This Song Helps Toddlers Manage Emotions

Do your toddlers ever get upset?

Of course they do.  They’re toddlers!

A few months ago, I was visiting my friend Mary.  We were singing together at her piano, like we did so often when we both were in the Michigan State University College of Music.  Her 3 year old son began to get upset, wanting us to play with him instead of sing.  Watching his tension rise, and seeing that he might be headed towards a meltdown, I jumped into music therapist mode and sang this song:

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Music for the Eclipse

in honor of the solar eclipse that passed over indiana on august 21, i’m sharing some of my favorite sun and moon songs!

Have you ever heard the song, “Mr. Sun?”  This song is a fun one to sing as you are getting your kids ready to play outside.  The next time you children are about to throw a fit about getting their shoes on, just start singing this song!  Sometimes a little music is all the distraction kids need to get through a difficult task.

I love “Here Comes the Sun.”  This song is nice and mellow, making it a good one to play during dinner or quiet play time.  Speaking of the Beatles, have you heard about the Netflix show “Beat Bugs?”  It’s a cute children’s show with animated bugs and Beatles music.  Check it out!

Another one of my favorites is “Moon Moon Moon,” by Laurie Berkner.  I like to add some simple hand motions, reaching up high or lifting my baby up high when the lyrics say to “look up, it’s the moon!”  This song is a good one to sing at bedtime.

Here’s a picture of my husband and daughter viewing the eclipse with a homemade pinhole projector.  Did you view this event with your kids?  Tell us about it in the comments!

With joy,

Lauren

A Special Grandfriend

I love Intergenerational Music Classes.

Prior to one class today, a grandfriend approached me.  In her hands she held a stack of children’s books. She explained that she used to teach preschool, and she was wondering if I’d like to use any of her books during story time today.  I told her that we would love to use her books, and asked if she would be willing to read the story herself.  She was initially hesitant, but then agreed and chose her favorite book.  She held it in her lap during the first half of the class, while we sang the hello song, played instruments, and did some dancing.

Finally, it was story time.  I spread out the story blanket by her chair and the children gathered near her.  She opened the book and read it beautifully.  She pointed out different things happening in the story and talked with the children about the pictures.  The kids loved it!

After the class ended, a parent went up to her and thanked her for reading the story.  She looked surprised and said, “I did?”  Because of her dementia, she had already forgotten that she led story time.

Moments like this make me love Intergenerational Music Classes.  This woman was given the chance to be back in her element and do what she had done for so many years: teach children.  She made some real connections with the children, and although she may not remember it, I believe it was a meaningful experience.

I feel so grateful for the opportunity to bring these different generations together using the shared experience of music.  If you are interested in trying out a class with your child, contact us!  We would love to have you.

With joy,

Lauren

What Happens in a Joyful Melodies Class?

Many parents wonder what happens in an early childhood music class.  Joyful Melodies offers a variety of music classes, many of which are designed for families with young children. The Mommy & Me classes are specifically for families and their young children, and the Intergenerational Music Classes take place in senior living communities.  The structure of the Intergenerational Music Classes is similar to the Mommy & Me classes, with just a few modifications designed to encourage the little ones and “grandfriends” to interact with one another.

All Joyful Melodies music classes for children 5 years and under are uniquely designed, but most Continue reading

5 Simple Ways to Make Music with Your Kids

All children are musical!  You can make music together as a family, even if you don’t have formal music training.  Making music with your children when they are young can help them learn and grow, develop a healthy bond with you, and foster a love of music that will last a lifetime.  Here are some simple ways to make music with your kids:

Repeat their noises

This technique works even with the youngest infants!  When your baby coos at you, coo right back and smile.  This helps your baby learn the basics of communication!  Older babies and Continue reading

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope you were able to enjoy some time with your loved ones on Mother’s Day!  My oldest and I got matching hair cuts on Saturday and spent some quality time with my mom.

On Sunday, we went to Eagle Creek Park, where we (accidentally) saw the end of the Big 10 rowing championship, played on a playground, and had a picnic in the back of my car.

We also got to watch the reptiles get fed at the Earth Discovery Center.  Who would have guessed that my 3 year old would be enthralled with the snake?

I hope your Mother’s Day weekend was filled with love and laughter!

With joy,

Lauren

Musician Spotlight: Mrs. Ashley’s Music Circle

You don’t want to miss this interview with Ashley Robertson of Mrs. Ashley’s Music Circle!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I have 3 education degrees from Ball State in Elementary Education, Special Education, and Deaf Education. I taught for 4.5 years prior to staying home with our children and loved managing the classroom. I have two daughters; ages 2.5 and 4.5. My mother is a music educator, so I grew up playing piano, viola, and learning all the insider tips on managing chaos.

What made you want to make music with children?

When my youngest was a couple months old, I researched music class options in our area and was shocked by the prices! I feel that early access to quality programming should be available to Continue reading

Musician Spotlight: ShooBeeLoo Music and Movement

Indianapolis is home to many great children’s musicians and music classes.  We interviewed Michelle Marti of ShooBeeLoo Music and Movement to learn more about what she offers.  Check it out!

Tell us a little bit about yourself!

I was born in Australia but I have travelled all over the world, living in Australia, Singapore, England, and the USA for extended periods. I have worked as many different things, from barista to window display artist, but all the while music has been my passion. It has been my passion for as long as I can remember. I have played in many bands over the years, have recorded albums, filmed videos, and toured all over Europe with a couple of bands. Now I live in Indianapolis with my husband and four children.

What made you want to make music with children?

I never imagined myself as a children’s musician, but when I had my own kids everything changed. Continue reading

Music Tip: Picky Eater

Do you have a picky eater in your house?

I know how frustrating it can be when your child refuses to even try certain foods!  In this video, I explain how to use a silly song to encourage your kid to eat.

The sillier you are, the more likely it is that your toddler will play along.  And I don’t want to hear you say, “Oh, I don’t have a good voice…” because you don’t need a beautiful or trained voice to be silly with your kids!  Just give it a try.  You can do it!

Do you ever sing songs at the dinner table?  Let me know in the comments!

With joy,

Lauren

Always Listening

I was recently reminded of the fact that my two year old is always listening.

Now, when I say “listening,” I don’t mean “following directions.”  I mean she hears what I say.  She is soaking everything in, even if she doesn’t act like she’s listening.

My daughter, Mary Mae, sometimes comes with me to my Monday Joyful Melodies groups.  We have the 10:15am Intergenerational Music Class, and then the 12:30pm Toddler Music Jam.  In the Intergenerational Music Class, we sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain.”  I introduced some simple motions to go along with the song, and we sang it a few times together.  During class, Mary Mae sat quietly and did some of the motions with me, but didn’t sing along.

Later that day, as we were cleaning up from the Toddler Music Jam, I heard Mary Mae singing something quietly.  She had her hand up to her forehead.  When I leaned in to hear what she was singing, I heard, “And all that he could see…and all that he could see was the other side of the mountain.” She knew all the lyrics and motions, even though she hadn’t sung along or done all the motions in class.

When I start new class sessions I often have the parents recite a pledge.  It goes like this:

I, (name), promise never to be embarrassed by the behavior of my child, and promise never to judge other parents based on the behavior of their child.

Children might appear not to be paying attention in music classes.  They might run around, sit still and refuse to participate, or do the opposite of the leader’s instructions.  But later that day, or weeks later, you might find them singing the songs you thought they were ignoring.  Kids are always listening!

Have your kids ever surprised you by repeating something they heard?  What was it?  Share in the comments!

With joy,

Lauren