Wednesdays With Wendy

Wednesdays are busier than I thought and Grandparents!
By Wendy DeAngelis on September 17, 2020

Hello Everybody!  So here I am on Thursday, writing my Wednesdays with Wendy Blog and what does that say about me? Wednesdays are busier than I thought and yet I am determined to keep this to Wednesday.  Why? Well, my grandparents, rest their souls, only spoke yiddish. I have some vivid memories of their home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn-not VA. I was 7 yrs old when they both passed away.  My grandmother would call me Vendsday, as her "W's" sounded like "V's", and she had learned the day of the week Wednesday...well sort of.  So my Bubbie lovingly called me Vendsday.  This is why I am determined to keep this Blog-Wednesday with Wendy, as I smile to myself thinking Vendsday mit Vendsday.  Hey, if I called it what I was thinking I could write it anyday.

So, what does this have to do with Music Together with Music and Me?  We create memories while making music.  A rich tapestry of music.  My memories of my grandparents involve the sound of my grandfather, my Zayde praying, or davening which is very rhythmic and the smell of my grandmother's cooking.  Today, in one of our Zoom classes it was beautiful to see a grandmother dancing in the kitchen with her 4 yr old grandson.  So today, I honor the grandparents and the grandchildren who are blessed to have them near and be able to sing, dance and play with them, in the blanket of sheer love and joy! Thank You.~Wendy

"Together, Wherever We Go" by Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim
By Wendy DeAngelis on September 09, 2020

I don't remember how old I was when I was first introduced to the brilliant musical, "GYPSY", by the great Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim. It must have been the movie version, because Natalie Wood and Rosalind Russell are still the first faces I see in my mind's eye as Louise and Mama Rose.  My next fond memories surround a Summer Stock production where I got to play the role of Louise, and years later when my daughter, a 2020 Theater Performance Graduate of Wagner College, played the role of Tessie Tura at her beloved Summer Camp, USDAN. Next favorite memory seeing Patti Lapone and Laura Benanti on Broadway in the most recent revival. I highly recomend exploring as many versions of "Gypsy" as possible!

So why am I thinking about this song "Together, Wherever We Go", from one of the greatest musicals of all time, that is based on the real life story of a stripper?...And what does that have to do with Music Together®, an internationally beloved early childhood music and movement program?

Well... I was talking to a Music Together Mom earlier today about different ways to participate in class with an infant and a nursery/preschooler.  I was blessed with one child, so I never experienced first hand as a parent the joys and demands of multiple children.  As a center diretor and teacher, I have witnessed thousands of parents and caregivers do their best to address the needs and desires of their multiple children as they sang while smiling, laughing, dancing, playing, and laughing and crying at the same time. Children, for the most part unintentionally, manage to grab onto parts of your body, inhibit movement, while climbing on us without the understanding that us grownups have bones and limits in range of motion. YOU are theirs and only theirs. In my humble opinion, being that for a child is to be cherished time.

If you as a parent/caregiver have ever tried to go to the restroom, shower, or even stand up, you may now be starting to see the song: "Together, Wherever We Go" in a whole new light.  I hope you are smiling with recognition!

So what is one to do during class, possibly pulled in many different directions? Well first keep singing whenever possible as that will help your child know that this is indeed family music making time.  If you have an infant hold them close so that they feel the rhythm through your body, or place them in your lap as you sit across from your older child, focusing on interacting with them.  You and your older child can make music WITH the baby, or make MUSIC for the baby.  The focus is on the activity of family music making.  Since you are currently in your own space at home, it is not only OK, but encouraged to use everything possible to make music.  Yes, your voice and bodies are your first instrument, and then reach out for the instruments/home items your teacher suggests, and any of your child's favorite toys.  Childrens "work" is play, many grownups listen to music while they "work", if your child loves to draw, or build, or dance, or daydream and imagine during class, let them, they are always processing and doing the "work" of play.  Your job is to keep singing and have fun! Thank you. ~ Wendy

What Day Is It? - A Game enjoyed by Nini and Wendy
By Wendy DeAngelis on September 06, 2020

What Day Is It?  I am writing Wednesday's with Wendy today which is Sunday.  Finding my rhythm as a new blogger while acknowledging a newfound way to inteject humor every time Nini and I joke on Zoom, reflects the subject of this weeks post.  Despite class schedules, we laugh reminding each other of what day of the week it is. I treasure the laughter we share. I treasure the ability we have had to truly keep our community of music makers thriving through the Music Together song collections of Maracas, Kazoo, and now Bongos. Thank you for trusting us that your time with us will be valuable, will still be Music Together, and for your awesome family participation that is guided through the window of your screens.

Pre-Covid 19, and further back for me, pre-Feb. 26, 2016 the date of a car accident that changed my daily life, I was juggling many hats as they say.  I knew what day of the week it was based on what was on my calendar. Days had routines, rituals, tasks, driving routes, lunch dates, gatherings, and significant life events to gather, memorialize, mourn, and yes celebrate.

So without all those touch stones, anchors, that used to be my life and all of our lives, how the heck are we supposed to know the answer to WHAT DAY IS IT?  

The good news is that for those with musical bouncing babies, dancing toddlers, creative preschoolers, and drumming Rhythm Kids, we do what we do for them to thrive.  Guess what? The answer to: What Day Is It?, is irrelevant because we do it every day, 24 hrs a day.  Every parent knows this.  It isn't about the day, but about what we do with our precious time. Time is also for rest, and recharging when possible.  I hope that experiencing music with your child/ren serves as a recharging of your heart and soul.  To focus on your amazing children in play and allowing yourself to play in that moment.

Time does not feel the same for me, it hasn't since 2016, and yet I know that time remains my greatest gift from G-d. I open my eyes each day in deep gratitude. Yes, I get sidetracked by world events. All I will say is please exercise your right to vote!

I have refrained from any political discussion in my business since opening in 2003.  What can be more pure than every single family coming together through music to support their child/rens growth?  Music heals the world and brings the world together. Music Learning Supports All Learning®!

What we do everyday, regardless of "What Day Is It?", is sing together in support of every child. Thank you for sharing your children with us, thank you for showing up, thank you to those that were able to meet with Nini and I on Thurs. to pick up your materials. My husband enjoyed meeting you all as Nini and I delighted in getting to talk with you outside, (albeit socially distanced and masked), and say hello to your children, even if they were in the midst of a peaceful nap. Thank you. ~Wendy

Music Relaxes Grown-ups and Children
By Wendy DeAngelis on August 26, 2020

Good Wednesday to You All! I am blessed with one child who is now a young adult, so my experience is that of raising one child at one time. I love and adore our daughter, and relished at every stage of raising a strong willed, curious, human who loved to learn and had questions and often answers about EVERYTHING!  

I remember other parents explaining that two children increased efforts ten fold, not double.  It has also been said that one child takes up 100% of your time,  two children take up 100% of your time, three children take 100% of your time, and you see the pattern. Pre-motherhood I could time getting out the door down to the minute.  As a mother of an infant, getting out the door first took three hours.

As a new Mommy, I remember wanting to make sure I was doing everything right! I didn't want to make a mistake, ane yet as a Mommy I always explained to our daugter that mistakes were ok. Mistakes are how we learn.  

Imagine, as a parent instead of LOOKING for what we may be doing wrong, we focus on what we are doing right! What are we doing that is nurturing, loving, supportive, nourishing, fun, essential, sustaining? What am I modeling for my child that will serve them well?  What am I doing right? 

Congratulations on showing up for your child/ren, regardless of being sleep deprived, or having piles of unfolded laundry, or work piling up, or a myriad of factors specific to your life.  Congratulations for showing up.  

In short, I encourage every parent to be gentle with yourselves, and use the music we provide in class and for your continued use of song throughout your day.  Breathe for yourself during the lullaby as well. Breathe deep, stretch and sing, laugh with your child and have fun.  Have fun and let us lead for you during class so you can BE.  Brava and Bravo to You! Thank you. ~ Wendy

Why blog now, why today?
By Wendy DeAngelis on August 19, 2020

Well, today teacher Adrienne was subbing for teacher Joy's 8:30 AM Music Together Online mixed ages class via Zoom.  

When one of our Dads joined the class with his toddler daughter and said: 

" You remember Adrienne, she was your teacher when we used to go places."

The enormity of that perfect, succint, age appropriate statement for his beloved little girl, resonated like a trumpets blare throughout my being.

In that moment, when that awesome Dad struck that chord in me, I realized that it may resonate for you too.

We have all been so busy getting through this time, that this may be the perfect time to take a minute, and reflect on how you are doing today.

Being my first post, I guess this works with me going first.

I am filled with gratitude that we have been able to switch to Music Together Online, to all of the families who have made this transition with all of us, and to Nini, Dulce, Adrienne, Joy, Alexandra, and Ginny who too, were determined to keep our Community of Music Makers - Making Music! There have been times of great joy, seeing you and your children together, singing, dancing, making hearts, waving, and blowing kisses at the end of each class.  

I truly can not imagine what the world would be like if all the music stopped. I am greatful for food, clothing and shelter, for my family, friends, clergy, and hope that each of you have a support system that you are able to reach out to and that reaches out to you.  

There have also been days, hours, minutes, and moments when I have been terrified about this world, about the future, about the young, the old, and all people around the globe. 

Those of us with children in our daily lives, or who have children we love dearly, are extremely fortunate to have that grounding focus. We may be exhausted and yet for me, children are the greatest motivation to keep making this world a better place, while giving them all the music, stimili, and love that they need to thrive. Thank you. ~ Wendy