For as long as I can remember, music and I have had an unconditional love. I’m not blessed in a Taylor Swift, Kenny G, or Yanni kind of way, but still, music has been my steady companion; a best friend that can bring me to tears in an instant, one that I can rejoice with, but mostly, one that I can just hang out with and be myself around every day.
Music has always been a big part of Jake’s life too. He’s gone to sleep with pianos, flutes, and other classical instruments since he was born and when he was two years old, I enrolled him in a Kindermusik class at the suggestion of a fellow mom who I met on the playground one day.
Although I had heard of the many benefits music brings to young children, I had not heard of Kindermusik before. Even then, with Jake being so young, I had concerns suppressed in the back of my mind. Was he just a late-talker or was it something more? Because I’m a stay-at-home mom, did he need socialization with kids his own age instead of just his brothers and their friends? Could music really help him emerge into all of those age-appropriate milestones?
Let me say up front that if I would have had a crystal ball that told me a year later Jake would be diagnosed with apraxia, I would definitely have also gotten him into speech therapy at that time with repetitive practice of select sounds. But, I was going through a combination of denial and unawareness that there was a real problem, so a music program seemed like the perfect solution. And although he remained silent for both semesters, he gave a lot of hugs, smiles, and had a blast participating in all of the activities.
The first time I spoke to Jake’s Kindermusik teacher in the summer of 2010, I knew I had made a good decision. In those initial conversations, I explained to her my concerns and goals and she was professional, knowledgeable, caring, and she reminded me that even when a baby is in his mother’s womb, he listens to the steady beat of her heart. Interesting. I had never really thought of music in that way before.
But, like everything else, our taste in music evolves. As I grew up, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Jesus Loves Me took center stage. In fourth, fifth, and sixth grade, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and Madonna made us girls sing and dance like never before as we used hairspray and Bonne Bell blue eye shadow for the first time. When I was in high school, Poison, Motley Crue and Guns N’ Roses blared through the speakers of my Cutlass Supreme and helped get me through whatever crisis, bliss, or raw emotion I was feeling at the time. Then, there was college and although I loved the hits of the nineties, my fondest memories are from Thursday Disco Nights that one of the bars downtown would host every week. As an adult, music has gotten me through happy, sad, exhilarating, and exhausting times.
But, enough about my love of music!
Jake was in Kindermusik from the time he turned two until he was almost three years old. I did not re-enroll him in the fall of 2011 because he was going to preschool and also had a slam-packed speech therapy schedule. Add two other kids and a busy mama to the mix, and there just wasn’t enough time. However, summer is just right around the corner and there will be no preschool or public school therapy, so a few hours will be added to each one of my days. I can’t wait to get back to it!
The following things are what impressed me most about our time with Kindermusik and why Jake and I are coming back for more:
- Our instructor is awesome!
- Activities within each class change frequently; little ones don’t have time to get bored.
- Every, single activity is fun for kids. They play basic instruments, move, sing, sit in mama’s lap, have storytime, and even lie down and rest for one song.
- Each child gets an activity book and CD of their own so you can practice the same things at home that you are doing in class.
- Each semester the theme changes. For example the themes of the two classes that we took were Milk and Cookies and Fiddle-dee-dee.