Filed under: PreSchool Music Education

Is Little Wing Real Music Education or a Play Date?

Little Wing Percussion ParadeLittle Wing is so much fun for the little rockers that it’s easy for parents to lose sight of the fact that Little Wing is real music education and perhaps think of it as just a play date for their kids. Of course the kids think it’s a  play date – and that’s how we want them to feel. For parents, though, it’s important to know that every aspect of a Little Wing class has been developed by nationally acclaimed early education experts with a specific learning objective in mind.

Abby Connors captured the essence of a Little Wing class when she addressed the NJ Music Educators Association at their annual conference in 2010.

“Learning the elements of music in an experiential way gives children a deeper, more meaningful understanding of music… It also puts music into a wider context, relating it to the science of sound, their experience of their bodies and movements, intellectual concepts such as size and numbers, and their natural instinct to explore and investigate the world around them… Experimenting with rhythm instruments is a natural way for young children to explore musical concepts, as well as express themselves musically and dramatically. ”   Abby Connors addressing the NJ Music Educators Association Annual Conference, 2010 

It isn’t only the content of the class that has been meticulously developed but also the sequence of the class. The creators of Little Wing accounted for the abilities of each age range while developing the curriculum. There are certain activities that are designed to excite the little rockers and others that are designed to calm them. This is CRITICAL to delivering that “play date” feeling of a real music education class.  It prevents “melt-downs” of over-stimulated preschoolers and it helps keep students engaged in the class.

Sometimes parents ask the teacher to be “more flexible” or let certain activities go longer because “it’s obvious the kids are enjoying it.” We know that parents don’t realize that there is more going on in the class than is apparent as they watch. I know if I had not been informed by the program developers I wouldn’t understand that either. It’s actually quite fascinating to see the details that went into creating every minute of the class to make it both fun and educational!

So, is Little Wing real music education or a play date? Actually, it’s both.  And that’s part of what makes it such a unique and special opportunity for your little rock star.

Would you like to try a class at no cost? Call Chris Wood at 952.934.7625 or email CWood@SchoolofRock.com

Leave a Comment November 11, 2012

The Importance of Early Childhood Education Music

Did you know that the ear is the most important organ in early childhood development? So says author Eileen Coburn.

What better way to help your child develop their ears than an early childhood education music class?

In her book, “Why Early Childhood Music and Movement Classes?” Coburn explains that early childhood education music classes help your child “develop inner speech and self-control, learning to interpret signals and cues, parental bonding, memory and recall, self-expression and creativity.”

So the question isn’t whether or not you should enroll your child in an early childhood education music class, but how to determine which class is best for you and your child.

Use these five tips to help find your Early Childhood Education music program:

LIttle Wing'er at the MN State Fair 2012

Little Wing offered kids a chance to play real rock instruments at the Kidz Korner at the MN State Fair 2012

Are instruments used in the class?

There are tremendous developmental benefits to playing on real and authentic guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments.

Is movement included in the class?

Movement in music classes enhances large and small motor skills, therein actively engaging all eight centers of the brain. Children who are encouraged to use their voice, body, and hands through playing on an instrument, develops a mind/body connection in the central nervous system.

Does the class connect the music with the movement activities?

In an early childhood education music experience children naturally tune into the flow, beat and nuances of music and the musical activities will help the children learn to control their bodies. For children with learning challenges, keeping a steady beat helps them to focus and develop confidence, thereby performing better in school.

What genre of music is used?

If you personally don’t like the music, don’t choose that class for your child. Listening to music and singing along to songs together is a bonding opportunity that will last a lifetime.

Does the class include a combination of some time with you and some time without you?

Early childhood education music classes are a great way for your child to begin to learn independence, which leads to self confidence. Then bringing you into the class, in some role, teaches your child how to share what he learned with you.

The School of Rock’s Little Wing Early Childhood Education music program is more than just learning songs; it is child-centered and dedicated to creating a wonderful and rich environment for musical exploration through Rock and Roll!

Leave a Comment September 27, 2012

Teaching Young Children to Sing: Introduction to the Voice

Many music educators (us included) use the Kodaly Method when teaching young children to sing. This teaching style, named after Hungarian composer and philosopher Zoltan Kodaly, directs us to introduce skills based on a child’s abilities and continue to build as the child masters each skill set.

Zoltan believed, “Singing is the instinctive language of the child.”  And I couldn’t agree with him more!  I would also add that when we guide children in exploring their voices, the journey can be a lot of fun.

As caregivers and teachers we have this amazing opportunity  to enable exploration of singing while remaining wonderfully childlike, playful, imaginary and fun.  It’s important for children to explore their voices, make different sounds and learn how our voices are musical instruments. Here are some of our favorite activities you can do with your child to unlock the world of vocal exploration.

  • Children LOVE recording their voices and hearing themselves played back!  Remember how surprised you were the first time Teaching young children to singyou heard your recorded voice? How different your recorded voice sounds from what you hear in real time?A great and easy way to record your child’s voice is to use a mini-recorder or you can upload a program called Garage Band for FREE on your computer.  Have your child sing any song or even just talk into the microphone and play it back for him to hear. Then sing a song together and play it back.
  • Another great activity is “singing shapes.”  On a dry-erase board or a big notepad, draw any shape you want and have your child sing it.  When your shape is low, then you sing low, if it goes up higher, sing higher. This is an opportunity to explore the range of your voice and learn low and high while exploring different vocal sounds.
  •  Show your child how the vocal cords work, using a balloon to demonstrate it. Blow up a balloon and let the air out without pinching the balloon opening. The balloon makes no sound. Then, blow up the balloon again, and this time pinch the neck of the balloon so the balloon makes squealing noises as air is released. That’s how your vocal cords work! Cool, huh?

Teaching young children to sing is more than just singing. Using the Kodaly Method, we at Little Wing have many fun activities to introduce kids to the skills necessary to sing on pitch and in tune. And we have a lot of fun doing it.

If you’d like to explore an in-person young rocker program please call 952.934.7625 for more information on Little Wing, where your preschooler will learn the fundamentals of singing as part of  an early music education curricula.

Leave a Comment July 29, 2012

Benefits of Group Pre-School Music Lessons in Eden Prairie

Kids are naturally drawn to music, so when your child begins to respond to music it’s time for you to enroll him in music lessons. Music lessons can either be one-or-one or in a group. For preschoolers, though, group music lessons are recommended since they are too young for the focus necessary in one-on-one lessons. Preschool music lessons in Eden Prairie let your child develop his early passion for music and make new friends while doing so.

Students at preschool music lessons in Burnsville watch intently as teacher demonstrates instruments

Students at preschool music lessons in Eden Prairie watch intently as teacher demonstrates instruments

“Group music lessons serve several important purposes in setting the stage for a child’s music education.

Perhaps most importantly, these music classes focus on what small children can do (move to music, count, recognize pitch, sing) and not what they can’t do (make a perfect note on a violin, play with good hand position on a piano, blow a note into a trumpet). Group music lessons don’t focus on instrumental skills; instead, they include age-appropriate activities that most preschoolers can handle and will enjoy.

Games might include stretching hands up when notes go higher in a song, or crouching down when pitches get lower, marching and counting to music, tossing a ball in time with rhythm, and learning note names and how to count. Thus, lessons are not frustrating for the child; they are fun.

Secondly, the skills that can be taught to very young children—pitch recognition, musical form, counting, playing in time—are essential for beginning study on any instrument. Not only that, but these skills are very effectively taught to groups via games.

Many private teachers breathe a sigh of relief when a young child comes in the door who has already taken part in a group music program that teaches pitch and rhythm. A student who has not had this exposure is often overwhelmed by the sheer volume of all there is to learn and do when starting an instrument: find the note, play it correctly with the right finger, learn the difference between high notes and low notes, short notes and long notes, and so much more. Students with early exposure to fundamentals often find the first lessons on an instrument much easier, because they already understand some basic musical concepts.

Other Advantages of Group Music Instruction for Pre-School Children

  • Group lessons are fun because they involve play with other children. Small children take cues from each other, and learn by playing and engaging directly with material that interests them.

  • Group lessons instill an early appreciation that music is an enjoyable activity to be played in a group setting.

  • Group music classes focus on skills that small children are cognitively and physically able and ready to learn—not skills that will frustrate them..

  • Group music classes create a quality educational family interaction. (Most programs require parental attendance and participation.)

In short, group music lessons give preschoolers an opportunity to play with music, to have a stress-free and enjoyable introduction into the world of music making, and teach them skills that they will be able to apply to instrumental study—when they are ready for it.

Give your child quality preschool music lessons in Eden Prairie by enrolling him in School of Rock’s Little Wing program.  Little Wing accepts students 2-5 years old. Click here to learn more about Little Wing.

Leave a Comment July 21, 2012

10 Good Childrens Rock Songs

How to pick good childrens rock songsLet’s face it, most children’s song are, generally speaking, over-simplified and can be very annoying.  However, there are some childrens rock songs that provide learning benefits as well as a great source of fun!

What makes childrens rock songs “good?” Glad you asked.  I look for seven primary characteristics of a song:   

  1.  In general, children sing better in a moderate range and prefer the Major key.
  2. Simple scales work well because it’s catchy and easy to sing. 
  3. Children respond well to songs that are upbeat and play with  dynamics.  For example, a section of a song can be really quiet and then gets loud.
  4. Is the chorus easy to memorize?
  5. Can the child create movements to the lyrics and does it repeat throughout the song?
  6. Speaking of lyrics, is it a story the child can relate to or use to express her own creativity?
  7. The content is appropriate (no swearing or words you’d be embarrassed if your mother heard your pre-schooler singing.)

Here are 10 childrens rock songs we love at Little Wing. Notice the easy to sing choruses which provide a “hook” to the song.

  • Octopus’s Garden- The Beatles
  • Magic Bus- The Who
  • Proud Mary- Creedance Clearwater
  • Get Off Of My Cloud- Rolling Stones
  • Na Na Na Na- Steam
  • Walking in Your Footsteps- The Police
  • Three Little Birdies- Bob Marley
  • Drive My Car- The Beatles
  • I Love Rock and Roll- Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
  • I Want Candy- Bow Wow Wow

In Little Wing early music education class, the children have many opportunities to play instruments and sing to a bunch of cool and kid-friendly childrens rock songs, like the ones above!

Please join us for our Open House on Saturday, July 14th from 11am-2pm at the Burnsville location.  RSVP by calling Patrick at 651.492.6436

Leave a Comment July 2, 2012

Five Tips to Find the Best Early Childhood Education Music for Your Child

Did you know that the ear is the most important organ in early childhood development?  So says author Elaine Coburn.

What better way to help your child develop their ears than an early childhood education music class?

 Little Wing MN class brings smiles to kids' facesIn her book, “Why Early Childhood Music and Movement Classes?”  Coburn explains that early childhood music education classes help your child “develop inner speech and self-control, learning to interpret signals and cues, parental bonding, memory and recall, self-expression and creativity.”

So the question isn’t whether or not you should enroll your child in an early childhood education music class, but how to determine which class is best for you and your child.

Use these five tips to help find your Early Childhood Education Music:

 Are instruments used in the class?  
There are tremendous developmental benefits to playing on real and authentic guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments.

Is movement included in the class? 
Movement in music classes enhances large and small motor skills, therein actively engaging all eight centers of the brain.  Children who are encouraged to use their voice, body, and hands through playing on an instrument, develops a mind/body connection in the central nervous system.

Does the class connect the music with the movement activities?
In an early childhood education music experience children naturally tune into the flow, beat and nuances of music and the musical activities will help the children learn to control their bodies.  For children with learning challenges, keeping a steady beat helps them to focus and develop confidence, thereby performing better in school.

What genre of music is used?
If you personally don’t like the music, don’t choose that class for your child.  Listening to music and singing along to songs together is a bonding opportunity that will last a lifetime.

Does the class include a combination of some time with you and some time without you? 
Early childhood education music classes are a great way for your child to begin to learn independence, which leads to self confidence.  Then bringing you into the class, in some role, teaches your child how to share what he learned with you.

Little Wing early childhood education music experience is more than just learning songs or playing games; it is child-centered and dedicated to creating a wonderful and rich environment for musical creative play and exploration through Rock and Roll!

Learn more about the program here.

Leave a Comment June 29, 2012

Preschool Rhythm Teaches More Than You Might Imagine

Did you ever think that beating on pots and pans with wooden spoons isn’t just for fun – it actually teaches our preschoolers many things.  Practicing various rhythm exercises helps children learn to feel the beat, timing and maintain the tempo.   Through playing in a group setting and taking turns on their instruments, preschool rhythm training helps a child learn the importance of Listening and not just Hearing with their full attention.

 Learning to play an instrument has major advantages for a growing brain and should be a key part of school education.  Playing an instrument may help youngsters better process speech in noisy classrooms and more accurately interpret the nuances of language that are conveyed by subtle changes in the human voice,” suggests Prof Klaus told the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Diego, California.  Read more here.

 preschool rhythm education teaches body control

Through preschool rhythm instrument practice, the preschooler also develops hand-eye coordination, micro and macro body movement and total body control.

  “If you learn how to play an instrument, the parts of your brain that control motor skills (ex: using your hands, running, swimming, balancing, etc.), hearing, storing audio information, and memory actually grow and become more active.  Other results show that playing an instrument can help your IQ increase by seven points.”    Read the complete, original story here. 

In Little Wing preschool music education class, the children work on rock beats and rhythm patterns and explore real instruments.  The instruments include a variety of percussion, drum set, ¾ sized electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboards as well as a real sound system with microphones!

Come and check out a class, we’d love for you to join us at a Little Wing preschool music class. Call 651.492.6436 or email PKSpott@SchoolofRock.com

Leave a Comment June 21, 2012

Singing is Important in Preschool Music Class

Singing is important for preschoolers' developmentSinging is a natural and important aspect of Early Childhood development. It enables children to demonstrate their independence and autonomy. In a good preschool music class, the kids begin to memorize the lyrics which results in confidence and a keen realization that learning is fun. Also, knowing they can memorize a song gives preschoolers a sense of accomplishment.

Dr. Edwin E. Gordon is the leading researcher in early childhood music and explains the most effective ways to nurture a child’s aptitude.

Gordon divides music aptitude into tonal and rhythm aptitude and says the most effective means of nurturing a child’s tonal and rhythm aptitude is to provide them with a rich environment of singing and moving. What does this mean in terms appropriate early-childhood music and movement activities? I believe there are 4 simple activities that should be kept in mind, whether you’re choosing a music program for your own child or integrating music activities into your daily plans: singing simple songs, tonal and rhythm patterns, continuous and flowing movement activities, and steady beat activities.” Read more here.

An important element of Early Childhood music training in preschool music class is “audiation.” By thinking the song without hearing any physical sound, children can develop a high level thought process. The major benefit includes the ability for the child to retain the memory of the sounds and therefore give meaning to the words. Dr. Gordon explains:

“Audiation is the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. One may audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music.

In general, music learning should be fun for 4-6 year olds and imitating styles and singers plays a big part in brain development.

At this age the music learning process should still emphasize fun rather than a polished finished product. Formal music education is still above most young children at this stage in their development but music should be a major part of a preschooler’s life. Dr. John Gordon talks about how a child’s music aptitude, known as audiation, can actually decrease by the age of 9 unless the child is provided with quality music stimulation early in life.  Read the full article in Arts Education.

In Little Wing Preschool Music Class, we understand the importance of development through age-appropriate rockin’ singing, audiation and “draw your own shapes” vocal activity. During the vocal part of Little Wing class we work on “steady beat” and “rhythm of the words” exercises while singing along with good quality Rock and Roll choruses! This helps our preschoolers develop beat, meter and tempo and they develop tonal skills through matching the melody and music training.

Bring your preschooler to Little Wing and see for yourself how much fun we have. Call 651.492.6436 or email PKSpott@SchoolofRock.com

Leave a Comment June 21, 2012

The Importance of Repetition in Preschool Music Class

repetition in preschool music class welcomed by students Kids between the ages of 4-6 like repetition. At their age almost everything they learn is new to them. Imagine how overwhelming it would be to have everything you do all day every day be new. It would be exhausting. So repetition provides great comfort. It helps them develop confidence in themselves and their ability to learn. Once the children feel comfortable in their preschool music class, they begin to experience a sense of mastery and become more open to new experiences. 

As Dr. Thomas Moore explains it:

Repetition is also very important. Whether through dance or singing, repetition works very well with children. When singing, we should keep in mind that simple melodies are the easiest to repeat and remember. If I want to get the attention of a group of children, I sing a familiar song. This not only gets their attention, but calms them down as well.” 

 Music is a magical way for children to learn and create neural pathways and during formative years, a child’s brain is conditioned to receive large amounts of new stimulation.  Every time information is repeated, the pathways become thicker and eventually prune off the thinner pathways that have not been reinforced. Read the entire interview with Dr. Moore here.

 Sean Brotherson, Family Science Specialist, NDSU Extension Service, further explains why repetition is so important to preschoolers.

Children learn through repetition. Repetition of an experience tends to set neural connections. …a young child’s brain is “wired” to encourage repetition of sounds, patterns or experiences that provide security, and thus develop strong neural pathways in the brain that become the highways of learning. Such repetition is good for your children and a practical, easy approach to helping your child’s growth and learning.  Read the entire article here.

In Little Wing preschool music class we recognize the need for repetition. That’s why we sing the same welcome song when we begin each class. The song itself is repetitive and by repeating it at the beginning of each class it reinforces the positive experience of prior classes.

 It isn’t only the welcoming song that is repetitive. The Little Wing preschool music class is comprised of a series of activities. While the activity itself may change from class to class, the type of activities remain constant, again providing that important repetition for students who attend class regularly. They know what comes next and flow through the “spine” of the class structure with ease and confidence.  

 Through repetition we build a sense of security and confidence while teaching music and having fun.  If you haven’t already, we’d love for you to join us at a Little Wing preschool music class. Call 651.492.6436 or email PKSpott@SchoolofRock.com

 

Leave a Comment June 20, 2012

What to Look for When Comparing Music Lesson for Preschoolers

Click here to watch Ruby Petrusek shows her parents what she learned at Little Wing.

Ruby Petrusek shows her parents what she learned at Little Wing.

Do you know what to look for when comparing music lesson for preschoolers?  Or do you assume that all music programs do pretty much the same thing?  In 1991 The National Association of Music Educators came together to articulate a position on preschool music education.

Little Wing music lesson for preschoolers was developed by a team of early education experts and professional musicians. As a result, we are proud that Little Wing incorporates the elements recommended by the National Association of Music Educators.

Here is an excerpt of the Association’s position statement as well as a link to the full Statement:

Children learn best in pleasant physical and social environments. Music learning contexts will be most effective when they include

(1) play,
(2) games,
(3) conversations,
(4) pictorial imagination,
(5) stories,
(6) shared reflections on life events and family activities, and
(7) personal and group involvement in social tasks.

Dominant use of drill-type activities and exercises and worksheet tasks will not provide the kind of active, manipulative, and creative musical environment essential to the development of young minds.

Music education for young children involves a developmentally appropriate program of singing, moving, listening, creating, playing instruments, and responding to visual and verbal representations of sound. The content of such a program should represent music of various cultures in time and place. Time should be made available during the day for activities in which music is the primary focus of attention for its own value.

Children bring their own unique interest and abilities to the music learning environment. Each child will take away that bit of knowledge and skill that he or she is uniquely capable of understanding and developing. Children must be left, as much as possible, in control of their own learning. They should be provided with a rich environment that offers many possible routes for them to explore as they grow in awareness and curiosity about music.

Children should not be encumbered with the need to meet performance goals. Opportunities should be available for children to develop accurate singing, rhythmic responses to music, and performance skills on instruments. Each child’s attainment of a predetermined performance level, however, is neither essential nor appropriate.  Read the entire Position Statement here.

When you’re searching for music programs for your preschooler, consider the position of  the The National Association of Music Educators If you’d like to see how Little Wing incorporates the recommended elements in our music lesson for preschoolers, please call 651.492.6436 for a free trial lesson.

Leave a Comment June 17, 2012


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