HAPPY MUSIC MONDAY…We hope you are enjoying the #MTCharlotteMondays emails and blogs.  Let us know how you are using these tips in your daily life.  How can we make the information we are sending you more accessible and/or user-friendly?  We want to be a great resource for all things kids and music for you and your family!  And don’t forget to tag us at on Facebook (@MusicTogethrOfCharlotte) and Instagram (new handle! @musictogetherclt)

Here are a few things we think you need to know for the week:

 

WHAT’S HAPPENING…..

Spring has sprung and there are a LOT of things going on in the Queen City this week!  CHARLOTTE SHOUT – Charlotte’s premier celebration of art, music, food and ideas in Uptown Charlotte  - starts today and runs through May 11 (http://charlotteshout.com).  Park at either end of the Lynx line and ride in to enjoy some family-friendly fun like Intrude – giant illuminated bunnies that will take over the green or Impulse, glowing see-saws with a twist at the Levine Center for the Arts.


And if you are saving up your Charlotte Shout time for NEXT week, try MOMMY CON at the Convention Center on Saturday from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.  There will be sessions for moms and dads on everything from postpartum care, feeding tips for children with sensory issues and even how and when to start solids.  Tickets are required but kids attend free, and you can learn more about these informative scheduled sessions here:

MOMMY CON

LET’S GET OUR PLAY ON!!!

Children love playing with balls!  And they are great for gross motor and fine motor skills, experimenting with beat, and are fun indoors or outdoors. 

What???  Balls indoors???  I don’t THINK so!

Well, when you are hankering for some indoor ball play, look no further than the humble PING PONG BALL.  There will be no broken glass, they are light and easy to hold (even in toddler hands!), and they are too big to be a choking hazard. And you can buy them in packages of six!

Here are some great ways to play with ping pong balls this week:

  •  Put on “Old Brass Wagon,” and roll the ping pong ball back and forth on a hard floor with your child.  (“Rolling on the beat, with my ping pong ball, rolling on the beat, ping pong, ping pong, Rolling on the beat, ping pong, ping pong, Ping Pong ball is rolling!”)  Roll on the downbeat and if your child holds the ping pong ball, just mime the beat as if you have a ball in your hand!

  •  If your child is older or ready, try throwing and catching the ping pong ball on the beat.  You and your child can throw to each other OR throw and catch independently.
  • Put a paper cup on the floor and try tossing the ping pong ball into the cup on the beat of “Little Blue Car.”  “Ping Pong Ball, Ping Pong Ball, Ping Pong Ball, my Ping Pong Ball!”
  • Just explore the ping pong balls with some sensory exercises.  Practice blowing the ball with your child.  It contributes to the development of strong tongue muscles and mouth control, and it also helps develop their speech and pronunciation skills later on.
  • Put on “Sneakin’ ‘Round the Room,”  and hide the ping pong balls where your toddler may easily find them.  As she is finding them, be sure to count along to help with numeracy.

GIVE ME THE GOODS

Let’s tune in to how our children learn!

(From Devi Borton, M.A., is a Certified Music Together® Teacher Trainer and Center Director of FAM JAM! Music Together in Santa Fe, New Mexico.)

Look around a Music Together class and you'll notice different behavioral "personalities." Some children sit still and stare at their parent or teacher singing "One Little Owl." Others gaze out the window or look at their toes while the class clicks and sings "Tricks with Sticks." And some are constantly in motion, jumping or toddling around exuberantly, even when everyone else is in a close circle quietly singing "Inanay." Do you recognize your child in any of these examples?

Tuning in to the way your child learns can help you "turn up" their learning. It can also help you relax and have more fun in and out of class.

We see three main learning styles in young children: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Howard Gardner, who developed Multiple Intelligence Theory, understood that children learn by using a combination of all their senses, but that most children naturally favor one. That primary sensory "channel" is the strongest way for the child to tune into an experience and learn. Here's a guide to help you start to identify the way your child learns best.

Visual Learner: “I tune into learning best when I watch intently.”

·         What this looks like in a Music Together class: Child stares at parent's or teacher's mouth during singing. Child starts bouncing when we "flash" our hands to the beat. Child moves close to others during an activity to get a front-row seat.

·         Commonly misunderstood as: Not participating, not social.

·         How to support: Make sure to move rhythmically while you sing. Show your child the beat in your torso, gestures, and feet. Exaggerate your mouth and facial expressions while you sing.

·         Resist the urge to interrupt your child's focus by trying to get them to drum with you, sing with you, etc.  Let them learn the way that suits their style!

Auditory Learner: “I tune into learning best by focusing on what I hear.”

·         What this looks like in class: Child's gaze is off to the side or unfocused. Child may also engage frequently in singing or vocal play, enjoying the sound of their own voice. Out of class, child may tell parent, "Don't sing!" with the recording to avoid having two competing auditory sources.

·         Commonly misunderstood as: Spacing out, not engaged in the music activity, shy.

·         How to support: In class and at home, echo tonal patterns close to one ear and then the other. Clap or tap the beat audibly while you sing. Include pauses in your music-play (like before “come little donkey come” in “Tingalayo”).

·         Resist the urge to try to get your child to do certain things, like make eye contact with you, move their body, or play an instrument when they appear to be deeply listening.  That kind of deep absorption in the music is just what they need!

Kinesthetic Learner: “I tune into learning best when I am moving my whole body.”

  • What this looks like in class: Child toddles around the room for an extended period of time. Child often stands and bounces during activities. Child delights in being rocked, spun, dipped, and lifted by parent. Child may not want to sit with parent, may push parent away.
  • Commonly misunderstood as: Off-task, too rowdy, disruptive, too active for music class.
  • How to support: As long as they're safe, allow your child freedom to experience and respond to the music with their whole body. Play the recording at home as well as in the car to give regular opportunities for whole-body music-play.
  • Resist the urge to try to make your child sit down and "pay attention."  Trust that their kinesthetic style if just what they need!

Once you've identified your child's learning style, you might be tempted to over-focus on supporting that one sense. But, as Gardner says, children are not mono-sensory. They need a balanced sensory diet. Music Together activities naturally provide multi-sensory learning opportunities, connecting parents and children with visual, auditory, and kinesthetic stimulation and support. This ensures that your child gets a whole brain/body experience with music—and so do you! 

Tuning into your child's way of learning and processing makes the journey a lot richer, more relaxed, and much more fun!