My Convertible Life

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Singing, Dancing and Learning

When we started classes with Music Together last fall, I had visions of discovering the musical genius in both of my children. They both love to sing, dance and pretend-play musical instruments (Junius prefers trombone, while Pippi tends toward the violin) -- plus I spent 14 years in piano lessons and my mom is a music teacher -- so it seemed a perfect fit.

Today we started our third round of classes with Music Together (fall, winter, now spring). And I'd love to be able to tell you that it's been everything I imagined it could be and more. But that wouldn't really tell the whole story. The truth is that it's been a huge success -- at least enough to make me enroll three times -- but it hasn't looked at all like I expected it would.

After our first class, my son announced that he didn't want me to sing along with the CD in the car -- despite what our class instructor had encouraged us to do. This hurt my feelings (and my confidence), but I got over it -- he's 4, what does he know about talent, right? Then after a few more more classes, I quickly realized that car-singing was the least of my worries.

We were That Family in music class.

You know what I'm talking about... the one whose kids run around the room seemingly oblivious to what the instructor is doing, whose kids take instruments from other (smaller) children, whose kids shout "wake up!" in the middle of the lullaby song, whose kids take off their own shoes and then try to wear the shoes of other children, whose kids sneak over to play the piano when it's clearly labeled "hands off." Meanwhile, the other children are all sitting sweetly with their mommies, tapping and bouncing along with Ms. Angela. Yes, we were definitely That Family.

After we finished the first set of 10 classes, I gave up. I was convinced that the kids weren't learning anything, and I was exhausted from wrangling them for 45 minutes. Despite all counseling from my mother to the contrary, I figured it was a waste of time.

Then one afternoon, I caught Pippi singing the welcome to class song all by herself, filling in the names of the other kids from class as well as words for things around her (as in, "Hello to potty... so glad to see you! Hello to blanket... so glad to see you!"). I was startled -- this is the child who never sits in class, takes off running down the hall and ignores Ms. Angela at every opportunity? Over the next few weeks, I realized that both of my kids were randomly singing different songs from the class without any prompting from me. Turns out that busy, crazy children are still soaking up all that music instruction when you least expect it.

So now we're back for Round 3. I'm still chasing Pippi down the hall and nudging Junius to sit up and sing during class -- and we're still That Family (honestly, you'd think by now we'd have someone new in the class who could take over that role). But at least now I know that they're getting something out of the class -- and most of the other families are used to us by now (and probably just glad that their kids are better behaved than mine are).

And when Pippi puts on Junius's train engineer hat and starts singing, "This train is bound for glory..." or when Junius taps his fork on the table while chanting, "Playing in the kitchen...," I'm reminded that my children are learning more than I can imagine every minute of every day. No wonder they can't sit still with such busy, busy brains.


  1. Thanks for the info! I appreciate the link - I wish there were weekend classes for working moms! I could have that family!

  2. Oh, that is truly lovely! Ms Angela is on the verge of tears...

    And just for the record, I've not noticed oddly disruptive behavior...isn't that how all preschool children behave? Or does this mean my children & I were That Family all those years ago, and I didn't know it?! :-D

  3. Never fear, we are That Family too. The only time Audrey sits still is if there are cupcakes involved. Good to know there are other mothers out there who run as much as I do - LOL!

  4. Cyndi, some kids can't focus UNLESS they move around...kinesthetic learners - one of the multiple intelligences. I think my Ava is one of those as well...


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