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Movement as Readiness for Music Lessons – a guest post by Amy Allen

by bosssanders on August 25, 2015 with 1 comment

Please welcome our guest poster, Amy Allen!  Amy Allen has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and a certified Harmony Road Music teacher and opened her own authorized Harmony Road Music Education Center in Western KY.  Amy has spent many years serving others through her gift of music.

Years ago, as a college graduate with a degree in music education, I began a private piano studio with about 20 students. Within the first year, I began to notice that not all beginning music students were alike. It’s not that I expected that they would be, for we are all individuals with our own separate personalities and learning styles. But the differences in students really didn’t have as much to do with the students’ personalities, intelligence, or their amount of practice time—and that’s where I was surprised. The differences in the capabilities of my students to learn music had more to do with their rhythmic readiness for piano lessons.

The students who could more easily and readily learn to play were the ones for whom music flowed. They performed with a seemingly innate understanding of rhythm and a sense of the steady beat in music. Where did this come from? Upon further investigation, I realized these students grew up in families that loved music and shared that love through movement. For some, it had been a parent that danced with them, and for others, it was a parent who put on a CD and played along with pots and pans. At any rate, this realization that the ability to rhythmically play begins many years before the start of formal lessons “put me on a mission” to explore teaching preschool music classes. If I wanted all my piano students to be successful, they would all need to be ready.

Rhythm is one of three main aspects of music, the others being pitch or melody, and awareness of steady beat. The actual act of producing a rhythm requires movement. Since children learn best by doing, they must be moving to music at an early age to lay the groundwork for understanding rhythm. Research from The Center for Music and Young Children has explored the idea of movement as a “vital developmental tool for children.”1 To paraphrase an article in their parent newsletter, it would be very unnatural for an infant to sit quietly and still, never moving his legs, turning his head, or reaching with his tiny fingers. These movements are part of the process by which a child learns to coordinate his mind and body. By moving, an infant is stimulating both his muscles and the connection of neural pathways in his brain. When music is added to this mix, and a child experiences the movement in response to the music rhythms, there is an exchange of information between the body, mind, and emotions. In other words, the act of moving provides the experiences a child needs for rhythm learning, and this movement becomes imprinted in his muscles and neural pathways. A greater capacity for understanding and loving music is being created.1

So what should parents of preschoolers be doing? Sing to your infant and gently move his arms or legs to the steady beat. Turn on your radio and dance with him. “On a very unconscious, brain-wiring level, he will associate this tactile stimulation with the music he’s hearing. Similarly, with a toddler who’s experimenting with an egg shaker or a drum, just patting the steady rhythm on her back can help her internalize the beat and organize it in her body. Then, as she grows, you may see her own movements become more steady and rhythmic in response to this tapping.”1 Take a music class with your child. When you become involved with your child in a class filled with movement and song, you become the best model he can have. In addition, a class will equip you with the materials, ideas, and tools for moving and singing on a daily basis at home, and that’s what readiness is all about. In later stages of rhythmic development, your child may begin to move less. He is beginning to “replace concrete doing with imagined activity and abstract thought.”1 Older children are able to “audiate, that is, to hear and understand music in their mind when it is not physically present.”1 At this stage, a child is ready to respond with accuracy to a steady beat of music, and to correctly perform a rhythm pattern. He is more than ready for piano lessons!!

My “mission” to explore preschool music classes for prospective piano students has been a growing process, resulting in the opening of the Harmony Road Music School. The aim to provide rhythmic readiness activities for preschoolers has broadened to include tonal readiness as well. It has also expanded to encompass teaching piano to groups of students, including age-appropriate movement and tonal readiness activities in the curriculum that fits naturally with a group teaching approach.

You would never expect a child to talk who has not heard language or experienced it through babbling. The babbling stage in learning the language of music should include experiences with movement, responding both to rhythm and to pitch. This is readiness, and readiness will ensure success.

1(All quotes are from articles or letters written by Susan Pujdak Hoffman and Kenneth Guilmartin in “Play Along,” a family newsletter from Music Together and The Center for Music and Young Children. Many thanks for their information and inspiration.)

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Thoughts on Ferguson

by bosssanders on November 26, 2014 with 4 comments

I’ve not said much at all regarding what’s going on in Ferguson.  I don’t want to hurt or dishonor my friends and family of all colors, my law-enforcement friends/family, or any hurting hearts.  And, the truth is… I don’t feel like I have a complete picture.

You see, I don’t know what was going through the heads of Michael Brown and Darren Wilson (the cop).  I don’t know their motives or thoughts as they acted and then, reacted.  Sitting here, in the safety of my home, I can’t even imagine the fear or surprise or even, anger.  I can imagine what I’d do if I was in perceived danger, but I also know that when it comes down to it, when adrenaline and fear cloud in, it could play out completely differently.

Because I’m a white woman, I know my words may carry no weight for many.  But, at the same time, I don’t want my silence to be mistaken for not caring.

But, what I do know is this:

Many lives were changed on August 9, 2014.  A young man died and a cop’s life (and the family of M. Brown) was forever changed.

I see so many people saying so many ugly things and doing even worst things.  And, my heart aches and my soul cries out.  We, as a nation, are so busy pointing fingers and using our tongues to slice each other up, that WE ARE MISSING IT.  Don’t you see?  We are so caught up, that we have forgotten what we are fighting FOR and now, we are just fighting.  We are hurting each other in the name of JUSTICE and PEACE as we violently commit injustice to one another.  We’ve gotten so caught up in the hurt and anger that we’ve forgotten that this battle is against something beyond ourselves, and instead of banding TOGETHER to fight, we have turned on one another.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  –Ephesians 6:12

I don’t know if Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown BECAUSE he was black.  And, honestly, neither do you.

What I DO KNOW is

-Racism does exist.  Sometimes it’s subtle.  Sometimes it’s in-your-face.
- Racism exists both ways…all ways.  Both are bad and heart-breaking.  One does not excuse the other.
- Not everyone is racist.  Not every injustice is BECAUSE of race.
- But, some are.  And, again…it goes both ways.  And, it’s wrong.
- People are hurting.  I see my black friends hurting because they live in a world where they could easily be “sized up” because of the color of their skin – in some areas, they will be unfairly searched and manhandled and assumptions will be made about them by some (but not all) people…and many times, they will have to go the “extra mile” just to prove themselves.  Some of my white friends are hurt because it feels like assumptions have been made based on the color of their skin – that they must have inherited racism like some sort of disease, and that no matter what they do, it’ll be perceived as a “race issue” and they will forever be blamed for a history they had no part in.

What I DO KNOW is that this is not a war against flesh and blood.  That is where we’ve focused our energy, but this is much, much bigger.  If we ever truly want peace and justice, we must all put down our pointing fingers and realize that it begins with US.  We can’t change history – and blaming others for something the people before them did is not only not helpful, but also unfair.  We can, however, change the NOW.  We can stand up; we can listen.  We can mourn TOGETHER for a life that was ended (regardless of what he did or didn’t do… he was a man).  We can sympathize with a cop, whose life has been changed and will forever have to live with the scars that come from something like this.  He will live with both the guilt that comes from taking a man’s life (warranted or not), and fear of the possible backlash that comes from something like this.  We can refuse to trade injustice for injustice and violence for violence.  We can realize that our actions and words will further people’s opinions of us as both individuals and as a group – for the good and for the bad.  We can begin to knock down and erase some of the things that have brain-washed and fed to us generation after generation, erasing fences and building bridges towards others.  We must learn to work together, to learn each others stories and hearts instead of making up our own hateful judgements without ever truly knowing.

I refuse to be ashamed of my white skin because it is white.  Yet, I did not choose it, no more than my beautiful brown son chose his.  And, I know there are days coming, when my son will be out and he may be treated differently than other young men.  And, I am saying that this craziness must stop.  From both sides.  We MUST learn to love hearts and not skin.  We MUST remember not only who we are, but WHOSE we are (God’s children!)!  And, that there IS a war, but we are in this together.  We are on the same side!  This is not a fight against flesh and blood, and if we remain distracted, we will not change this world.

Today, let us remember that both the Brown and Wilson family have lost much.  The Brown family has lost their son and the Wilson family has lost much, as well.  The fact that ANY of this had to happen – a young man lost, an officer put in the position he was – is a tragedy.  Taking a moment to focus on these families and grieve beside them does NOT mean you agree with what happened or how it happened.  You don’t have to.  When we love others, despite what they’ve done or not done, we are not saying we AGREE… we are simply saying… THIS MATTERS.  YOU LOST SOMETHING/SOMEONE, AND THIS WAS A TRAGEDY AND WE WILL MOURN WITH YOU.

I’m standing here, without a “side.”  I’m standing here, palms open, waiting for walls to come down.  I’m hopeful for the future – one where individuals will realize that the way to peace is through Jesus and His love for ALL.  Will you join me?

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target 10/14/13

by bosssanders on January 14, 2013 with no comments

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BabbaCo Review

by bosssanders on October 21, 2012 with no comments

I love doing FUN activities with my kiddos – but, sometimes it’s hard to come up with activities (that we have all of the supplies for) off the cuff.  So, I was super excited to review the BabbaCo Babba Box, and when our box arrived full of activities, Lorelei and Aurora were excited too!

What are BabbaCo boxes?

BabbaCo boxes are great activity boxes that seamlessly combine both LEARNING and FUN – but, without the headache of having to run to the store to buy the necessary supplies-you-thought-you-had!

Each box has 4 main components:

- Create: 2 to 3 projects for kids to do with their hands – ALL materials included!  (Ours even came with bowls, glue, and a stirring stick!)

- Explore: A theme-based product where your child will engage with the world & nature.

- Story-Tell: Carefully curated books to stimulate your kids’ imaginations.

- Connect: Interactive learning with prepaid downloads approved by BabbaCo experts.

(Lorelei with their paper-mache moon)

Why we liked the BabbaCo boxes:

  • The BabbaCo boxes are researched and planned – meaning they are age-appropriate for kids and include activities that will encourage learning AND are fun!!
  • Each box contained EVERYTHING we needed!  –Down to the glue, stirring stick, and a bowl!  Many “kits” will have most of the supplies included but assume you have others (which they may or may not warn you about on the packaging).  It can really be a downer to get everyone excited and set down to do a fun project just to realize… the glue is dry…or, the scissors are missing/broken.  I really appreciate that the boxes have everything we need and I don’t have to run all over town!
  • The projects aren’t over-elaborate but are on-target for their ages!  They are fun and easy but require just enough skill to help them stretch and grow!  Our box was Sun, Moon, Stars and we made a model moon with paper-mache and star prints!
  • We also liked that each box connected us to the outside world, too!  We had a lot of fun using the star guides and included binoculars looking at constellations!
  • Each box also comes with a book!  We love books at our house and are always on the lookout for imaginative and creative additions for our bookshelves.  We were not disappointed!  No dinky paper “book” here!
  • I also really appreciated BabbaCo’s “Connect” feature.  My kids really enjoy technology and having a prepaid new app that went along with the same learning theme was great!

In short – the BabbaCo box was easy to use, convenient, contained quality materials, and used many methods (create/explore/story/connect) to provide learning and fun for our ENTIRE FAMILY!

Buy Your Own:

You can get a membership for the BabbaCo Babba Box on BabbaCo’s website. (use code BBL20OFF to receive 20% off your first box
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by bosssanders on June 21, 2012 with 1 comment

Congratulations, Alicia Sneed!!  You are the winner!  I will be contacting you shortly!!

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Top 10 Reasons to Avoid Sugar and Refined Grains

by bosssanders on April 15, 2012 with no comments

1.  Sugar is the primary dietary cause of the obesity epidemic.
Fat doesn’t make you fat.  But sugar that turns into fat will.

2.  Sugar causes hormonal and metabolic imbalance.
Swinging insulin and cortisol levels in the body, which decrease then increase blood sugar, not only cause your system to crash but set up a cascade of abnormal hormone functions that lead to premature aging and illness.

3.  Sugar is your fast track to diabetes.
On the Standard North American Diet, it is only a matter of time before insulin receptors burn out, unable to handle the onslaught of sugar.

4.  Sugar increases the acidity of the body.
All disease thrives in acidic environments.

5.  Sugar causes inflammation.
Inflammatory enzymes are elevated on higher-sugar diets.  Inflammation is at the heart of 98 percent of disease.

6.  Sugar is the primary reason for high cholesterol.
Your body’s innate healing system, which uses cholesterol, goes into high gear when the body is traumatized at the cellular level by high sugar, insulin, and inflammation.  The solution to high cholesterol is not to lower it forcefully but to remove the interference in the body causing it to rise in the first place.

7.  Sugar leads to heart disease.
Elevated inflammation in the arteries increases the risk of high blood pressure, hemorrhage, stroke, and heart attacks.

8.  Sugar is an anti-nutrient.
Your body’s expenditure to manage sugar is greater than the energy it gains from it.  If you think you are better off eating a chocolate bar, or piece of white bread, than going hungry – think again.

9.  Sugar is a known toxin.
Like all toxins, your body is constantly trying to eliminate it from the bloodstream.  You can assist your body by not giving it more sugar to handle.

10. Sugar promotes cancer.
Feeding cancer cells their primary fuel is like pouring gas on a fire.

Join the conversation and learn more over HERE!

*From Dr. B.J. Hardick, Kimberly Roberto, and Dr. Ben Lerner’s book: The solution to the dangers of Modern Nutrition – MaximizedLiving


Little by Little

by bosssanders on April 14, 2012 with no comments

I plan to document our daily/weekly journey with eating better over at the Bosssanders’ facebook page:  HERE.  If you haven’t done so yet, will you go and “like” it?  I plan post “This” instead of “That” type posts for those of you like me who really don’t have the time to read EVERY single label but would still like to do better at eating well.  I’ll also be on the lookout for BUDGET FRIENDLY foods (i.e., no $6 macaroni!!)  And, I’d love some input on YOUR findings- whether it be questions, information, products, or recipes!

So, please go here and LIKE!  -Even if it’s just to show some love ;)

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by bosssanders on February 6, 2012 with no comments

If you’ve been stopping by my page, but haven’t “liked” us on Facebook, please go do it now! Often, I’ll post cool updates and freebies, that I don’t take the time to write entire posts about here!  You don’t want to miss some of these!  So, go now… LIKE me on Facebook (PLEASE?)

Another thing, we are currently accepting advertisers if you have a product or service you’d like to promote.  Our prices are very competitive and a great way to get the word out there about your business!  Check out THIS PAGE for more info and pricing!

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Weird Like That

by bosssanders on September 7, 2011 with no comments


A Funny For Today

by bosssanders on July 27, 2011 with no comments

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