Jessie's Blog

Trust the Process
By Meryl Vujs on August 12, 2012

This is Jessie's 5th week of classes with her son.  She has learned that even in as little as 5 weeks, even a 16 month old child can become comfortable enough in the process of a Music Together® class to be engaged in the majority of the 45 minute class. 

We teachers always see the biggest progress in week 6 of a session.  No matter how many sessions a child takes with us, it is in week 6 that they finally really know the songs, really know their peers in class and really get accustomed to the classroom and their teacher.  That is when we start to see some really amazing things from all the kids in a class.  Unfortunately, the summer session ends on week 6.  We encourage everyone to continue to make music with their children on a daily basis until the fall session begins in September this way they don't lose what they have already gained.

 

Week 5 – Let’s All Click Our Sticks Today!!

By Jessie Ansley

We are continuing to make great progress!! I am happy to report that my little man spent far LESS time checking out his own reflection in the mirror and far MORE time with the group enjoying the music.

This week we got to use sticks again. We used them last week in our make up class and the rules were no sticks unless sitting. It took two times of my son standing up and me snatching his sticks last week for him to get the concept. This week, he was spot on! He knew he had to sit. The entire class loved using the sticks. Some of the creative things we
did with them were: hammer in a nail, tick tock like a clock, crocodile bites and buzzing like a bee. However, if you are my child, you added in the addition of teething toy. Haha! Thank goodness for the slobber bucket!

We enjoyed free dance time this week during the Spanish track. I ended up dancing with my friend’s son and my son ended up dancing with her, but we all had fun!

We also got to try resonator bells for the first time. Basically, they look like individual xylophone bells.

I cannot believe that next week is the last week. I have to say that seeing my little guy on week 5 compared to week 1 is quite amazing. He went from barely staying with the group maybe 1-2 songs on week 1) to engaging and participating with the group (for ALL songs except 1-2). I have to admit that I was skeptical of the “keep modeling and they will eventually follow” philosophy, but it DOES WORK. I just needed to learn a little patience. 

 

Week 4
By Meryl Vujs on August 08, 2012

This week Jessie took a makeup class and found some differences and some similarities in the class experience.  We allow up to 3 makeup classes per 10 week session and 2 in the shorter 6 week summer sessions.  Read on for more of Jessie's experience.

 

New Friends

By Jessie Ansley

We were out of town during our regularly scheduled class this week, so we scheduled a makeup on a Tuesday at the Sandwich location. 

We were greeted by Miss Rachel as well as some friendly children and parents. The set up of this location was definitely better for my son than the Bourne location. There was a mirror, but because it didn’t start until about 3 feet up from the floor, he was unable to spend time admiring himself in the mirror.

What I loved about this make up class was that the structure was the same. Even though we were taking class on a different day, at a different time, at a different location, with a different teacher and lots of new faces, the class was still structured exactly the same. This made it very easy for my little guy to jump right in!

There were two new elements introduced to the kiddos this week. The first was kitchen “instruments.” Miss Rachel had a big bag filled with LOTS of kitchen supplies such as coffee cans, pots, pans, wooden spoons, whisks, etc. The little ones had a field day exploring these new “instruments” and making beautiful music with them. The other new element was the sticks. When I first saw them, I though to myself, “Oh Lord, there is going to be some injuries coming our way!” But Miss Rachel had it all under control. She informed the parents/caregivers that sticks could ONLY be used while the child was sitting near the parent/caregiver. 

Of course, during this time my little man decided he wanted to run around and explore the room. I followed Miss Rachel’s instruction and quickly took the sticks away if my son got up. It took only 2 times for my little one to realize what was going on. He sat and played with the sticks properly until the song was over. Patience and trust in the process = success!!

Next week we are back with our class. We will miss the new friends we made, but look forward to seeing Miss Alicia and our friends in Bourne. 

Week 3
By Meryl Vujs on August 04, 2012

This week, Jessie starts to see just how the process works in Music Together classes.  She notices how the classes build upon eachother to make everyone comfortable participating at their own pace and level.

 

Making Progress!

By Jessie Ansley


We are making progress in music!! Between last week and this week’s class, at least 3 times a day I hear my son sing “Ba ba ba ba” and then wait patiently for me to repeat it. What an awesome thing to witness!

Class this week seemed to go much better for my little guy. He was much more a part of the group and spent far less time admiring himself in the mirror and smooshing his face
against the glass door. 

Miss Alicia was able to keep the pace going a little quicker this week because the newbies (like myself) are now used to the routine of class. This upbeat pace seemed to keep everyone in the room more on task and engaged. 

I have to say my favorite part of the class is when Miss Alicia brings out instruments for the children to explore.  It’s so refreshing to see the little one’s faces light up at the mere sight of the instruments. It’s even more exciting watching them discover the different sounds they can make with the instruments. I was quite shocked to see many little ones, including my own, on rhythm! They were beating drums or shaking tambourines to the beat of the music.  There was also a lot more dancing this week, which I loved. During the lullaby time at the end, there were little ones even rolling on the ground to the beat of the song. 

I am definitely gaining confidence in the process and structure of music class. It’s amazing see the skills practiced and learned during class applied at home and in outside settings. 

Next Thursday, we will miss our scheduled class because we will be out of town. We are scheduled for a make up class on Tuesday and I am excited and curious to see what class is like at a different time and location and with a different teacher.  It will also be interesting to see how my son reacts not knowing anyone in the class (we currently have 3 friends in our music class).  I look forward to sharing that experience with you all!


Goodbye,so long, farewell my friends!!



 

Week 2
By Meryl Vujs on July 21, 2012

Audiation is defined as the experience of hearing music in our minds even when there is no external music present.  It is our Music intelligence at work.  In class we often teach the parents to test their child's audiation skills by singing a familiar song but leaving parts out.  Occasionally we will hear a child sing out the missing part.  This game is usually more successful at home where the child is more relaxed and confortable. Read on for Jessie's experience this week in her class.

 

Attention and Audiation

by Jessie Ansley

I read all of the materials provided to us the night we got them. It was filled with great information. I then proceeded to play the CD we received everyday since last Wednesday.  We listen to it in the car, we listen to it on walks, we listen to it at home and have dance parties in our living room. I already have my faves......number 4 and number 9. We have also spent two 30 minute blocks at library story times where my little guy sat in my lap or nicely on the floor and was focused and engaged so I was certain this was going to be
a fantastic week at music class.

My son, however, seemed to have other plans. He loves to take advantage of the large space and the mirror wall that our music class takes place in. He would be very focused during times when the musical instruments were used, but he was all over the place for the rest of the class!! He would walk around the room and then look at himself in the mirror from about 3 centimeters away (apparently my son thinks he is very handsome based on how often he checks himself out while we are at music class!)

I did exactly as Miss Alicia instructed......I constantly modeled the teacher (however, I carefully kept a VERY close on eye on my son). Although he did not rejoin the group as much as I would have liked, he did seem to participate, clap and dance on his own terms in other parts of the room. Miss Alicia assures me that for his age (almost 16 months), that he is doing great. As a mom, I want him to be happy,but I also want him to learn to follow instructions. I am trying my best to trust the process and hope that in the upcoming weeks, his attention becomes more focused and he is able to join the group for longer periods of time.

This week’s new term was “audiation.” Basically, this fancy word means being able to leave out lyrics of a song, but still hear them in your head. It’s a way of “thinking” the music. I must be excellent at audiation because no matter how many times Miss Alicia told us what to leave out, I would still sing it out loud!! Ha-ha! (Not on purpose, of course, but it was hard to leave out words when you are so used to singing them). What I love about this is that it is teaching our children higher level thinking skills, but in a fun way and at a very young age. It’s a key part of music literacy. 

I am excited about next week, but also hoping my son will follow my lead and participate with the group more often.

Meet Jessie
By Meryl Vujs on July 14, 2012

I'd like you to meet Jessie, a mom blogger who is taking Music Together with us for the first time this summer with her son.  Over the next 6 weeks, you will get to read her perspective on one of our typical Music Together classes in Bourne.  She will be posting the same information on her own blog about our classes for the next 6 weeks, but we'd love for you to check out and subscribe to her blog for the many other useful tidbits she will be imparting on all things parenting! Click: The Skillful Parent Blog 

 

Week One

By Jessie Ansley

 

My name is Jessie and I recently left my job as a special education teacher to become a stay at home mama. My first priority was to find some fun summer activities so I could spend some precious time with my son. I had been to library story times and those are very fun, but my little guy always seemed to like the singing part of it the best. So when I got the opportunity to take Meryl’s Music classes, I was thrilled. I had heard some wonderful things about Meryl’s Music, but did not know what a typical class was like or what to expect from the program as a whole. 

Today was day one and I must say that although my little one had a little trouble due to naptime being close to class time, we had a wonderful time. When we arrived, we were greeted by the incredibly sweet Miss Alicia. She introduced herself, gave us our nametags and immediately made us feel very welcome. The kiddos enjoyed the wide-open space and my son loved the wall of mirrors (he loves to make faces at himself!). The two small drums in the center of the room were perfectly positioned for little toddler hands and they were a hit (literally and figuratively)!

Miss Alicia was nothing short of amazing.....Brief with instructions, very engaging for the kiddos and gave wonderful insight for newbies like myself. She let us know that the best thing we could do as parents and caregivers was to constantly be modeling the behavior we expected from the little ones. As a former teacher, this sparked my interest quickly! She knew what she was doing! She let the adults know that children might run away or be distracted, but by simply continuing to model the teacher, they would come back most of the time. She was right! I did have to go grab my curious little man once, but for his first time at music class, I don’t think that’s too bad!

The class consisted of a variety of music activities that involved singing, movement and instruments.One thing in particular that I LOVED was that during two occasions, the children were given different musical instruments to explore and play. Instead of individually handing them out, which can make children jealous or impatient, Miss Alicia simply dumped the instruments in the center of the circle and let the children choose what they wanted. Because there were way more instruments than people in the room, there was no fighting, no bickering and most importantly, no tears! In fact, there were smiles and discoveries being made right before my eyes and it was incredible to see! All of these tiny hands grabbing and trying out different instruments, moving them around to see what fascinating noise they could create and kindly exchanging instruments with neighbors so they could hear what other instruments sounded like. 

When it was time to put the instruments away, I was ready for a cry-fest. But, no.....oh no. Miss Alicia was in charge and she knows better. She turned putting the instruments away into a game, which involved singing, “Bum, bum, bye-bye!” as each child returned their instrument into the basket. She made it very clear that the children were to return their instruments and for parents/caregivers not to grab them from the children. This worked seamlessly and within 30 seconds, all of the instruments were away and we were beginning our next song. 

The 45-minute class went by quickly and ended with a lovely good-bye song. We received materials and brief instructions to prepare ourselves for next week. 

After bath time tonight, I put on the music CD that I received in our materials. I got out a large pot and two wooden spoons and we made music for 20 minutes. It was wonderful! He was drumming away and “singing” along as best as a 15-month old little boy can. It was clear to me in that moment that the decision to do these music classes was a fantastic one. We can’t wait until next week!