POST IRMA UPDATE on FALL SEMESTER:
Our Fall Semester now begins Saturday 9/16/17. It is not too late to register. Please click Our Schedule to find the full list of class times, days and locations.
See News & Highlights below for an article on Recognizing Stress in Children Post Irma and Tips for Recovery.
Music & Me is a merry and meaningful play-based music program for young children and their grownups – and it’s so much more. We are a group of teachers who are passionate about educating children (and parents!). Based on the latest research, we connect the dots between music/movement/play, and children’s cognitive/ social/motor learning. And we cherish the personal connections we form with our Music & Me families.
At the core of our programming is what we believe to be the very best early childhood music program available: Music Together®. The Music Together curriculum includes a mix of original songs and traditional tunes from the folk, jazz, and world music traditions in a variety of tonalities and meters. By presenting a range of musical styles from lyrical to blues, from folk to boogie, Music Together provides children with a rich music experience that stimulates and supports their growing music skills and understanding. In addition to a musical foundation, our classes also support major motor, cognitive, language, social and emotional development. It's a whole learning experience for the child using the medium of music and play as the catalysts for these other developmental pieces- including musical development!
Each weekly Music Together class offers a dozen songs and rhythmic rhymes, including fingerplays, small- and large-movement activities, and instrument play. Teachers present these fun musical experiences in ways that are informal, non-performance-oriented, and developmentally appropriate for children. Come join us, and be part of a community of families sharing songs, movement, and instrument play.
Quality programming needs quality teaching and we have it. Our teachers’ professional and personal backgrounds, combined with the rigorous Music Together training we undertake inform not only the music classes we offer in our studio, but also how we approach other programming we offer in preschools and in our community outreach. Visit our About Us page to learn more.
We are deeply committed to making a difference in our St. Pete community. We love bringing music and learning outside the classroom into our parks, learning centers and more. For example, you can find us at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve for Sing ‘n’ Stroll and at Saturday Morning Market for Music and Storytime. We also provide supportive classes at Alpha House, a home for teenage, homeless mothers and their children. And the list goes on. All these programs are supported by the tuition paid for classes offered at the studio.
Miss Jen loves to say, “Everyone deserves music.” We try to do our part to make sure they get it.
Contact us for more information!
9/15/17 Recognizing Stress in your Child and Tips for Processing Irma:
Signs your child is processing the storm:
Whether you hunkered down in Florida or ran for the hills like me, your child no-doubt felt the effects of Hurricane Irma. Parents do their best to conceal stress and fear from their children but in extreme circumstances like this, it’s unavoidable. No matter how much your baby, toddler or preschooler truly understood about what was going on, they certainly felt a change in you, their routine and environment.
Here are some signals your child may be processing the events of the last week:
1. He suddenly becomes much more clingy or dependent.
2. She regresses and begins an old behavior again.
3. He becomes combative and disruptive throwing tantrums, becoming defiant or disagreeable.
4. She exhibits signs of physical illness.
5. He exhibits fear at signs of a storm like dark skies, thunder and lightning.
Of course, it’s possible for any of these things to happen without a hurricane to prompt them but it’s likely many of our little ones, verbal or not, will find new ways to work through their experience of Irma. I encourage you to watch carefully and recognize the signs if they do occur.
Now the question becomes, what can I do to help my child work through recovery? You can’t erase the experience but you can provide much needed reassurance. Here are some ideas to help you both cope and recover:
1. Make music together. (You knew that one was coming!) Here’s why:
a. Active singing and dancing release dopamine, the “feel good hormone” in your blood stream.
b. Making music reduces stress by optimizing cortisol, the “stress hormone”, in your body. In times of stress, cortisol is lowered by making music.
c. Music is inherently joyful and palpably healing. It bonds people in a shared experience whether that simply be your nuclear family or the greater community.
d. Making music requires you focus on something positive other than what’s making you worried, sad or stressed.
2. Extra hugs, kisses and cuddles are wonderful healers. The simple act of holding your child has a calming and reassuring effect. Even when it might not feel intuitive, such as during a tantrum, this could be exactly what the doctor ordered to provide what she needs to hit the reset button.
3. Practice deep breaths together. Focusing on something like breathing redirects the focus, reduces stress and lowers blood pressure. Daniel Tiger has a wonderful song to accompany this practice. Click HERE to see it.
4. Get back to your normal. Children thrive on routine so allow them to experience the normalcy of their day to day. It provides comfort during the normal ups and downs of growing up but is even more necessary now.
5. Be gentle with yourself. Irma happened to you too and no doubt your child isn’t the only one feeling the after effects. I’ve talked with many friends and clients who are feeling both relieved and depressed, not knowing where to put those feelings. These coping techniques above are as healing for you as they are for your child.
Rest assured you are not alone. We are all in the process of digging out and finding out what life looks like post storm. We were all effected whether you stayed in town or not. I can personally attest that my 3-year-old daughter is showing her stress with clingy behavior that is not at all like her. While she dealt with the upheaval beautifully, I do recognize her subtle change in behavior. I too am feeling at sea and am working hard to find ways to manage my own process as we undo our hurricane prep at home and get ready to embrace normal life again. It feels odd to go forward as if this didn’t just happen.
I can also, however, attest to the magic of routine and music. While we were gone, I sought out another Music Together center in Charlotte, NC. We were allowed to attend classes both days we were in town. As soon as class began, Marlo exclaimed, “Mommy this is My music class!” She was overjoyed to participate in something so known to her and so joyful. The happiness and release were all over her face for those hours, mine too, and we are ever grateful for the community we have being part of the greater Music Together family.
I encourage you to share your experiences and your coping methods on our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MusicAndMeLLC/. We are a safe community of supportive families who have all experienced Irma with young children. Let’s come together and lift each other up as we begin to heal.
9/6/17 Fall Semester Now Begins 9/16/17
7/4/17 Happy 4th of July! No classes today. Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday.
6/26/17 We are Stronger Being Part of a We, by Miss Deb, Social Worker and Music & Me Teacher
What’s the key to happiness? Relationship. Our brains are wired for it. That’s the argument Siegel and Bryson make in The Whole-Brain Child. “The ‘me’ discovers meaning and happiness by joining and belonging to a ‘we.’” How perfectly this sums up the mission of Music & Me! Parents working with their teacher to provide a meaningful “we” experience for their children and for each other. As a teacher and a parent, I’ve seen families connect deeply with each other during a semester. I’ve gone from timidly lip syncing in family class four years ago to singing, shaking my ‘simmons down, clucking like a chicken, and howling like a sad puppy. These classes offer not only a space to practice making music but also build a community.
When you sign up for a family class, your tuition also goes to building a stronger local community. It helps pay for need-based scholarships and community engagement, like our Sing N' Stroll at Boyd Hill and Storytime at Saturday Morning Market. And it helps support other programming, like at Alpha House, a group home for teenage moms and moms-to-be. Most of these moms are in foster care themselves. I’ve seen moms grow there, practice their parenting skills, and learn about how their brains change when they’re making music together. I’ve seen new moms with tiny babies come into the group unsure about singing and dancing in front of their peers, how they change from week to week, and how their babies learn the rituals of the class. And I’ve seen them become a community, passing babies around, taking sticks away from running toddlers who aren’t their own, and pointing out musical behaviors in each other’s children.
Our brains are wired for relationship. Thank you for being a part of the “we.”
6/23/17 Name That Tune
Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Now think, "What other songs have this very same tune?" There are two more correct answers; Baa Baa Black Sheep and The A,B,C's.
A while back a study was done and it turns out new parents know roughly five children's songs and guess what? Three of them have the same tune! That doesn't offer a parent or a child much diversity, especially when those songs are so simple, using the same five notes over and over.
One of our great hopes is that by sending you home with new music each semester we're helping you expand the library of songs you sing with your children every day far beyond these three. Contrary to popular belief, music doesn't have to be simple for children to enjoy! In fact, it's better if it's not! And while we love the old stand by's too, you and your child will have a much richer musical life if you include music from other cultures, music with lots of harmonies and varying rhythmic structures. Just turn on your Music Together recording to hear how diverse music can be while still being playful and fun. Then turn on YOUR favorite music. I bet your little one will love swinging to the beat with you.
Thanks for playing!
5/30/17 Extra Class Time Added to Summer 1 Schedule
We have added a Thursday 9 AM class to our Summer Session 1 schedule as the rest of the weekday morning classes sold out so quickly. We hope this will allow many more of you to participate with us this summer. Visit our Schedule page to register.
5/5/17 Babies Workshop May 24th 6PM at Pregnancy Treasures, 10342 Roosevelt Blvd.
Join us for a crash course in playing and bonding with your baby in a developmentally appropriate way through the medium of music!
We will spend between 60 to 90 minutes singing, dancing and talking about what activities are most appropriate for baby right now and what those activities are supporting in your child's development. Babies are very welcome but if sleep intervenes, not to worry, we'll have some Teddy Bear stand ins to work with instead. Older siblings should stay home, however, but we would love to see them at a family class anytime!
Registration is required. Please email us to reserve your spot. MusicAndMeLLC@outlook.com. Free for currently registered families. $15 for new families.
Workshop will be taught by Colleen McGrath Lilley, owner and director of Music & Me, LLC providing research-based early childhood music classes in St. Petersburg for over 6 years. She holds a Master's Degree in music from The Boston Conservatory and a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University. Colleen holds a level 1 certification from Music Together and continues to pursue continuing education opportunities in early childhood as she believes learning should be a life long pursuit.
5/5/17 Summer Sessions are Open for Enrollment!
Join us for six or for twelve weeks of singing this summer! We will be staying cool and having fun at Growing Up all summer long. Families taking both sessions can email us at MusicAndMeLLC@outlook.com for a coupon code and receive a big discount. We hope you'll come join us for summer fun!
Summer 1 - June 6-July 18
Summer 2 - July 22 to August 31
Recently in class we talked about the fact that sometimes parents don't attach to some of the music on the CD in the same way the children do. Even still, I encourage you not to press that tantalizing Skip button but to play them through. Our children a engaged in ways we might not be and class this week was a very real example of that.
Of course we did the Fireworks rhyme this week in celebration of the 4th of July. Over the years, parents have mentioned that this wasn't necessarily a favorite of theirs. Fair enough, we can't expect everyone to like every song we use but just watch what is happening in class! The children beginning at a VERY young age, even before they are crawling, are able to fully participate in this chant. It has one syllable that most babies over several months old can say, "Bah". And the movements are simple enough and random enough to encourage motor expression. I saw students from the youngest to the oldest truly enjoying Fireworks this week and one parent even used it to prepare for the real deal. Good work, Mom! We are always glad to hear how class comes home.
We also talked about the Sad Puppy song. Children of an age to comprehend the story can be upset by this song and one or two others that appear in our collections. My own daughter actually cried several times the first few times she heard it. When I first heard Sad Puppy myself, my instinct was to shy away from it and gloss over the sad part but in truth, children need to learn that all emotions are safe to have and that parents will help love them through the full range, not just the happy and silly ones. We can inadvertently teach our children to bury emotions if we don't help them acknowledge and name them and learn how to move through them, not skip over them. This song does have a happy ending and using the picture in your book can help foreshadow that ending for children with concerns for the puppy, like Marlo has. But again, I encourage you to use this song to your child's benefit by talking about it with him, naming the emotions it brings up and staying open to helping him through rather than skipping it all together.
In support of this topic there are several fun books about emotions that we like. The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is my favorite and I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis is another good one that has a face you can manipulate to show emotion at the back of the book.
Everyone with children knows that a body in motion does not easily come to rest. It takes practice and lots of it for children to learn to self regulate both body and emotion. In classes we practice self regulation by changing the tempo, (speed), of the music in certain songs and even have moments of freezing in place. A child has an internal body temp that is all his own, so asking him to slow it down, speed it up or stop it all together is a challenge and offers him a chance to practice self regulation. Because it's done in a playful way, children often choose to play the same game again at home. Encourage them! Run, walk, swing, gallop and freeze. It will help your child learn this important skill and it's really fun for both of you!
6/7/16 Classes for Tueday 6/7 are canceled due to flash flood warnings. Please stay inside and safe and watch your email for more information.
05/06/16 Notes and Observations from Week 5 by Miss Colleen
So much of the classroom conversation has been directed by parents this week I just had to share. Thank you to Beau's mom for asking why teachers use the pitch pipe to blow a pitch before every song we sing. Great question, Jenna! I bet many of you have wondered the same thing. Here's the answer:
All the music composed and arranged in our curriculum is done so with the child's voice in mind. You may have noticed that some of the songs are a little uncomfortably high for your own voice, yes? That's because the music is set in keys that are optimal for a child's voice, not an adult's. In doing so we are ensuring that your child can accurately sing in tune as tonal development takes shape; a key element to achieving Basic Music Competence, meaning the ability to sing in tune and keep a steady beat. Further, there are some children who have such a high tonal aptitude that the same song sung in a different key becomes unrecognizable to them. For these reasons, we want to make sure we are staying consistent and singing in the same keys as are presented on the recorded music you take home.
In my own classes we also revisited your favorite rhyme (not!) Hippity, Happity, Hoppity. Why do we torture you with these songs in complex meters? Because they are good for you and very good for your children! First of all, it's important that we model the enjoyment of the effort and not just correctness. We teach our children to be learners when we encourage effort and patience rather than praising a correct outcome. If a child learns to like the process, then he or she is more likely to enjoy the process of learning and not just being right. These children are shown to have more patience with the learning process and are less frustrated when faced with a challenge.
We also are giving your children a gift we didn't grow up with and that is to have comfort with alternative meters and tonalities than are typically found in western culture. We most typically listen to music set in a major key and in a duple meter. This rhyme is the very wonky feeling 9/8 but guess what? You children don't know it's wonky! All week they've been stomping feet, clapping and tapping hands and bouncing torsos right along. They are enjoying this piece and because they enjoy it, they are taking on board a comfort with this alternate meter that you and I don't have. Lucky them! Likewise, every semester we present a variety of tonalities that ensure your child is developing a comfort and ability to sing any music, not just the music of our own culture.
04/29/16 Notes and Observations from Week 5 by Miss Colleen
I've heard so much wonderful singing this week it seemed like a good time to talk about the process of learning to sing in tune; something all of your children can learn to do no matter your own ability.
All people have the ability to learn to sing in tune and keep a beat but like so many things it is best achieved by supporting it during early childhood development. So congratulations, you're already doing that just by coming to class and actively engaging in a musical activity together!
A child's tonal development happens over time and may not immediately be apparent to a caregiver or parent. As early as infancy, children can vocalize around the tonal center of a song sung to them! The first pitches children attach to are typically the 1st and the 5th notes of the scale in any key and that's why we sing them so often in class, e.g. "Thank You". We are reinforcing this natural tendency over and over again.
Next you might hear your child vocalize up and down in the same direction a favorite song does although perhaps not correctly. Eventually, those tonal phrases become correct and finally are married with language. The beautiful thing about music is that it's not necessary to be verbal to be able to intone in tune!
This week has been a banner one this regard. On Wednesday, 2 year old Declan repeatedly sang the 1st and 5th both during and after songs. Olivia, only 20 months old, has taken a giant leap forward and is singing whole phrases correctly and with lyrics too! Wow. I'm hearing Ruby and Cody intoning the tonic back during Babies Class and lots and lots phrase shape vocalizations across the board. Ethan and many other children are singing the instruments away and just this morning, 2 year old Joelle sang a whole tonal pattern back to me absolutely correctly.
Keep checking back for the next set of observations and class notes. We love having our parents engaged and excited!
4/25/16 Summer Sessions are now OPEN for enrollment!
With classes starting June 7th, the summer session is not far off.
The new semester's music collection is called SUMMER SONGS 2, a compilation of favorites from 3 of our collections! We felt that last year's summer session was too short, so this year, we've added another week. There are two six week sessions.
If you take BOTH summer sessions (a total of 12 weeks of classes) the total cost will be the same as a 10 week term- which means that you get 2 weeks free! To take both sessions, email us to get the discount code for the second session.
5/30/2014 See the Article in Creative Loafing About Music and Me!