What fun it was teaching your children music this week! Their enthusiasm and excitement are such a joy, and both Tempo (my puppet co-teacher!), and I realized how much we missed being with them over the summer.
During our music time together, your children will be singing, listening and moving. Most of the songs will be taken from Dr. John Feierabend’s First Steps in Music. Dr. Feierabend believes children should be taught to be “tuneful”, “beat-full” and “artful”, and I agree! To be tuneful (on pitch) requires practice for young children, as they learn to listen to themselves and stretch their voices to produce both high and low sounds. To be “beat-full” requires keeping a steady beat in various tempos, distinguishing the beat from the rhythm of a song. Being “artful” requires interpreting music with feeling to produce “goosebump moments” that transcend description.
The First Steps in Music songs are short and very age appropriate. Their wonderful accessibility gives young singers confidence to sing boldly, preparing them for more complex songs. Individual singing is critical in learning to match pitch, and I encourage you to have your child “perform” a song for you whenever you have a moment. They should use their sweet, gentle, naturally high voices at this age; loud singing or singing in a lower voice can actually derail a child’s ability to sing on key.
Comparing and producing high/ low (tuneful), fast/ slow (beat-full) and loud/soft (artful) sounds, as well as critically listening and moving to music will fill our music time. A “sung” book will usually end the class where children may recognize the music staff, treble clef and even music notes. But first and foremost will always be singing—a lifelong source of enjoyment and community-building.
I encourage you to make music a priority in your child’s life. Whether you have an operatic voice or can barely carry a tune, singing with your child will have rewarding and lasting consequences for both of you. Make riding in the car a bonding time by sharing songs, listening to fine music (tune to XM 76 or FM 88.3, for great classical music). Ask your child how that music makes him/her feel. Expose him/her to the best in the musical world by enjoying family-oriented SA Symphony or Youth Orchestra concerts or attending quality band/instrumental/vocal recitals at churches/schools. (Note: you don’t have to stay for the entire performance!) Make music a fun, family, bonding activity.
Finally, I encourage you to escape the “noise pollution” that surrounds us. Enjoy moments of silence (or just the sounds of nature) with your child. You may be surprised how powerful and rewarding that can be—it certainly is vital to listening and learning and can often be a springboard for conversation and heartfelt sharing—or singing.
Thank you for allowing me to share my love of music with your child.
Mrs. Ruth Berg (and Tempo)
Quote from Dr. Feierabend in his forward to First Steps in Music.
“The First Steps in Music series attempts to preserve the rich repertoire of traditional and folk literature and to enable today’s families to recall and learn songs and rhymes that have nurtured wonder and joy in young people for generations. The authentic affection, innocence, and wonder of these songs and rhymes have the potential to plant the seeds for lifelong sensitivity and imagination.”
We recently came across this article on the benefit of masks. There are wonderful references to recent scientific studies on children's adaptation to and development with masks.
The office will be enjoying summer hours. Office staff will be available from 9-1 during summer camp (June 7-June 18 and July 12-July 23). Office staff will also be available by appointment. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call Wendy at 210-854-1967 to schedule.
Happy Summer! What a year this has been. You all have weathered quite the storm with us. You have shown grace and flexibility as we hosted zoom planning sessions last summer, sent home memo after memo with protocols and guidelines, kept your little ones home when they had colds, fevers, sniffles or just seemed “off.” You have sent children in masks and loaded and unloaded your children on a daily basis. Throughout all of this you have greeted our staff with smiles, support, drawings, cards, flowers, and thank you emails and cards. Your children have filled our days with smiles, giggles, silly songs and dances and the general joy of childhood. We cannot express enough how grateful we are for each and every one of you. Thank you for trusting in us. More than any other year we have been reminded what a magical and special place this is and how amazing our families are.
Thank you and have a wonderful summer!