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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Singing in the animal kingdom?

When we think about music we don’t automatically think about animals. However, animals’ communication is usually musical. Now, here’s what I didn’t know, there is a field of musicology and zoology called zoomusicology, which is the study of the musical aspects of sound and communication produced and received by animals. I know, never imagined!

Recently, I saw a few articles about animals singing. I love whales and I knew about whale songs and how the males use it to communicate to the females that, well, they are ready to mate! Other whales use it to let other whales know they are there and coordinate food hunting activities. But scientists are also learning that other animals such as mice also use “songs” to communicate in social contexts (read here). In another study, researchers made females canaries sing by giving them testosterone. Now, it appears only the males of any species sing, not the females (hmmm). I guess they have very specific reasons why they sing, unlike humans. We like to sing for social reasons but also for personal reasons!

Well, all I can say is that music is everywhere even in the animal kingdom. And if you are not convince watch this video!

Have you heard any animal singing?


My top 8 posts of 2010

2010 was definitely a year of changes for me! New business, started this blog, joined Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn!

I started this blog in February. It was late (very late) on a Saturday night (actually it was Sunday morning already!) and I just decided to do it! I was nervous and excited at the same time. I was thinking, who would (if anyone) read it? Would someone like it? What would I talk about? 

1o months later, I can tell you that I write what comes to mind, what I’d like to read or what I’d like to learn more about. I like to help my readers get ideas about things that I am passionate about, like language and music. But in the title of the blog I added more, because that allowed me to talk about anything else I found interesting!

I also know someone that ALWAYS reads it… my sister! I am thankful for her unconditional support! And I know of a few (woohoo!) people that have commented (on and off line) how helpful some of the posts are and that they really like it! So, 2011 we’ll continue with this blog!

And because the end of each year is all about reviewing our year, reflecting what we did (good and bad) and think about new beginnings, I reviewed all the posts I have written this year and I came up with my top 8 posts! How did I choose them? Some of them I just liked and some others I think they provided good info!

Here’s my top 8 blog posts of 2010!

1. A birth story: my experience. This is a favorite because the experience was amazing and one of a kind! I am happy to have shared this with all of you!

2. Language and music: Inseparable. I like this one because is a perfect demonstration of my 2 passions!

3. Growing up bilingual: Misa’s story. This is a really cool one because it came from a fan! (yes, I do have them!) and I can definitely relate to her story (a little)

4. How do I raise a bilingual child? . I like this one because it’s a question that, as a bilingual speech therapist, people ask me a lot!

5. Music benefits: language, social-emotional skills and literacy and math. I like all 3 posts, because as a Kindermusik educator, I understand and see how benefitial music is!

6. Your child and the dentist. Love this one because it was written by a fan and my dentist! Also, it’s my first blog post written by a guest.

7. Teachable moments. I like this one because it so important to be aware of those teacheable moments and I feel parents, caregivers and teachers don’t take advantage of them as much as they could.

8.Music @ home. This one was my first real blog! Very special!

Here I gave you MY top 8, which one(s) was your favorite? Happy New year!

Music and movement

Children and adults naturally move to the sound of music. From soothing music to relax to vigorous music to dance and have fun, we have a tendency to move our bodies when we hear music. The good news is that music helps children (and adults) develop and strengthen their muscles. Physical movement helps balance, coordination, self-esteem and body awareness and music makes us move in fun ways! Have you ever tried a Zumba class at the gym? or a Bellydancing class? Well, you probably had more fun doing that class than working out in the treadmill!

I recently discovered a new Wii game, about dancing. It’s so much fun AND you exercise and sweat a little (or a lot!). I think this “game” is a fun way to incorporate music and movement in your lives. However, not everybody is interested in buying expensive video games and you really don’t have to!

So, here are some ideas to incorporate music and movement in your daily activities!

clap: follow the beat of the song. This helps learn rhythm and it helps children practice the rhythm of  same-pace activities such as walking, cutting and bouncing!

play instruments: playing instruments helps develop fine motor skills. Shake those maracas!

use your body as instrument: stomp your feet, snap fingers, or click tongue. This helps children be aware of their bodies and fine tune their muscle movements.

dance, dance, dance: Have fun dancing following the rhythm of the music!

The holiday season is the perfect time to enjoy music and exercise a little while having fun! So turn on the radio and move!

Are you ready to move? Let us know how it goes! I’m going to go dance with Michael Jackson! 😉 

Language and Music:Inseparable

I’ve told you before about my two passions: Language and Music. Watch this slide show that shows us how music and communication are related. Here is a summary of some of the most important points in this slide show:

  • Music and speech are intertwined starting in the womb. (We knew that!)
  • The melody of our voices is the musical nature of speech and it conveys feelings and meaning. For example, when we are happy we use a high pitch voice and we speak fast. When we are sad our speech is slow and we use deep monotone voice.
  • Taking music lessons helps us understand better the melody of words and interpret the emotions that they convey.
  • Pitch can vary between languages.
  • Our voices start getting shaped in the womb by the voices the baby hear.
  • In tonal languages like mandarin or Vietnamese, pitch determines the meaning of words.
  • Our perception of pitch is critical when we communicate to understand what others feel and mean.
  • When we learn to talk we help our music ability a well.

I loved this slide show because in just a few minutes it helps capture and understand the important relationship between language and music! I love my job!

Did you learn something with this slide show? Share your comments!

How do kids learn? Part 3

So, for the last 2 learning styles… we are going to talk about musical (woohoo!) and bodily (?). Oh if you are reading this blog for the first time, the last 2 weeks we’ve been talking about the 7 different learning styles. Check How do kids (and we) learn Part 1 and Part 2 (if you are interested).
Musical: If your child is always walking around the house humming a tune, or always needs music to study by, then he/she is likely a musical learner. This type of learner is best at noticing details, pitches, and rhythms that escape the normal listener. They are excellent at keeping tune, and are adept at turning the abstract into concrete objects. These childern learn best through rhythm, melody, and music. When they need to learn something for school encourage them to write a song about the lesson (rap maybe?), or teach them a song. Encourage their natural love of music, and try to incorporate music into as many lessons as possible.
Bodily: This type of learner is always on the move. They are also called Kinesthetic learners. They constantly walk around, they have to touch everything, and they use body language to convey their feelings. They would rather play sports or do a craft than sit down and read a book. They need active education hands-on activities. As babies, kinesthetic learners are in constant motion, their movements are well coordinated, and they are anxious to crawl and walk as quickly as possible. In a classroom, kinesthetic learners can be fidgety. They’ll often be the first to volunteer to do something —anything—active. They want to do an experiment not watch it or read about it. Keep them moving. These are the learners who can do more than one thing at a time. Interdisciplinary lessons are very successful with these types of learners.
So, to summarize, the 7 learning styles are:
  1. linguistic
  2. interpersonal
  3. intrapersonal
  4. logical
  5. spatial
  6. musical
  7. bodily
 I think I am a combination of linguistic, interpersonal and musical. How about you?

Music Benefits…

…language skills!!

I love this topic! I’m combining two loves: language and music! The best part is that one helps the other, which makes my job a lot easier and more fun!

Have you ever wondered why children enjoy singing the same song over and over and over again? Here’s why. Children are learning so manythings at the same time, that it can get frustrating, so when they learn to do something well, they like to practice and maybe show off a little! They are proud of their accomplishment! Which is perfect when they are developing because they learn to perfect their skills!

Here are some of the areas of language that children develop while singing: vocabulary, comprehension, listening, expression

Vocabulary: Children’s songs are highly thematic. They talk about a situation (Itsy Bitsy Spider) or about animals (Old MacDonald) or about our body parts (Head, shoulders, knees and toes). While singing these songs they are learning tons of vocabulary words. The more words they know, the longer and better sentences they make, and the better they can communicate their thoughts!

Comprehension: While singing songs, children start learning if the words are talking about an animal or a toy or a color. We might use a toy horse when singing Old MacDonald and they are now learning that the word horse goes with that toy they really like. Or we touch our body parts when singing Head, shoulders, knees and toes. That’s comprehension!

Listening: When children are learning new songs they have to pay attention to the words so they can imitate them. They have to be attentive to the intonation and pronunciation. And all that is required is to listen!

Expression: After they listen, they start imitating, practicing those words. When children know the songs completely, they transfer that knowledge to every day situations. Maybe after they learn to sing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, now they can talk about spiders if they see one! They might see one climbing up something and talk about how they are going up the water spout!

So when your children sing that song 20 times a day, just think that they are learning new words, learning pronunciation, using the correct intonation of the word and also practicing how to correctly articulate the sounds! Did you have any clue they are learning ALL these skills when they sing one song? (20 times a day)

Another benefit of singing is that children are able to memorize the words faster because the can chunk or divide in small parts the sentences and even the words. Some songs divide one word in syllbles and that helps children learn the word much better. Plus, repetition is the key to learn something new (hence the 20 times a day!). And how much more fun it is to sing all day! Wouldn’t you prefer to learn things by singing, than sitting in a boring office trying to memorize next week’s presentation?

Ahhhhh I love my job!

Are there any skills you’d love to practice 20 times a day?