How to Get the Most Out of the Nutcracker Ballet

Since the debut of the complete Nutcracker in America at the San Francisco Ballet on Christmas Eve in 1944, The Nutcracker as become an essential holiday tradition for many families. Clara dancing with her nutcracker and ballerinas swirling in “snow” are as a part of Christmas as holly and Christmas trees. The Nutcracker is one of the first ballets for many children, because it’s so magical. But at a full 2 hours plus intermission, it can also be one of the more challenging ballets for the very young. But there are some things that you can do to prepare before you go, so that the whole family can enjoy the performance. Continue reading

Your Multicultural Holiday Playlist

As the year comes to a close and we come to the longest night of the year, around the world we celebrate different holidays that bring together our family and friends. And there’s no better way to introduce a holiday to young ones than through the music that is used to celebrate it. Here are just some of the holidays that our friends and neighbors celebrate here in Silicon Valley and samples of the music that go with it.   Continue reading

Is My Child “Ready” for Piano Lessons?

I frequently get asked “How do I know if my child is ready to take piano lessons?” While some children can start reading at 3, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they have the emotional/social development necessary to start classes. I know some piano teachers wait until children are reading fluently, but our teachers at My Little Conservatory can start lessons with children as young as 4 years old. That’s because we are specialize in early childhood music and have developed tricks and techniques that are age appropriate, educational and fun. But there are a few things we want to see your child be able to do so they can have a successful start. Here are the some questions to ask yourself about your child to see if they’re ready for piano lessons: Continue reading

Spook-tacular Classical Music for Halloween

Halloween is here and what better way to set the scary scene than to play scary music. Many classical and orchestral pieces evoke feelings of creepiness and suspense. We’ve put together a playlist of some of our favorites, and here you can read a little about the songs’ histories and how they’ve become familiar spooky themes. Much of this information you can find on Wikipedia if you want to know more. We’ve even put together a playlist (at the end) so that you can play these works in the background of your Halloween party, haunted house or when answering the door for Treat or Treaters. You’re sure you’ll have spooky fun time. Continue reading

What are these stuffies my child has with his piano lessons? Meet the Music Friends!

If your young child is currently taking piano lessons at My Little Conservatory or you’re thinking about signing them up, you may be wondering why small plush toys come with the lesson books. And how do they help teach music? While they may seem cute and cuddly to the kids, each stuffie is sneaking in some valuable lessons and helping to make the music come alive.

The first stuffies that your child will receive are Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse. They’re based on the composers Ludwig von Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The stories of these two stuffies/composers are woven through each level of the course, and your teacher will use them during lessons to help bring their stories to life. As your child progresses through the course, Beethoven Bear and Mozart Mouse will meet friends from various genres of music who help your child learn different parts of the staff, notes and musical concepts. Continue reading

5 Tips for Making Practicing Piano Fun

Practice makes perfect. But with young kids, it’s easier said than done. At My Little Conservatory we want our students to enjoy both their lessons and at home piano practice. Playing the piano should feel like they are doing just that – playing. It’s how kids learn best and why we have play activities during piano lessons. The last thing we want is tears over having to practice and for it to feel like a real chore.

If practicing piano at home is feeling like a chore for your child, or you just want to avoid that, there are ways you can help them find the fun. And if you’re finding that just getting them to practice leads to an argument, we have some tips for that too. Here’s some ways to help you make piano practice fun and easier to do. Continue reading

What’s the difference between our Level 1 and Level 2 classes?

Many people ask me what the difference is between our Level 1 Kindermusik Class for Young Toddlers (1-2 year olds) and our Level 2 Kindermusik Class for Toddlers (2-3 year olds). The two classes have a similar feel, pace and energy, but there are many differences.

Social/Emotional: In our Level 2 Class we work on sharing and taking turns. We may pass an instrument or prop around the singing circle for each child to explore. After their turn, they pass the instrument to the next child. This can be challenging for a 2 year olds, but through our supportive environment, most do well! We do not attempt this in our Level 1 Class. The children are not yet able to comprehend the idea of sharing. It would just end in tears or upset little ones!

Large and Small Motor Skills: In our Level 2 Class we add in additional movements into our dances and fingerplays. Children at 2 can often jump, shuffle feet, gallop, and side step so these are now incorporated in our movement activities. They can also do more complex dances with movements at specific times in the song, they can hold hands in a circle dance (teamwork!) and use some imaginative play to move like animals, etc. The 2 year olds can also do more involved fingerplays and remember longer sequences of finger motions.

Instruments: We use baby-safe instruments in our Level 1 class. Moving up to Level 2, we now add in Rhythm Sticks, Ankle Bells and Single Bell Jingles. We also incorporate Streamers (these are too long for the 1 year olds and they get under their feet) and Pom Poms (not ideal for 1 year olds who may still want to explore them with their mouths). Continue reading

Do group music classes help kids prepare for school?

When parents of toddlers get together and the subject of schools comes up, the question of whether or not your child will be prepared for school inevitably comes up. It’s easy to start worrying if they will be able to read and write in time. But what I know from my experience as an elementary school teacher is that children need to learn how to be ready to learn. We teachers want children in our classes that know how to get along with other children, listen to the teacher, and take turns. We look for these signs of school readiness: self-regulation, listening, social-emotional skills, plus pre-literacy and pre-math skills.

One of the best ways to gain these skills is through group music classes. Why? Well, firstly, kids learn these school readiness skills best in an environment with other children. Secondly, they also learn pre-math and pre-literacy through music. Third reason? The learning is all through play – it’s fun!  

Music class helps self-regulation

Depending on where your child goes to school, there could be up to 30 children in a classroom – that’s 30 possible distractions! So, if your child can control their own behavior, emotions, thoughts and impulses, they are better at being able to focus. In our Kindermusik classes, children are given lots of practice moving to music, stopping and then starting again – all in a safe space with other children. By taking turns, they learn how to control their behavior and emotions. They learn about personal space and controlling their bodies while dancing with their friends. So what may look like kids rocking out to their favorite songs, is really them learning what is considered safe and appropriate behavior through example and positive reinforcement. Continue reading

Kindermusik Maestro Award

Maestro logo 2017-2018Recognized as a Kindermusik Maestro

We are thrilled to announce that our studio has been awarded the Kindermusik Maestro award, the highest recognition awarded by Kindermusik International. This award recognizes the top Kindermusik programs internationally for profoundly impacting the mission to reach all children with the benefits of Kindermusik.

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