Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Top 5 Reasons to Sing Your Heart Out!

You're in your toddler's music class. Your teacher is "inviting" you to sing. Ha! No way are you going to be humiliated in front of all these people! You resist. She'll never notice that you're not singing. Nobody else is singing, anyway. You'll look like a fool. But -- oh no! Your teacher, in the guise of trying to "engage" the class, is subtly looking at every single adult in the room, making eye contact and watching their mouths move to see if they're actually singing! Whatever. You've got this. You start mouthing the words to the song. You're here for your kid, after all. This class isn't for you. Your child needs to learn music, because it's supposed to help with her brain development or something. Your brain is already developed. 

Then it happens. The teacher looks at you. Your eyes lock, and she gives you a knowing, laughing glance. She's seen through your ruse! She knows you're not singing! She is wordlessly communicating to you that if you don't start singing post-haste, you'll be called out in front of the entire class!

You are mortified. You start singing...a little. It's terrifying, but better than having that teacher keep giving you The Look. Then, slowly, you start to feel something inside you start to release. The noose that you didn't even realize you had around your heart is beginning to loosen. Images flash through your head. The choir teacher who told you to just mouth the words during the performance...the parent who told you to stop "screeching" in the shower...the smug DJ who laughed at you during karaoke by one, their iron grips on your vocal cords crumble away, and you are singing! You are Taylor Swift! You are Adele! You are Lady Gaga! You are going to be a MILLIONAIRE!!!

Okay, maybe not. But you are singing, and because you are singing, that little part of your soul that had been locked away inside you is breaking free. 

Singing is like running down a hill on a sunny day. It's like getting up on waterskis and feeling the wind rushing through your hair as you glide across the water. It's a release (literally -- it's an endorphin release. Just ask Cosmo). It's you getting to be totally, freely, completely you. 

And here's the secret. It doesn't matter what you sound like. What matters is that you're doing it. And by setting that little piece of your soul free with song, you're teaching your child to do the same thing. 

So, to summarize, here are the top five reasons to sing your heart out in your toddler's music class:

1. Your teacher won't call you out in front of the whole class for not singing.

2. You might become a millionaire. Beyonce had to start somewhere, right?

3. This is payback to all the people who ever told you not to sing. 

4. You'll be setting your soul free and releasing endorphins.

5. You're empowering your child to find her voice and send that little bit of her soul out into the world.

"Miss" Lindsay is the Director of Kindermusik with Miss Lindsay & Friends. For more information on our holistic approach to teaching music to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, please visit

Friday, November 6, 2015

How to Soothe a Scared Child, Part 1

Reagan is one of those children who is just too easy to love. She has perfectly round cheeks and literally squeals with joy every time she sees me. However, for two months, Reagan had a tendency to get frightened during her Kindermusik class. Our beloved Cow Book scared her.

In Reagan's class, I avoided The Cow Book (which became known as "The Scary Book") for many months. Everyone else in class wanted to read The Scary Book, but I just couldn't bear the thought of making Reagan whimper or cry.  Soon Reagan felt so pressured that she would pretend she wasn't afraid of the book. "I not scared," she would say, trying to be cool in front of her friends. 

One day, I had had enough. The Cow Book is a classic in our studio. There are multiple videos on YouTube and Facebook of children younger than Reagan absolutely cracking up over the pig who tricks us at the end of the book by shouting, "Whee, whee, whee!" instead of oinking. The other children deserved to experience the Cow Book again. Surely we could find a way to help Reagan get over her fear.

I brought out The Cow Book. "Reagan," I asked. "Are you afraid of this book?" She looked at me uncertainly. "It's okay if you are," I reassured her. She nodded.

"Reagan, do you think this book could actually hurt you?" She wasn't sure. 

"It won't," I promised. "The animals aren't real. See? It's just me, pretending to be the animals. See this page? See how the flap has a hole in it? That's where I put my mouth in to pretend to be the pig. See? So can this book hurt you?" 

Me, pretending to be a mouse in the flashcard version of The Cow Book

"No," she said. 

"If you feel scared while I read the book, that's okay. It's okay to be scared. But even though you feel scared, this book isn't dangerous. It's just Miss Lindsay. Would Miss Lindsay ever hurt you?"

"No." Now she was giggling.

"Would Miss Lindsay ever bring a book into class that could hurt you?"

"No!" she laughed.

"Okay!" I said. "So now we know, it's okay to feel scared, but this book absolutely cannot hurt you, and you are going to be okay. Now can we read it?"


"It's okay if you're scared."

"I not scared!"

That was two weeks ago. Last week, everyone wanted to read not only The Cow Book but The Zoo Book (same concept) as well. We read both books. Reagan wasn't scared. Today, she and the other kids demanded that we read The Cow Book and The Zoo Book yet again! 

Instead, we read Hurry Home, Little Kittens. I can only handle so much Cow Book before I start to go a little batty. 

But I think Reagan's cured.

"Miss" Lindsay is the Director of Kindermusik with Miss Lindsay & Friends. For more information on our holistic approach to teaching music to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, please visit

Monday, October 26, 2015

Everybody's Grandpa

John's grandparents have been attending Kindermusik classes with us since John was a baby. I used to think John's grandma, Carolee, loved class more than any other human being, including all of the kids. Carolee is a former preschool teacher, and when John was a baby, she would spend the whole time laughing heartily at his antics and the antics of the other children around him. I knew from the moment I met her that Carolee was some sort of Kindermusik angel sent to watch over us and make sure we squeezed every bit of joy we could get out of each and every class.

It wasn't until about four or five semesters in, though, that I realized that John's grandpa might actually be having a better time in class than either John or Carolee. John's grandpa loves to sing. John's grandpa can sing almost as high as I can, and he does, at every opportunity. Today in class, John's grandpa tried to sing along with a piggyback song that I was making up as I went along to the tune of Queen's "We Will Rock You". After that, he was rolling around on the ground with two little boys. Obviously, one was not John; let's call him Jack. John's aunt (yes, John comes with a full entourage) whispered, "Dad! Stop tickling that little boy! That's not John!" Jack's mother pulled me aside and laughed. "She's new," she said. "She doesn't realize that he always plays with Jack. Jack loves him!"

Indeed, when John's Grandpa comes to class, he is everybody's grandpa. He comes to class with the spirit of a very outgoing little kid. He rolls around on the floor, makes up harmonies to songs he's never heard before, and gets everyone riled up with his fun-loving personality. I joke that he's the one in the family who's my student. To tell the truth, though, he and Carolee and Jack's mom and all the other fantastic parents in that class are the best possible "Kindermusik Grownups" -- they come for the fun, stay in the moment, sing like they're the stars of the show, and aren't afraid to marvel in -- and even emulate -- the wonder that is the two-year-old child. 

"Miss" Lindsay is the Director of Kindermusik with Miss Lindsay & Friends. For more information on our holistic approach to teaching music to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, please visit

Sunday, October 25, 2015

How to Comfort A Crying Child in Four Steps

One of the saddest things in the world is a child crying inconsolably for no apparent reason.

In class this week, a beautiful little girl started laughing hysterically during one of our class activities. Then, perhaps overwhelmed by the strength of her own emotion, she started crying as if brokenhearted. Tears poured from her blue eyes, her face turned red, and her breath heaved as she clung to the assistant teacher at her side.

The assistant teacher tried to soothe her, saying, "Why are you crying? What's wrong? What's the matter?" However, children often don't know what they're feeling, much less why they're feeling it. Our job is to help them identify the feeling and to help them make sense of the emotional maelstrom that threatens to pull them into its undertow.

"I don't think she knows why she's crying," I ventured. "You don't know why you're crying, do you?" I asked the child. She shook her head no. "It's okay. Sometimes I get really sad, too, and I don't know why, but it's good to feel all the feelings. Do you miss Miss Paulette?" She kept crying but nodded. Miss Paulette was the head teacher who usually attended class with us. "It's okay to be sad when we miss someone. It's okay to cry." The little girl seemed slightly reassured but kept sobbing.

At this point, the rest of the class was transfixed on the little girl, and since I'm a teacher, a red flag went off in my mind for two reasons. First, no one likes to be stared at when they're crying. Second, when it comes to children, crying can be contagious. Fortunately, music is one of the best ways to redirect a room full of children and calm turbulent feelings. We switched from the goofy, quick-paced activity to a sweet, moderately slow song about an owl. The song is written in a minor key, a musical flavor tinged with sadness, and features an owl hooting three times at the end of each line. As a class, we wondered if perhaps the owl was feeling sad. 

As we sang the song, the little girl's breathing started to slow. The attention was off her, and her feelings were being validated by the sad little owl who, with his slow song in a minor key, seemed to feel the same way she was feeling. By the end of the class, she was what psychologists call "emotionally regulated." Her feelings were no longer overwhelming her; she was comforted.

The next time your child is crying inconsolably, try these four steps:

1. Tell him he is safe and loved. These are the two things every child always needs to know, especially when they're upset.

2. Help the child name his feeling. Is he sad? Angry? Scared?

3. Validate the child's feeling. Help him understand why he might be feeling his feeling, and reassure him that it's okay to feel that way. 

4. Use music to help your child move through the feeling. Play or sing a slow song or lullaby, preferably in a minor key. For example, Sulla Lulla is a beautiful song that you may already have as part of your Kindermusik collection. If not, you can find it online at

May you be happy
May you be safe
May you be healthy
May you be at peace

"Miss" Lindsay

Miss Lindsay is the Director of Kindermusik with Miss Lindsay & Friends. For more information on our holistic approach to teaching music to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, please visit

Monday, September 17, 2012

REvolution, Kindermusik-style!!

Those of you enrolled in our toddler and preschool classes know what I mean. We've rocked your world a little bit and maybe even your boat too. Wiggle & Grow, Laugh & Learn and Move & Groove families (those are the curriculum names of NEW Kindermusik classes) are joining the revolution of the evolution of our awesome new Digital Home Materials.

At Home Logo

So what does that mean and how does it affect you? It means that Kindermusik International has done it again. They've made the magic, learning, and music they're known for new once more...and this time it's easier, more convenient, and more applicable than ever before. Through rigorous research, planning, thought, love, and care, Kindermusik International has created a digital delivery system that will bring music, literature, home activities, videos, and up-to-date research on child development into your hands anytime and anywhere. These materials are accessible on your home computer, tablet, or smartphone. (Um, yep. You heard that right. Standing in the grocery line, anyone? Waiting at the doctor's office?) They bring you everything you love about Kindermusik in an eco-friendly digital format that will never get lost, left behind, chewed up, used up, or need to be trucked there to here wasting-fossil-fuels-up.
It's an exciting time to be part of the Kindermusik family. We hope you love Kindermusik @Home as much we do!

Digital Home Materials FAQ
Have some questions? We want to answer them! If you don't find what you're looking for below, give us a ring at (925) 866-8055 or email us at

How do I find or access my materials?
From your desktop, tablet, or smartphone, visit (notice there's no www). Enter your email address and log in as a new user to set your password. If you already have registered with, you can use the same email address and password in both places. Once you've set up your account, you'll be directed to your home page where you'll find your child's unit of materials waiting for you. (Wiggle & Grow: "Time for Lunch" or Laugh & Learn: "Out and About"). Just click the unit icon to start exploring!

Every four weeks a new unit will automatically be delivered to your account. The units you already own will remain in your account forever growing your library of music, activities, and books!

I'm having trouble accessing my materials. What do I do?
If you experience any difficulty logging in or accessing your current unit, please contact us immediately. We are working directly with our friends at Kindermusik International to make sure you have a hassle-free experience. We appreciate knowing about any trouble you encounter as soon as possible so we can troubleshoot and uncover the solution quickly. 

How do I get the music for the class?
The music for your child's class is available in the orange-colored Download Center on the unit homepage for your child's curriculum. Simply click to download the music to your computer and then burn a CD, import to iTunes, or save and listen in whichever way your prefer to organize your music!

Our family has rules about screen time. How can we use these materials?
Kindermusik International knows and respects that each family gets to decide what's best for them when it comes to this issue. In creating this digital resource, Kindermusik has read about and researched this topic thoroughly. We have aligned our stance with that of the highly respected NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning, recognizing that children can benefit from a responsible and age-appropriate use of technology in combination with hands-on experiences and in partnership with an actively involved caregiver. We are proud to bring these high-quality materials to your family which truly embody the very best of both worlds- a responsible introduction to technology AND lots of hands-on, movement-rich, in-your-lap, down-on-the-floor learning.

These materials are designed for you and your child to use cooperatively, engaging with one another as you read, watch, discuss, and discover. Most of the videos are less than 2 minutes in length. The book can be used as an e-book or can be printed from the Download Center and enjoyed traditionally. Activities can be printed from the Download Center and enjoyed over and over again. Parents can read, watch, and learn about the latest research in early childhood education and their child's development. They are truly a rich and exciting tool that's now available to you anytime and anywhere!

Why is my monthly payment different from last Spring?
One of the benefits of going digital is that we're now able to offer families enrolled in Wiggle & Grow and Laugh & Learn an overall COST SAVINGS on Kindermusik. Even though you'll now be receiving MORE music, MORE literature, and MORE activity ideas, the digital delivery allows us to save on expensive shipping and handling costs. That translates to a significant savings for you and a greener more eco-friendly practice for the globe. Plus, there are no more up-front materials charges. Just one low monthly payment that bundles your tuition and Digital Home Materials into one.

But my child is enrolled in Village, Imagine That, or Young Child. When do I get Digital Home Materials?
  Digital Home Materials are currently not available for these classes. I know. We're sorry, but our fingers and toes are crossed that they're coming very, very soon! And you can bet that as soon as they're available, we'll be delivering them directly to you! In the meantime, you get to continue enjoying Kindermusik's award-winning physical Home Materials.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

7 tips for family music time


A wonderful blog post from Mommy Educator Blogger "Sew Liberated" begins...

This morning, I stopped to ponder the road I’ve traveled to get where I am now – which led me to consider a few of those roads that I didn’t choose. The one that stood out to me was that decision, nine years ago, to pursue graduate studies in Montessori education rather than music therapy - a decision that led to living and teaching in rural Mexico for three years, which ultimately led to an interest in Latin American history on Patrick’s part, which landed us here in the land of Duke, et cetera, et cetera.

Read the rest here!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kindermusik Director of Education Featured in USA Today’s “Guide to Kids’ Health”

Carol Penney, Kindermusik's Director of Education

Carol Penney, Kindermusik International‘s Director of Education and Kindermusik educator for 30 years is featured this week in the USA Today “Guide to Kids’ Health” Summer 2012 issue in the article, “Music & Learning in Perfect Harmony” by Mara Gorman.

Download the full article here.

The article talks about why we should teach our children to love music and why playing music now means a higher GPA later. This is something we at Kindermusik have been known for 30+ years, prior to the first evidence supporting the benefits of music on cognitive development in young children, released only six years ago in 2006. This issue is near and dear to our hearts, being that our mission is to bring learning through music to children across the world, and is especially important as schools continue to cut back on arts & music program, leaving a hole in education that parents must fill. We wanted to share a recap of the article, along with some of our favorite quotes and features to bring attention to why music is one of the best learning methods for child development.
The article begins with a question:
Guide to Kids Health: Teach Your Child to Love Music
“What if someone told you that from the moment your child was born, you could do something to improve her self-esteem, confidence, social skills, eye-hand coordination, and eventually her grade point average? Of course, you would sign up, maybe even if it meant extensive training or expense.”
As a parent, we all want to do what’s best for our children. As we at Kindermusik have known and the theme echoed throughout the piece: early and meaningful exposure to music in a family’s life is one of the best gifts we can give our children! As we discuss on this music education blog, early music exposure for children has infinite benefits. Kindermusik classes primarily focus on early childhood development – for children age newborn to seven. As research has shown, the earlier we begin to share music with children, the better:
“Children are never too young to start experiencing music. In fact, the most fertile time for music learning is between birth and 5 years old.”
This guide also points out that being musically inclined is not a requirement to be able to incorporate music into your child’s life. As parents, we can bang on pots & pans to a steady beat, play our favorite lullabies at bedtime or radio station for a dance party, have a good ol’ fashioned family jam session with homemade instruments, or try a Kindermusik class together! All of these things will set your child on the right path to early learning. The article suggests finding music classes in your area through programs like Kindermusik, citing the benefits of music. In class, we use instrument play, repetition, special songs for every day chores, soothing rituals, audiation, sign language, books, and more foundations of learning through music to give children the tools they need to develop cognitive, physical, and social skills.
“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:

Kindermusik Music Classes for Toddlers
  • 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
  • Kindermusik classes use percussion instruments like the Japanese den-den drum, seen here, to encourage rhythm and movement.
  • 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.
Give Your Child the Gift of Music!
*All quotes in this post from Mara Gorman’s article in the USA Today Guide to Kid’s Health, Summer 2012 issue.
Order the USA Today Guide to Kid’s Health here!
Reposted from Minds on Music, by Jamie Sterling.