Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Please and Thank You playlist giveaway!



Teaching your children manners can be a fun activity when you add music and some sign language into the equation.

Help your little one master their manners with our Please & Thank You playlist HERE.







Monday, 7 November 2016

Ready, steady .. beat!



One of the first musical traits many easily pick up is a beat; that repeated, regular pulse that lies at the foundation of any composition.  But it isn't just a trait needed to learn music. It's a trait needed to develop the whole person.

It can begin with a gentle rocking whilst snuggling up to hear your heartbeat, the patting on the back, and the steady speech in your voice. Our young children experience the pattern of things to come from these comforting offerings we deliver as parents. They then take this to explore on their own with repeated gurglings, kicking legs and outstretched arms.

As a toddler, they gradually find their own steady beat to co-ordinate their walking, bouncing and clapping their hands. They are employing a whole collection of senses by using beat. It's absorbed through listening, repeated back in speaking, seen and felt through movement, and reflected in their thinking ... yes, thinking!  Those neurons are firing at regular intervals, making the thought pathways stronger each time, so that complex connections become easier and easier through habit.

The element of beat can be so basic, yet it's so important, especially in those early developmental years of a child. So, how can we help ensure that it isn't neglected? There are LOTS of ways families can all engage in fun activities together. Here are a few ideas to get you started, but do let me know if you can add to the list in your comments below!
  • Put on the music and move!  Who doesn't listen to music some time during their day?  Get up and dance together, or bounce baby on your lap so they can feel the beat. If your child is walking, make up a dance routine using some other movements such as marching, patting knees or clapping hands. Cuddle and sway to the beat of a slower song before nap time; this is a lovely way to establish a bedtime routine.
  • Pull out the picture books.  Reading nursery rhymes and other simple poems lets children hear and learn the pattern of beat in our language.
  • Set up a kitchen band! Let your child experiment with the sounds of different utensils on pots and containers you already have in the house.  It's also easy to make your own shakers by filling small bottles with rice, beans or pasta.  Have a regular session of playing along to the music together.
These ideas are fun and easy, helping you bond with your child whilst also helping them developmentally. Kindermusik classes can also provide you with opportunities to share these experiences with other families, whilst also providing you with access to music and activity ideas.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Dem Bones!



Kindermusik is offering some seasonal music: 'Dem Bones!'  Get those bodies moving around, bending those joints and enjoying some musical fun.

Head on over for your FREE download HERE!

If you'd like to keep moving with some regular Kindermusik classes, check out what's available in your area: FIND A CLASS (Australia).

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Toddler independence

There are always things I learn which I really wish I knew earlier. Going through my child's journey of 'toddlerhood' is no exception. As a parent, I knew when my children were on a learning curve because they were wanting to do things on their own, and making choices but then 'melting' because it's all too hard. I really wish I had more information back then, though, to facilitate this intellectual growth stage.



I think it's really interesting that the first step in learning independence, which occurs around the age of 18 months, is called the first 'adolescence'. As a parent, learning to become a facilitator and give the time your child needs to explore is really important. I found I needed a paradigm shift, becoming more 'hands on' to this learning process and enjoying watching how my children creatively found ways to investigate problem solving.  My involvement in the process really mattered, and often I'd need to set up activities and situations so my child could learn and explore whilst still feeling safe.

An early childhood educator, Camille Edwards, shares some interesting information on this independence stage in this short video. I'm sure you'll relate to some of the scenarios to which she refers!



Our Kindermusik Wiggle & Grow toddler classes are specially set up so that you can spend some quality time each week with your child. They experience being with other families, singing and dancing together, whilst still having the freedom to be with a parent or carer for cuddles and reassurance whenever they need it.  Each lesson also gives the child an opportunity to explore playing an instrument, and parents are encouraged to allow them to take the lead before suggesting something new.

The method by which your child learns and their own pace really does matter.  Learning independence takes time, and a huge dose of parental patience, but the rewards are so worth it!

For more information on Kindermusik classes in Sunbury, visit the website HERE.

Monday, 1 August 2016

Join us for our Pet Parade!




Our Wiggle and Grow class will be starting a brand new theme on AUGUST 18th, 2016. 


You can join us for some pet-themed fun, sharing our experience of the animals that bring love and laughter into our lives.  We'll gallop like horses, scamper like mice and fly like birds as we develop our motor skills, vocabulary, recall, imagination, and so much more! Get ready to meow, neigh, woof and squeak along as we all join in our PET PARADE!



For location and contact details, visit website.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

The learning process of 'scaffolding'

There is a reason children start out small. Changing diapers and clothes, strapping into car seats, bathing, feeding, sleeping (or not): It’s a steep learning curve for new parents! For many of us, it’s only after surviving that first year (and every year thereafter) that we recognize how much we learned along the way—and how much more we have to learn! Thankfully, as we built on what the previous day taught us, we gained both skills and confidence in our parenting abilities.


In Kindermusik, we call this learning process “scaffolding.” Each week in class, we support your child’s learning by building on your child’s current abilities and nourishing your unique role as your child’s first and best teacher. Scaffolding involves varying the level of the activity depending upon your child’s responses. So each week in class scaffolding occurs when you investigate together different ways to mend shoes with rhythm sticks or when you follow your child’s lead on how to move with the scarves on “Sing a Ling” while also offering suggestions based on the original idea. As with your parenting abilities, scaffolding helps your child gain both skills and confidence.


Everyday Connection: “Scaffolding Seuss.” During story time, use scaffolding techniques to support your child’s emerging literacy skills. Point out letters, label the pictures, ask your child questions about what is happening or encourage your child to make predictions about what will happen next or even after the book ends. Let your child’s responses guide the conversation.

If you'd like more tips on how to use scaffolding to encourage your child's skills and development, visit HERE.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Learn ukulele in 5 easy lessons!

I remember meeting the wonderful Mike Jackson over 15 years ago, with his bright personality and engaging knowledge of entertaining youngsters.  He loves sharing his passion for music with children and he hasn't stopped!

Mike Jackson is an Australian Children’s Entertainer, Recording Artist, Songwriter, Radio Show Host and Author.  He is perhaps best known for his hit version of Bananas In Pyjamas and appearances on ABC Television.   If you're in my age group, you may even remember watching him on tv!

He's been kind enough to visit Musicroom in London and share some of his wisdom about playing ukulele – a talent which he’s cultivated over a career spanning 40 + years in the ukulele game.



Check out these 5 videos here on how to learn to play ukulele from scratch.




You can also find his books here if you'd like to know more.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Try Kindermusik for 4 weeks



You are invited to come along and join a series of Kindermusik classes with your young child for 4 weeks at a special introductory price.

Every 4 weeks we have a new theme. This means that for 4 weeks you can become familiar with the routine, music and activities, use the digital @home materials with all the activities offered, and get to know some other wonderful musical families who live nearby.

Choose either Thursday mornings from 10:30-11:15am
or Friday mornings from 10:30-11:15am.
(** Friday classes definitely scheduled. Thursday is subject to more enrolments.)

Regular cost per class is $15/45min lesson.
Or sign up for the 4 weeks for $50.

All classes held at The Boilerhouse,
Jacksons Hill, Sunbury (Victoria 3429)

If you'd like more information, please check the website

or call Miss Catherine: 0431 822 132

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Find your way to us at The Boilerhouse, Sunbury!

Kindermusik classes started running at The Boilerhouse, Sunbury, in term 2, 2016.

If you aren't familiar with the location of Jacksons Hill, hopefully this will help you find your way to meet with us!

The Boilerhouse is easy to spot as you approach Jacksons Hill with its towering chimney.  It is also the location of the Boilerhouse Theatre Company and Sunbury Art Society.





The most direct route is down Barkly Street. As you travel further down the road, this becomes The Avenue. 





Take a left at the roundabout to Circular Drive.  This is now a one-way street. Follow it around and up the hill, until you come to a road turning left (this is Boiler House Road). You will have passed the gymnasium and community radio station, but not yet passed the school. Follow this road down toward the large building with the tall chimney. Parking is available around to the side and back.

Enter the building via the main sliding doors, and into the gallery. Kindermusik classes are held in the front room on your right.




To find your way out again, you must exit LEFT at the school and continue down the hill to arrive back at The Avenue. Turn right to head back to Sunbury's shopping centre and main roads. 

I hope that helps!  If you have any queries at all, 

please don't hesitate to contact me: 0431 822132
or check website for more information.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Travel around town, rhyming as you go!


Our next 4 week "Wiggle and Grow" unit is Rhyme Around Town! We're going to be exploring some funny rhyming words in the supermarket, visiting a cobbler, listening to traffic and taking a bus ride!  Lots and lots of fun for you to share with your toddler, and then use the ideas in your daily routines to continue engaging your child through the week.

Come along and join in the fun!  Ask me about how to sign up for a preview class.

Wiggle & Grow (ages 2-3) family class is held on Thursdays at 10:30am, at The Boilerhouse, Jacksons Hill, Sunbury.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Explore how the wind moves!


Teaching children to recognise things they can't see can be tricky.  Using visuals and exploring through play is how children learn new concepts.

These past weeks, we've explored how the wind moves by playing with bubbles and scarves.  Whilst we've done many other activities to learn about wind in class, here's an activity you can do with your child at home. Grab a scarf, or large handkerchief, and pretend it's a tree or leaves blowing in the wind.



We still have one more lesson of our "Up In The Sky" unit, held at The Boilerhouse in Sunbury on Thursday at 10:30am.  If you'd like to join us, feel free to contact Miss Catherine or check website for more information.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Dance me a story!



Our Thursday class for Wiggle & Grow has been exploring things 'Up In The Sky'.

Birds live up high in the trees. The come out and sing 'good morning' songs to us, then dance around in the sky and on the ground as they go about their daily activities.  When we put on some music, we listen for the musical cues of when to fly, hopping and stopping, pulling out worms from the ground, then fly back to the nest and go to sleep.

As a parent, you are the best teacher for your child. But children can also teach us how they want to express their movements to show their comprehension of sounds.  You can encourage your child's expressive movements as it helps them connect to the outer world of movement and sound with their inner world of feelings and observations. In class each week, when we dance around the room in time to the music, reach for a star in the night, or spread our robin wings and fly in search of food, your child taps intoa  growing imagination and experiences support for early artistic expressions.  

Here's an activity you can try at home:
Tap into your child's imagination during bath time.  After feeding all those baby birds during class, your robin needs to take a bath.  How would robins (gently!) splash in the water, washing the dirt from their feathers, or even fly around the room to dry off?

Watch this little video together of a robin taking a bath.  Maybe you can watch out for other birds in your neighbourhood enjoying a bath, too!




  

Enjoy exploring ways to move like birds and dance out a story with your young one!

Or, come along to a class and explore moving together!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Singing together


Is this just beautiful? 
We can synchronize our heartbeats by singing together!
So, when you and your child sing your favourite songs together, you're sharing more than just the words and music, you're bodies are tuning into each other's rhythms.

You can read more about how this works:
BBC article about choirs
Time Magazine, with informative YouTube video


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Music lessons for term 2


Term 2 classes are now enrolling!

Wednesday 4:30pm - Laugh & Learn (3-4yrs) FAMILY CLASS

Thursday 9:30am - Sing & Play (1-2yrs)

Thursday 10:30am - Wiggle & Grow (2-3yrs) FAMILY CLASS

* Family classes are open to all ages
Babies ages 0-6mths are FREE!

All classes now located at The Boilerhouse, Jacksons Hill

For more information, please see website

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Kindermusik at The Boilerhouse

New VENUE and CLASSES for term 2, 2016!

I am very happy to announce that I have acquired the use of a room at The Boilerhouse at Jacksons Hill, Sunbury.

This means I can now offer music classes on THURSDAY mornings for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, plus a class on WEDNESDAY afternoons for families.

Please check the website for more information:

alecatmusic.kindermusik.com
or call/sms Miss Catherine on 0431 822 132.





Enrolments for term 2 are now open!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Marching with the music!

One of my fondest early music memories is from the time we'd pull out my father's records and listen to his military marching music.  We'd march around the room, pretending to play the trumpet, trombone or drums, or even be the leader with the grand baton. Sometimes, Dad would get out his trumpet for us to try and play, or he'd play along with the music .. because he used to play in a military band! I think the fact that I could imagine him actually playing with all those other people in the band made it all the more exciting.

These were such fun times.  I enjoyed sharing some similar moments with my children when they were young, and I still want to share them with my students today.

A young student finished up her piano lesson with a fun bit of marching this afternoon.  We actually started out with practising drumming out a regular rhythm: minim, minim, crotchet, crotchet, minim.  Starting slowly and experimenting getting a little bit faster, but still keeping the same timing going.

My goal for the end of the lesson was to play this rhythm against the famous Radetzky March by Strauss I. We called Mum and her younger sister come and join us as we played along to the music.


This is a very popular piece, so sharing it with children at a young age will spark memories in their future. It's a piece which offers a lot of possible learning points for many ages.  Just clapping in time, or beating a wooden spoon on a saucepan lid, is enough to start with.  Learning a rhythm as I chose to do today is a step up from that, and takes some more co-ordination to do the faster staccato notes.  If you want to listen to the whole piece, then twirl around together or sway through the more melodious section before coming back and beating along with the marching beat.  You may also choose to listen for the dynamic changes, with exaggerated marching for the louder parts as opposed to normal walking around for the quieter moments.

Older students also benefit from learning a bit of history with this piece.  Who was Radetzky? He became a national hero fighting the French during the Napoleonic Wars.  In 1849 he led his last campaign in Italy at the age of 82. Do your children know anyone around that age? It would have been a huge undertaking, which is why such a wonderful piece was written in his honour by Johann Strauss I.  This music is still regularly played during Vienna's annual New Year's Day concert, with all the audience enthusiastically joining in and clapping their hands to the infectious beat.

So, get our your home-made percussion instruments, cardboard trumpet tubes, feather duster batons and enjoy a march around the living room with your family to this wonderful march!

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Musical corkboards!

Finding fun ways to create your own music isn't that hard to do. There are lots of crafty ideas around.

Here's a fabulous post put up by NANCYs Hive showing how her children explored making shapes on a corkboard with some pins and rubber bands.  This is a way of allowing your child to practice using some finer motor skills during some construction work, as well as exploring all the different sounds (ie: pitch) they can make.  Visually, this is very appealing to youngsters. I encourage everyone to have a go!



Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Music on the Brain

Even my husband is singing the praises of this episode on Catalyst tonight.  It confirmed what every Kindermusik parent knows: music was our first language and is still at the heart of all our emotional communication and experience. Our music playlist carries us through life's journey and is essential to have in our last years for joy and emotional enrichment, but it must be personal to convey the intimate meaning and create the desired emotional response.

This episode is now up to view online at iview:

http://iview.abc.net.au/programs/catalyst/SC1502H006S00

Monday, 7 March 2016

Preview a Kindermusik class!



Have you booked your free preview class yet?

I'm running classes on Fridays at 10:15am
in Sunbury, Vic.

If you're interested in joining us, please contact me.

Details on the website: alecatmusic.kindermusik.com


Monday, 29 February 2016

Learning fine motor skills through music


Do you remember when we actually called someone on a mobile phone? Ah, those primitive years! Then texting entered the scene. Many of us watched in amazement as those of a certain age moved their fingers at an alarming rate while we struggled to text even one word on the tiniest of keyboards. Our finger muscles and fine motor skills certainly got a workout as we learned this new skill.  

Children also need to learn how to use and coordinate their finger, hand, and wrist muscles—not for texting—but for reaching, grasping, and more. In Kindermusik class each week, we include many activities that support your child’s fine motor skills development. Wiggling fluffy chicks in a “Ten Egg” finger play or striking the resonator bars on “Sweetly Swings the Donkey” helps your child learn to coordinate hand, finger, and wrist movements that support fine motor control and precision. The skills practiced in class and at home build the foundation your child needs for buttoning buttons, zipping zippers, tying shoes, using scissors, and even writing. Texting will come later. Much later.



Let your fingers do the walking. Finger plays are great activities to do together anywhere. Waiting at the doctor, grocery shopping, restaurants, or even at bedtime. Teach your favourite to your child or pick one from class.  

Watch Casper Babypants showcase his fine motor skills 
with his take on "Itsy Bitsy Spider".
You can try these actions with your child at home!





Thursday, 25 February 2016

Let's go to the farm!



Come and explore colours, shapes and sounds at the farm in our next Wiggle & Grow family class!

We're going to go walking in the green grass, dance in circles around the haystack, listen to roosters crow and pigs oink. We'll share a fun rhyming story and play along to music with our instruments.

You're welcome to join us!  Head over to the website for more information. 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Parent involvement in early childhood education

As a licensed Kindermusik educator, there is nothing I love more than hearing about your favorite songs and how the magic of Kindermusik doesn’t stop when we sing that last good-bye or give a final hug.

Families tell me every day how they use our music and activities to connect throughout the week. We already know that parents embed Kindermusik into their daily routines and rituals from bath time to bedtime from doctor visits to grocery shopping—the same songs and activities from class can make every moment a learning one and create lasting memories. Anyone else sing the Kindermusik song every time you put your toys away or host an impromptu dance party to your favorite CD on a rainy day?

Parenting just got easier – in class and at home!

Through the newest research and technology, Kindermusik makes sure parents receive the educational tools they need to tap into the power of music to help make parenting easier and support their role as a child’s first and most important teacher. That’s why enrollment in every Kindermusik class includes music and age-appropriate activities for families to use together at home where a child learns best.

Now, with Kindermusik@Home you can easily access your favorite Kindermusik songs, activities, books and lyrics—as well as recipes, learning games for kids, crafts, and more in a green-friendly digital format any time from your smart phone, iPad, tablet, laptop, or computer.


See for yourself!

video

Kindermusik@Home educational activities for children include:
  • Music downloads: songs, rhymes, stories and sounds from class
  • Literature book in e-book format
  • Activity buttons lead to a variety of different activity types such as:
    • dance and movement activities
    • fingerplay demonstrations
    • together-in-the-kitchen activities
    • music time
    • focused listening games
    • video field trips
    • find-it/count-it style activities
    • ideas for pretend or imaginative play
    • and more!
  • The Why It’s Good for Your Child area provides parents with the educational insight behind the activities.
  • Download Center provides Printable Activity Pages and, Printable Lyrics Pages for all of the songs.
Tell me more!

I think you will find Kindermusik@Home easy for you. Good for your little one. Fun for all! Ask me how you can access the benefits of Kindermusik@Home today.

Contact Miss Catherine: 0431 822 132, 
or visit the website for more information.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Music time with mum

The older children have already headed off to school. This is your special time with the youngest now. Together, you will meet with other families to explore musical instruments, move to music, play games and share a story.
As you head to music class, you find the songs on the latest downloadable Kindermusik album to sing together in the car. 
You've spent some special time together and continue to create moments to bond throughout the week by sharing the story from class and dancing to your favourite tunes.
This is your special time, creating fond moments you will cherish forever. Kindermusik is about starting wonderful beginnings which last a lifetime.


If you would like to experience one of these classes for yourself, 
contact Miss Catherine on 0431 822 132 
or via the website:alecatmusic.kindermusik.com

Monday, 1 February 2016

Meeting the piano for the first time


First piano lessons need to be lots of fun!  Do you remember your first lesson?  Were you nervous about meeting a new teacher, but excited that you're going to start making your own music on a really BIG instrument?  

I met another new student today. I can still see her face when she came up to meet me at the front door with her mum and younger sister; very shy, but wide-eyed.

We all walked down the hallway and into my studio. Then I introduced them to my piano.  This is an experience I share from my first piano teacher.  I never forgot that 'ahh!' moment when I saw the thick strings and the hammer action. When you press the pedals down, the damper mechanism changes and therefore the sound too.  Wow! Now I get it!

So now we start. Let's have some fun with a guessing game first off. We reach up high when we hear the high notes, then down low for the lower notes.  We check the strings and see the high strings are much thinner than those thick base strings.

Now a respect has been established.  Sitting up on the raised piano stool, feet also raised on a foot-rest, she is now sitting face to face with this instrument.  It seems SOOooo much bigger up close, but oh!, how she really wants to play the keys!  But, first things first.  Is she sitting up straight? Check!  Are her arms at the right angle when getting ready to play? Check!  Okay, so now we can play some notes.




We read a little about Papa Haydn and learn that he used to work in a palace.  He was a composer, and today she is also going to be a composer.  We look for the groups of black notes and play them with one hand, then the other.  Then she learns a secret: you can play the black notes in any order and it will always sound like beautiful music.  So, right there and then, she starts to play her very first composition and it's beautiful!

She needs something to help her practice keeping her fingers in the right shape.  A fingercise cup is just the thing, and we decorate the side of one with a few stickers.  Now she can practice making the right sound with curved fingers, strengthing those finger muscles whilst having fun.



Enough sitting down. It's time to get up and move to some music! Let's see if we can keep to the beat, and we clap, march and nod. Now let's try playing one note on the piano to the beat. It doesn't matter if it's not in tune; we're just having fun!

Then, there it is: the smile that is the reward for the day. Everybody takes that reward home with them, with a promise that there will be more to come the following week.  

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

It's all about 'The Family'



Classes begin tomorrow, and we're starting the year off 
with a FAMILY theme.


For young children, 'family' means everyone who loves them! They are often surrounded by family members, friends and other loving caregivers who look after them and shape their lives. The Family All Around Me theme celebrates these bonds and offers lots of opportunities for fun, connection, movement and instrument play.


Saturday, 23 January 2016

Using Kindermusik @Home


Every family attending Kindermusik classes will have the opportunity to use the unique Kindermusik @Home materials. 

Every four weeks, there is a new theme.  

Each theme has it's own collection of songs you can download, a story, recommended activities and parental information related to your child's development.




Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Simple signing

When we engage more of our senses in the learning process, not only does it become more enjoyable but also much more reinforced.  We can engage with our children in their language development processes by including not just music, song and movement, but also some simple sign language to reinforce some common words.

Why use sign language with your child? Babies and toddlers understand symbolic communication early and can make these signs before they are physically able to verbalise the word clearly in speech.  And there are benefits!

  • Baby can be actively engaged in the learning environment through signing.
  • Using sign can reduce the frustration of not being able to communicate.
  • Self-esteem gains a boost as baby achieves learning a new sign.
  • Eye contact is promoted when using sign, which means your child has to focus. This is an important skill to develop in a world of over stimulation.
  • Signing together strengthens the bond between adult and child.
  • You, the parent, feel empowered as you're providing your child with another invaluable communication tool.

Research has shown that signing with your baby helps in the development of linguistic skills.  Joseph Garcia, author of Sign with Your Baby (book and DVD, Sign2Me Early Learning/Northlight Communications, Inc., 2002 and 2010), observes that children who used signs early in their language development showed an understanding of English syntax earlier than those who did not use signs.

In Kindermusik classes, the signs offered are an extension of the curriculum and are offered because they are fun to learn!

The lessons offered by Alecat Music will include the Australian AUSLAN signs. If you'd like a resource to help you and your child start learning some of the more common signs, then AUSLAN has a picture book available: My First Signs, available on their website.

Other resources which may be of interest:
AUSLAN Sign Bank - great for looking up individual signs and video demonstration
Australian Baby Hands

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

News about changes ...



We've had a few changes which have had to be made regarding class location and class times.

NEW LOCATION: 
Elderly Community Hall in Rainbow Court, Sunbury.

This hall is located in a quiet Elderly Retirement Village,
near the Lions Club meeting hall.
Parking is available along Timins Street, with a short walk down to the end of Rainbow Court.
I will post up some more pictures of the location soon.

If you'd like to get directions, please check GOOGLE MAPS.


This change has meant class times have also changed.

All classes start from Thursday January 28th.

For all classes available and new times, please visit the website.