Back to Basics…

(Today’s Author is Carol from MWM Paignton)

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about classes and wanting to really focus in on how our particular programme is delivered to you all to make sure we are giving you and your child the best experience you can have. I know on facebook we sometimes share articles about how good musical activities are for not just musical awareness itself, but for communication and language development, for encouraging good listening and attention, for mathematical development, for memory and recall, for our general well-being and mood, not to mention how our percussion and movement sections are good for fine and gross motor skill development and spatial awareness. All that is so true, and I sometimes worry that we are not getting the message across sufficiently to you actually during the sessions as sometimes it can be quite challenging to speak above the general hubbub of the class, and especially when we get the drums out!

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Drumming and finding the beat

So I will be making more of an effort to specifically let you know why we are doing something a certain way, getting ‘Back to Basics’ and more clearly explain each term which simple musical theme we are teaching (eg. pulse, pitch, dynamics, tempo etc) and  why I’m asking you to help your child find the beat, and when I say help, I mean practically help them – move their feet, hold their hands, help them clap in time, sing with them to encourage them to find their own voices, play peekaboo with scarves with your baby, get up every week to dance and swing with your baby, jump up and down with your toddler or pretend to cycle a bike whilst laying on your back with your legs in the air, you get the picture! I do not expect your little ones to innately know what we mean, and the clue to how to get them to learn is in the title of our programme – Music with Mummy (but of course, delete mummy and replace with whichever other very important parent/grandparent/carer who is coming to class, it would just be a really long title to have everyone in the name!)

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Jolly Babies Dancing!

At our core, we are a fun musical activity, (and as well as the music we also explore a separate topic in the older sessions such as colours, weather or transport each term) but we are one that has been carefully developed and structured towards guiding your little people to reach small milestones in their development and offer new early learning experiences in a safe and supported environment. The programme itself was devised by a nursery teacher and her professional jazz musician husband and together they wrote the music and teaching themes that have been part of so many little people’s lives over the last 25 years or more. The names of how early years education is measured, assessed and delivered has changed over the years, but the core ideas stay the same. And I’m pleased to say that how good quality musical experiences can aid development in children is becoming more and more understood and respected in education. So without taking the joy out of simply enjoying music for its own sake, it is good for you as parents to know that something so fun to do, has greater positive impact on your little ones than you perhaps first thought.

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Learning about trains and counting and colours all at once!

So, whilst we, of course, are a recreational music class for you and your little ones, (ie. there is no observation, no assessment, no requirements to do anything other than have a good time), we do also encourage you to carry on the learning at home and throughout your week so that skills and ideas learnt become a part of your child’s ever-increasing wealth of knowledge about themselves and the world around them. And we do all that wrapped up in a song or two, cool huh!

Have a read at this article if you haven’t already seen it, about how music has turned around a school in Yorkshire https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/stories-45483930

And whilst I have called this blog Back to Basics, I am also going to be getting Back to Basics myself this Autumn as I’ve decided to learn how to play the Ukulele! Never too old to learn something new I’ve decided. As most of you know, I can play the Piano, I used to play the Flute and various brass instruments, and I can strum along to simple songs with my cheap and cheerful guitar. But I thought, I’m 50 soon, let’s learn something new that I can hopefully bring into class sometimes. It had to be something quite small as my car is always full as it is, so a Ukulele it shall be! I’m struggling at the moment to choose which one, but when I’ve got one in my hand and I can play a few tunes I’ll bring it into class to sing along with y’all, that’s what I’ll do!

Ukulele Sizes
Which one to go for??

Anyhow, that’s me for this week’s blog. I’m looking forward to seeing all you lovely people and your babies and toddlers this week to make some more marvellous musical memories together. Thanks for reading!

Carol x x x

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