Wednesdays With Wendy - Music Together with Music and Me

5 Love Languages - Happy Valentine's Day
By Wendy DeAngelis on February 10, 2021

Happy almost Valentine's Day! This Sunday is Valentine's Day, a day to celebrate LOVE!  This upcoming holiday made me think about the 5 Love Languages.  Usually, I think about this in terms of adult relationships, and I encourage you to take a moment to think about your preferred love languages, and which you might want to add in your own giving and/or receiving.  The 5 Love Languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, and Physical Touch

What love languages are you using with your children and what opportunities does the act of making music with our children provide in giving and modelling each of these love language options?

I do hope you are smiling as you give this some thought, because music making provides us with endless opportunities to sing all off the 5 love languages.

Rather than I tell you my ideas,  I would LOVE to hear yours.  Happy Valentine's Day! Thank you! - Wendy

Snowflakes Soft, Snowflakes...
By Wendy DeAngelis on February 03, 2021

Happy Snow Days Everyone!  Grown-ups, do you remember the first time you played in the snow?  If you were a very young child, probably not, but I assure you that the joy and exhiliration of that first time stayed with you.  I remember being so excited to take our daughter out in the snow for her very first time and teach her how to catch snowflakes on her tongue, make a snowball, throw snow up in the air, and of course, make snow angels and a snowman, snow person, snow house, everything snow was so much fun.  

Memories are always enhanced and made that much richer and deeper, when music is attached to the experience.  Like Snow, music is a multisensory experience.  When we hear music we remember where we were, who we were with, what smells we smelled, and tperhaps the texture what we were wearing. 

Well, Snow certainly has a taste, smell, texture, sound and the gloriuos sight of all it's beauty!  Sing about the snowflakes with our fabulous asymetrical chant, "Snowflakes", of make up your own song about snow or any ways you play in the snow. Enjoy!  Thank you! - Wendy 

How does music support social and emotional learning?
By Wendy DeAngelis on January 27, 2021

Hello! How does music support social and emotional learning?  There are so many answers to this question that it is challenging to pick just one.  Today I am going to focus on the dis-comfort and an-ti-ci-pa-tion of music. 

Before doing so, though, other social and emotional learning music support to think about, look for, and incorporate into your daily life include, turn turning with instruments, passing games, confidence in solos,  in formal training being part of a whole greater than oneself, i.e.: an orchestra, choir, band, the sheer confidence in being able to keep a beat and dance in a social setting, the joy and fun that fills the heart and soul, thus making us all happier human beings.

Today though we focus on the dis-comfort and an-ti-ci-pa-tion of music. 

When I am waiting for a song to resolve by ending on the resting tone, or final note of the song resolving in it's tonality, I physically ache to hear that note.  It's simply incomplete.  We play musically in a way that helps tune children's ears to find that resting tone through audiation before we sing that final note, but what else are we doing?

How patient is your baby, toddler, or preschooler?  Most are not known for their patience or ability to stand in dis-comfort.   As we play musically and create space in time with silence before singing that final note, literally building the tension and stand in dis-comfort, we are building our children's ability to practice that discomfort in a fun, playful, and developmentally appropriate way.

I encourage you to find ways to play with this idea at home.  I'd love to hear your experiences. Thank You! -Wendy

Inauguration Music and Poetry for America!
By Wendy DeAngelis on January 20, 2021

Congratulations to President Joseph R. Biden and Vice President Kamala D. Harris! Today is historical for so many different reasons. As a woman, I celebrate our country's first female Vice President!  In a addition to being a woman, she is also the first Vice President of black and south asian decent! 

This inauguration of our 46th President was also historic in that it was held during a global pandemic with 400,000 + American citizens having passed, and with extraordinary security of over 25,000 National Guard due to the insurrection of our Capitol in Washington, DC on Jan. 6, 2021.

Still, Music and Poetry surrounded the swearing in ceremony and President Biden's powerful inaugural event. Lady Gaga sang a glorious and riveting rendition of our National AnthemJennifer Lopez sang a touching and soothing rendition of This Land is Your Land in a medly, and Garth Brooks sings Amazing Grace with a goal for the country to join in song at home together!  Imagine, encouraging singing at home to fill your heart and join the country in song!  We have been doing this all along!

Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman used her extraordinary words to ring truth for this time.  A young woman of great inner and outer strength, wisdom, and beauty of soul.

I am grateful that our democracy moves forward and that our children will see the importance of music and poetry as a unifying force in our country.  Education for every child, everywhere will continue to create wise and ethical human beings, able to move our country forward.  Thank you! - Wendy

Our Children and Music Remain Common Ground. Hello Everybody!
By Wendy DeAngelis on January 13, 2021

Hello Everybody!  May today's post find you ALL safe, healthy, strong, and singing this first month of 2021. 

I took a break from writing over our two week holiday break. To all celebrating Dawali, Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanza, and any other Holiday throughout the year, may we all join in LIGHT and LOVE.  I hope that the healing of America has already begun.  Preaching is not my goal.  Keeping families uplifted in the common goal of supporting their children's learning and brain neuroplasticity through music, is my goal.  Providing, supporting, and enhancing the experiences and joy in family music making is my goal.

Last Wednesday, January 6, 2021, I had every intention of writing this Blog, wishing everyone well, and welcoming everyone back to class.  In the safety of my own house, I witnessed the attack on America's house.  I must speak the truth here today.  Children can smell authenticity, and if I am to remain authentic here today, I must publicly denounce the actions of last Wed., Jan. 6, 2021, and every lie, and rally that led up to it. It is with great gratitude to our Congress, and the rule of law that still exists in our democracy, that I sit here today watching the 2nd Impeachment of the 45th President.  

Our children deserve better.  All children deserve better.  Grown-ups, I have applauded you in my heart since 2003, when I first started offering Music Together® as Mommy, Music, and Me, inc. through today as Music Together with Music and Me.  These past ten months you have all shown an extraordinary resilience and determination by showing up.  Our healing work is not done, it may just be beginning.  

Our children and music remain our common ground. Thank you. ~Wendy

"Snowflakes Soft, Snowflakes, Gently are Falling..."
By Wendy DeAngelis on December 16, 2020

Today, in New York, we await the first big snowstorm of the season!  Yes, there may be a lot of clean to follow, but first comes the magic!! Can you even imagine being a child and seeing snow fall for the very first time? It tickles the face! Dr. Lili Levinowitz, the co-writer of Music Together®, and Ken Guilmartin the co-writer and founder of our internationially beloved program, know and understand how important imaginary play, especially musical imaginary play is for the brain development of children.

Dr. Lili Levinowitz wrote this magical chant, "Snowflakes, soft, snowflakes, gently are falling, magically making everything white". The chant is written in 5, and meant to be whispered as the arms gently move side to side likes snowflakes falling from way up high, to way down low blanketing the ground.It may be easier for the Grown-ups to feel the 5 count as a combination of 3 + 2, as you model for your child.  As always, just do the best you can and have fun with your child!

It's funny, we always sang at home growing up, but I don't have a recollection of holiday songs except the Dreidel Song.  You see, there weren't that many Chanukah songs written.  I was pleasantly surprised that you can find 30 Chanukah songs on Spotify this year.  Daveed Diggs, of HAMILTON fame, wrote: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbxyZAduGvY and it is great!

What Holiday songs do you remember singing as a child? Which one's do you still sing? Be sure to sing, sing, sing.  May your homes be filled with music, smells of Holiday cooking, and much love.

To All Celebrating Chanukah, Happy 7th NIght of Chanukah, and as people get ready for Christmas, Kwanza, and New Year's eve, enjoy the snow! Keep positive, and test negative. Stay Well.  Here's to the magic of snowflakes.  Thank you! - Wendy

A Round Of Applause for the Grown-ups!
By Wendy DeAngelis on December 09, 2020

Dear Grown-ups who are enrolled in our classes, and Grown-ups everywhere - specific positive feedback is so important for children.  There are lists of ways to encourage children in addition to saying Good Job! I see how well you are using your words, I am proud of you for the way you shared and took turns, I love that you said please and thank you, you are strong when you throw that ball, and on, and on.  Everyone appreciates when someone notices that they are doing a GOOD JOB, and lets them know. 

Grown-Ups - GOOD JOB!

I have been fortunate for families to welcome me and our Music Teachers into their home, and I have seen, how extraordinary each family has been in adapting to changing ways of working from home, children's multiple ever changing school schedules, of shifting to full time at home parenthood, setting up work stations, and learning stations, and play stations, and exercise stations, and even if you haven't conciously set anything up, I assure you, you are moving things around to get things done. GOOD JOB!

My goal, and everyone's goal at Music Together with Music and Me, has always been to support your child's learning through music! Over these past 9 months, I know we have continued to do just that, as I see your children thriving. 

Grown-Ups have always been amazed at all of the unexpected benefits of our program! Well, I believe that those benefits have expanded, or at least I hope so from the bottom of my heart.  The ritual and routines of class, in a time when everything else has been so uncertain, has been a blessing to me and my teachers. Yes, Music is essential, and yes the TOGETHER part, has been sustaining for us all. Thank you! - Wendy

Tis the Season to Celebrate Everyone!
By Wendy DeAngelis on December 02, 2020

Hello Everybody,

I hope you, your family, and friends had a meaningful Thanksgiving! I have heard from many, that there was a silver lining via zoom.  People from all over the world who may not have been able to be at the same table in years part, were together this year via Zoom.  So many things are so different, and yet, in my opinion so many of the most important things remain: the power of love, connection, purpose, and joy.  Please add on to your list, as I know this is just a start.....OH....Yes, Music!

So what can you do with your child, in a musical way to share love, connection, purpose, and joy? 

Here is a gift idea for your friends and family! Send a custom song of you and your child singing a song for that person. 

Music Together Songs are ideal for making up verses and inserting names.  THIS IS NOT A PERFORMANCE! it is a moment in time of your child singing about or to someone they love.  If your child is a baby and cooing sing a lullaby to the grown up and your baby, a toddler who can find the resting tone, you sing and have them find the resting tone, or have your child sing their favorite song if they are older.  

For movers and shakers, record yourselves dancing and jumping with a special message of Holiday Love!

Feel free to reach out to me to brainstorm ideas, based on what stage of music development your child is experiencing. Thank You! -Wendy

Ignore your child!
By Wendy DeAngelis on November 18, 2020

There, I said it! Ignore yor child!...Well, of course knowing they are in a safe spot, or using your super grown-up senses of their proximity making them think you aren't watching them.

Put on some music you love, and start to dance, without asking your child to join you.  Your baby, will watch and enjoy.  Your toddler, or preschooler may just join you, or try to get your attention as they will be making their choice to see what is all this fun that Mommy, Daddy, Grandma, Grandpa, or caregivers are having. Enjoying music for music's sake is everyone's birthright!

So instead of trying to get your child to DO something, do it yourself. Enjoy it yourself.  Depending on their temperment, they may just watch for a long time, or they may try to stop you, or they may join in.  You may catch them doing what you do, dancing with their toys, or stuffed animals.  

Trust that you are providing the stimuli to create their neuropathways, and as they develop the information will travel.  

So go ahead and (safely) Ignore your child, and see how that leads to making Music Together! Thank you. -Wendy

Benefits of Musical Routines! What are yours?
By Wendy DeAngelis on November 11, 2020

What is a musical routine? Many of you know that a routine is something that you do, practice, or experience in a specific way, and in a specific time frame that you decide, and may or may not alter depending on unlimited variables unique to you. 

When I performed professionally as a singer/actress my musical routines revolved around voice lessons, scales, warming up vocally daily, before auditions, rehearsals, and performances.  Routines involved listening to new music, finding new music, learning new music for auditions and performance.  Always breathing, growing, learning, and singing.

Growing up, there was always music playing, my Dad was always singing, and my sister was a professional singer/actress as well.  Our Mom, loved music and loved to sing.  Mom, had great pitch and rhythm. My favorite early childhood pastime was banging pots and pans. Those were our routines.

The benefit of any routine first depends on keeping it a routine.

We know that babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners through age 5 benefit through Musical routine as the variety of stimuli literally help build their neuropathways and support neuroplasticity. Routine supports musical development and social and emotional learning.  Are you more confident entering a room, (even via zoom for now), when you know who will be there? Do you prefer attending a meeting and getting an aganda? Do you enjoy whatever work you do with a solid understanding of beginning, middle, and end of processees? Guess what, this is exactly how confidence is built in young children.  Being able to understand begining, middle, and end, and to anticipate activity and sound, and have free play exploration. Audiation is the ability to hear music in your head when it isn't here.  When you child sings a resting tone of a song if you stop singing on the note before, they are knowing what is next.  It is extraordinary when you think about it.

So, what are your musical routines? Here are some ideas to try: Lullabye, bath time, free play music, dancing in the kitchen, galloping to the car, music free play of call and response, getting out the kitchen instruments, freeze dance, sound discovery around the house, ie: running water, sound of the wind, make up asong to a story book, sing about counting,  the possibilities are endless. Tell me about yours and enjoy! Thank you. ~Wendy