September 26, 2018

Let’s Get Started : Our Guide for Parents and Caregivers

Welcome to My Music Starts Here and thank you for being here!  Young children experience the world through joyful play, and it is essential that music be a part of that play as it engages all parts of the brain like no other discipline can.

As parents and educators, we have designed every aspect of our website and curriculum to be a safe and fun learning space for your child to engage in the foundations of music, so that they may gain all the benefits of high-quality music education during the most critical years of brain development.

Here’s what you need to know…

  1. There is no wrong place to start! There is nothing designed only for older children or only for younger children, and there is no wrong way to use the website.  As we designed our curriculum, we had children ages 3 to 7 in mind, but we know many families who use it with a wide age range of children, reinforcing musical concepts possibly learned elsewhere by older children.
  2. Song Playlists – like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star or Old McDonald – explore learning through various methods: we sing it, we listen to it played on the piano, we learn to sing the melody using solfege (do, re, mi), we keep the steady beat to it, and we end by learning to play it on the piano.
  3. No piano or keyboard? No worries! You can still use all of our playlists. The first six videos in each of the song playlists use the song and singing as an anchor to teach young children foundational musical skills while building pathways in their brain for both cognitive and emotional development.
  4. More Playlists – like Explore and Compose; High and Low; and Steady Beat – explore some of the fundamentals of music. These playlists are designed specifically for children at any stage of musical development and foster good listening skills, creativity, and musicianship. Be warned that your child may raid your pots and pans cabinet to start creating their own musical composition!
  5. No instruments or other materials required! Other than using a piano or keyboard for the end videos of some of the playlists, we have intentionally created the rest of the curriculum so that a child does not need any other materials to achieve the full benefits from engaging with us.  In videos teaching about the steady beat in music, we ask children to get some wooden spoons or sticks to keep the steady beat with us.  But if those aren’t handy, they can easily just pat their lap to the beat.
  6. For readers and non-readers – We designed the site to be easily navigable by all children. You can use the website with your child or let him/her loose to explore the playlists alone.   We’ve also heard from many families that siblings often enjoy exploring, singing, and laughing together while using the site.

More details and some sample videos:

Below are some more details about the playlists and our research-backed teaching philosophy as well as some sample videos from the playlists.  We want you to know exactly what you are signing up for and what to expect when you sit down with your kiddo and sign in.

There are some songs that are simpler than others and are a great place for a young child (ages 3 and 4) to start.  These playlists are Hot Cross Buns and Star Light, Star Bright. It is important when singing for children to avoid over-stimulating electronic sounds to ensure that they hear the melody and pitch movement clearly so that they can sing it independently.  We always use a simple accompanying instrument or no instrument at all.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Old McDonald use a wider range of notes and are great for slightly older children (ages 4 and 5) who have more developed vocal cords and more tonal memory, so they can sing and play the song independently with confidence.

Below is a sample video from the Old McDonald playlist where Mike and I demonstrate keeping a steady beat while singing the song.  The ability to identify the steady beat in music, and also in language, is so incredibly important for a child’s development.  Having strong beat awareness provides foundation for higher capacity in language acquisition, reading and writing, bodily-kinesthetic skills, and mathematics…and of course, music-making!

Row, Row, Row Your Boat is a bit more challenging, both melodically and rhythmically. It is great for the older child looking to put his/her musical skills to use.  Below is a sample video from this playlist where we introduce all of the ways in which we will explore the song.

 

We hope this has helped answer some questions you may have about getting started with My Music Starts Here.  We are so thrilled to have you here and know you will be delighted by how much joyful learning happens as your child engages in music-making!

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