 1:30.

Are we playin’ yet?
If you have chopsticks and an empty yogurt cup, you have an instrument. A plastic milk jug, 2 liter-bottle, wooden spoon, driveway, swingset….if you can strike it, it can make a sound, which can make a beat. Put on music YOU like, give yourself and your child an unsharpened pencil and enjoy your drum solo! It is surprisingly gratifying to improvise, innovate, and discover with your child(ren). Here’s some inspiration-(YouTube)

Give me the goods.
Lili Levinowitz, co-author of the Music Together Curriculum, was in Charlotte this past weekend, training new teachers. She gave a terrific example to help understand RECEPTION and EXPRESSION, the feedback loop of children’s musical development.

RECEPTION is like a computer hard drive where data is input and stored: tonalities, beats, genres, languages, stories, other subtle elements of the class experience and the musical experiences you and your family have at home The more reception opportunities your child has, the bigger their ‘hard drive’ will be.

EXPRESSION is like a monitor, where we can observe how this data has been processed: singing, dancing, purposeful movement, meaningful engagement with others, anticipation of stops and starts. The richer and more varied the input, the greater the array of expression.

Just as when children learn to talk, receiving cues and learning what language sounds like before trying it themselves, children spend a lot of time receiving music (hopefully from you) before they express it by playing with sounds, pieces of songs and then, eventually, full songs. Enjoy the process of watching your child come ‘on line’ musically as you marinate them in music.


Music Mondays, June 3rd, 2019
By Music Together CLT on June 03, 2019

It’s too darn hot! Hope these ideas give you some relief from the heat~

What’s happening?
The Arts and Science council has free ARTS BLOCK events all over the
Charlotte metro area, all summer long. Here are a few happening soon:

  • Clayworks: June 8, 10-Noon: family workshop
  • June 11, 10-11am: preschool workshop
  • Mallard Creek Rec Center, 2530 Johnston Oehler Rd, 28269
  • Little Aviators: June 8,10-11am, age 3-5, Steele Creek Branch Library

Are we playin’ yet?
When we play with balls in class, the hope is that you will carry the idea home. Why are balls musical? Anything that moves can have a beat, and we are the agents of that beat when playing with balls, scarves, parachutes, etc., by anticipating when to roll to get the ball ‘there on time’ to the beat. If you are playing with your child, Gertie Balls are terrific for this; they can be inflated to your desired 'bounce-ability' and the textture of the ball is tacky (nothing gets on your hands but it’s grip-able), perfect for young children. Beyond the music, it helps with other developmental milestones and skills like motor control and catching. Plus, you can play with these balls inside.

Give me the goods.
One word: DANCE. It’s summer, so we're not going to get into a lecture about all the reasons why, but here are a few highlights:

Brain development : according to research from the Harvard Center on the Developing Child, serve and return’ is the most critical factor in healthy brain development. It’s what you all do naturally in class (and everywhere else)-interact with and respond to your child. Dance is a physical serve and return opportunity.

Motor control : Young children are learning to inhabit their bodies; the more ways they can experiment and move, the more ways they can refine how they move through space, their sense of balance and orientation, and range of motion.

Self-regulation : We don’t need a research study to know this! A wonderful thing about our bodies and music is that they are OURS, and we can call upon them anytime. Feeling stressed? Slow music and a gentle sway can calm the soul. Feeling blah? Dance can energize and give a much-needed endorphin rush.

Dance models self-expression, joy, and freedom. You don’t need permission; family dance time is not just for class!


Daddy / Daughter Whoa?!?! I’m about to go wake up @willowsmith Right Now! ��: @shadmoss

A post shared by Will Smith (@willsmith) on

Music Mondays May 27th, 2019
By Music Together CLT on May 24, 2019

For the preschool crowd, it is officially SUMMER! Let’s get this vacay underway!

WHAT’S HAPPENING? Have a morning of adventure and head into center city to the Romare Bearden Park 

The Lynx line (the train) extends from Carolina Pavilion on South Blvd, to UNCC, with Park and Ride lots all along it. 

It’s perfect for a picnic, there are boulders to scale (kid-size and manageable), a big field for running and playing, an interactive, musical children’s play area, and a jump in/ jump out waterfall- smack in the middle of the tall buildings! It’s free, novel, and there are coffee shops nearby (yay!)



Grab some heavy glass jars- think mason jars, mid-size, a tub of water, a child-size plastic pitcher or measuring cup, a lightweight metal teaspoon, and a patch of grass. Pour different amounts of water into the jars and hit the sides of them with the teaspoon. Voila! They have a pitch. You can add or pour out water to tweak the tones, to show the child what can happen, and then leave them to it. If you use heavy glass, preschoolers are not strong enough to break the jars. It’s kind of magical. (To understand why I am suggesting this, keep reading) 


So, give a child glass to play with? Have I lost my sense of safety? Here’s the secret: this was my favorite thing to do at my grandmother’s house in the summer. I was mesmerized and laser focused, altering the amount of water in the jars to be able to play the songs I had in my head. I was not a prodigy; it was something I could do by myself, my very own mini music laboratory. 

It wasn’t until decades later when I trained to be a Montessori teacher that I understood WHY I was so engrossed: the activity called to me, it hit my developmental sweet spot for self-discovery. The fact is that children have great powers of concentration if they’re given ‘work’ that calls to them. Dr. Montessori said, “Follow the child.” In other words, see what the child wants to do, and make that available to them. 

With this in mind- making available what kids are drawn to-let’s break down this activity:

INDEPENDENCE: can the child do it unassisted? Children crave independence, so anything they can do by themselves is a perfect endeavor, and if it is musical, all the better! 

ORDER: What comes first? What’s next? When is it finished? When do I start over? The order of dipping the measuring cup into the water and pouring it into the jars (both practical life skills they can practice and perfect), setting it down, pinging the jars, listening for ‘accuracy’, emptying, dipping, pouring, get the idea. 

CONCENTRATION: The reason a child is quiet when they get the remote control isn’t because they’re being mischievous; it’s because they’re INTERESTED. They see us do it- phones, remotes, keys, cooking, computers, etc.- and want to do it. Dr. Montessori realized that what is work for adults is play for a child. Anytime children can be involved in such grown-up activity (dipping, pouring, measuring), they are doing ‘real’ work. It scratches a developmental itch we might not realize they have. 

Children want to take care of themselves and help others. Observing and facilitating experiences that allow children to build on their abilities at their own pace is a profound way to support your child. The magic is often in the mess. (I did mention- do this on the grass, right?)

Music Mondays May 20, 2019
By Music Together of Charlotte on May 20, 2019

It’s the Last week of the TAMBOURINE COLLECTION?! Wowza, that was fast! Summer
classes begin June 10, so before we reconvene in a couple of weeks, these ideas should tide
you over.

Let us know what you think on Facebook @MusicTogetherOfCharlotte or Instagram
@musictogetherclt. Use #MTCharlotteMondays and please share with friends. More music is a
good thing!

The US National Whitewater Center is at its’ absolute best on summer holidays. Memorial Day,
May 26, the live music begins at 6pm by the water- the grassy area that leads to the stage is
very large, gently sloping and is usually packed with families and young kids. You can even
bring your dog (on a leash)! There are fireworks at 9:30, but hey-it’s summer, live a little! Bring
a blanket, and one to cover your sleepy little people, and enjoy a FREE event.


ROUND ROBIN is the perfect road trip song- it’s in parts, it’s familiar, it’s a little tricky to sing,
and the laughs that will fill your car (because you’ll mess it up, repeatedly) is about as hilarious
and wholesome as it gets. The car is the perfect place to tackle part singing!

NAME THAT TUNE a la toddler- sing the first phrase of a song, and have another person sing
the next line. The great thing about this is that anyone can ‘lead’ it. “Standing in the field LITTLE
BIRCH TREE”, sings your 3 year old. Who will answer them? What would you sing?


When is it time to start music lessons?
Music Together® Founder and Artistic Director, Ken Guilmartin
, has some clear thoughts on
this issue.

It’s common to confuse a child who is obviously musically inclined for being developmentally
ready for formal instruction, like piano lessons. Waiting a little longer can help avoid frustration
on the part of both parents and children. Your child’s temperament, physical and emotional
development, and level of tonal and rhythmic competence are the most important factors
to weigh.


Product (music lessons): Working backward from the inevitable recital means being ready for a
public performance, which requires practice, which requires persistence, patience, and
commitment. Is this your child? Is your child developmentally ready for the pressure of
performing in public? If you are reasonably sure that this scenario will not frustrate your child,
then lessons might be the next step.

Process (informal experiences): Children don’t have to practice to play; they just do it, and
‘play’ is how they learn. They can repeat, experiment, invent, predict, and memorize as part of
their natural development. As their skills increase, there is the satisfaction of self-discovery,
intrinsic reward rather than external affirmation and evaluation. Eventually, open-ended play
gives way to the desire to learn things that are not their own creation.

Without Basic Music Competence (BMC), even exceptionally mature and motivated children can
flounder in lessons. BMC, the most important factor for readiness, means the ability to sing in
tune and move with accurate rhythm.

The consequences of not having BMC in a music lesson boils down to frustration and a feeling
they ‘can’t do it right’. Children without BMC have difficulty recognizing if they are playing the
correct melody, and might not have the aural understanding of what makes a note ‘right’ and
another ‘wrong, and it is also difficult to keep a steady tempo, or understand note values. As
with language, music fluency starts with the aural/oral level, through plenty of direct exposure.

~ YOU take lessons. It piques your child’s curiosity and is a powerful role model.
~ Have family dance parties with music YOU love
~ Have pitched instuments (xylophones, handbell sets) that children can use to experiment with
melody and beat
~ Sing along to favorite Broadway soundtracks- they are musically beautiful and melodically
challenging to sing

Children develop at different rates physically, emotionally, socially, and musically, so the
following can be only approximate guidelines for what might be best at different ages.
Threes and fours will continue to thrive in group music classes that allow for a direct, playful
experience of music and movement. Create a music environment at home, too, by integrating
spontaneous music-play into your daily life.

Fives and sixes will enjoy classes that begin to introduce more sophisticated music concepts
within the context of a whole music and movement experience, such as Rhythm Kids, which is
offered in two levels: Level 1 for 4-5 year olds and Level 2 for children in kindergarten through
second grade.

Seven to nine is often a good time to explore traditional lessons. Choose a teacher you think is
a good temperamental match for your child. It’s more important at this point for him to fall in love
with his instrument than work with a noted maestro. (That can come later!)

Ten and older is not too late to begin! The older child tends to be focused and to progress
rapidly. Sometimes, however, she may find beginner music to be “babyish,” so the choice of
materials will be crucial. Try Béla Bartók’s Mikrokosmos, a series of books with musically
interesting exercises that older children find appealing.

Finally, the way that you support your child through their music development has to be authentic
to you and your family. There is nothing wrong with having your child start with an easy Beatles
song book if that’s your jam. Feeling successful and having fun leads to wanting to practice. The
more you love music, the more music you love!

Music Monday May 13, 2019
By Music Together of Charlotte on May 10, 2019

Welcome to the Blah blah blah blahg!  (kudos to Phyllis Fulton for that description!)

We’ve got a shorter post for you today – trying to be more streamlined.  Let us know what you think on Facebook @MusicTogetherOfCharlotte or Instagram @musictogetherclt. Use #MTCharlotteMondays and please share with friends. More music is a good thing!


It’s strawberry picking season!  What a great way to fill your kitchen with the fresh smells of spring   Give your toddler an opportunity to practice small and large motor skills while connecting with our precious earth at any local farm.  Here are some suggestions:



Also, don’t miss TEA TIME IN THE GARDEN on Sunday, May 19, 4:00 – 6:00 pm at Wing Haven Garden & Bird Sanctuary, 248 Ridgewood Ave., Charlotte.  A real treat!


We say it all the time…..informally playing musically with your child creates crucial neuropathways that allow him to sing in tune and keep a beat (not to mention all those amazing benefits we talked about last week).  So how do we do that?

  • Try improvising a counting song – how high can you go?
  • Make up new words about what you are doing to an old favorite song or nursery rhyme
  • Make weird sounds.  Babies and toddlers like nothing more than experimenting with their voices!  Start circling and dipping and swooning and swirling with your voices.  Think sirens and funny voices.  What does a llama say?  an aardvark? a sloth?
  • Find some drums in the kitchen!  Soup cans, pots and pans, spice bottles are all great rhythm instruments. 
  • Find a toy piano or guitar and bang and strum away!
  • Turn up the tunes – find the one you loved in college or high school – grab your child’s hand and dance, dance, dance!

The true power of musical play lies in YOUR participation.  If there is one thing we can learn from children, it’s how to play!  So, pay attention to her lead, and follow that unique creativity and experimentation with some good old-fashioned face-to-face interaction.



Well, the short answer is, we think you’ll find music helps us through those early months of a new baby’s life, and it can be tremendously beneficial to the child as well.

Your baby is a natural born music-maker!  Just listen to her coo, squeal, cry, giggle and eventually “babble.”  Just like babies babble in language, they also babble musically.  Have you ever heard your son “sing” on “da da da da da”? Or heard your daughter coo while a familiar song is playing?  That’s music-making, and only needs a bright smile and eye contact for her to continue.

If he has been lucky, he has been listening to you sing to him, play music for him, and feel you dance with him in utero.  Now that he’s in the world, just watch how your baby responds to music in his now independent body!  He’ll become very still, listening intently to the amazing sounds you are giving him;  or she will coo and may even “match pitch” (sing the dominant) towards the end of the song; or his eyes will brighten and move toward the sound of your voice; and, of course, her feet and hands will kick and wave and move about when music is around her!

So, what should you do?  Mimic his movements!  Coo back in the same pitch, tap a steady beat on her body, wave your arms about just like he does, and keep singing and dancing. It will reinforce that making these types of noises and movements is more than it seems – it’s music!