Music Crafting with Your Kids

With the holidays coming up, cooler days and more time inside with your little ones, you may be looking for some new ways to keep these little people occupied. Here's a very fun idea for a musical craft. It's super easy and fun and can lead to hours of music making fun! 

 

What you'll need:

Empty and dry water bottles (we used standard size but the tiny ones would work really well for tiny hands)

Assorted beads, the brighter the better. You can find great packs of beads at crafting stores or Target or Walmart 

Tiny bells. We found a lovely pack of small bells at Jo-Anne's

Washi Tape. We love these great packs at Michael's

Stickers of your choice 

Gather the kids on the floor and spread the assorted beads and bells out on the floor. Give them each their own water bottle and have them fill their water bottle with the beads and bells that they like the most. This is a great fine motor activity. 

Once the water bottles are filled, make sure to securely close the cap. You can even apply hot glue to the inside of the cap to make sure they can't be opened. Once the bottle is closed, it's time to decorate! Kids can select their favorite colors of Washi tape and with your help, they can wrap the tape around the bottle. They can also choose favorite stickers to put on the bottle. 

Now it's MUSIC TIME!! Put on your favorite music or grab a guitar or ukulele and get ready for some music making. We like to shake along to one of our favorite Seed & Song songs, Om Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

5 secrets behind the power of music

1) Cultural community building -  Music is not exclusive for virtuosos and entertainers. Think about the american culture that surrounds the music industry.  Pop music is highly produced, auto-tuned and featured in reality TV shows like the Voice or American Idol where contestants are judged for sharing their voice. No wonder we’re terrified to sing or speak in public. Set that aside, creating music together is primal. It connects us to one another raising our vibrations. Where in modern-day American society are you invited to sing in a group, without critique?  Build community. Sing together.  

2) Pacifies baby - I know this one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised. Music that is simple, repetitive, and predictable is giving baby’s brain something to absorb.  Our music engages baby so that you may take a few deep breaths.  Read on about baby brain development.

3) Brain development - From inside the womb, baby is listening to everything. Baby is processing the tones of your voice, your heartbeat, your words, other words. Music is the only healing art form to access the brain passively. Music is amazing. Your baby is learning about tonal relationships or melodies, patterns, sounds, and language all by listening. What’s even more powerful is making music WITH your baby.  Try tapping a steady rhythm on your baby’s feet or hands to create a sensory experience.  It’s simple but effective. Each time baby listens neural pathways are being created. How cool is that?

4) Emotional intelligence - One aspect of music that other art forms lack at this stage in baby’s life is  the ability to elicit emotional responses. Have you seen the videos of babies hearing their mothers sing and immediately they start crying?  Music is an emotional process. When you hear a song that reminds you of a memory it evokes those feelings. Music can access your baby’s emotional center of the brain, while actively shaping positive experiences as you listen to the music regularly.

5) Congruent with movement  - Have you ever been to a yoga class where the music just didn’t quite support the style of class?  Or have you ever tried running with slow languid music?   It’s hard to make sense of it.  Running to fast upbeat music makes way more sense in our body and brain.  We are rhythmic beings and we automatically synchronize with an external beat. Our music was created to fit the action of the yoga poses. The music is not a separate aspect of the experience, but rather integrated fully into the design of the class.  

Songs, Anytime, Anywhere

One of my mom tricks of the trade has been singing. If my daughter is crying, I sing. If it’s time for food, I sing. If we’re getting out of the bath, I sing. If she’s getting bored in the car, you guessed it…. I sing. We know that music is a full brain experience, meaning that it engages many parts of the brain all at once. I find that what this means for my daughter on a really practical level is that singing has the potential ability to:

  1. Grab her attention. Sometimes this means distracting her from what she was fussing about

  2. Cue behavior. Music is a powerful tool in helping to cue behavior. I have decided on certain songs that I sing for various parts of the day and it helps remind my daughter what is coming next. It can be a simple as a musical reminder for naps, one for food, and another for bedtime.

  3. Encourage motor movement. Whether it is rolling over, crawling, standing up or clapping, add music to the day and my daughter is much more interested in moving her little body. Actually, these days the minute I start singing she is clapping her hands.

  4. Facilitate speech development. Singing is engaging, structured and repetitive. This makes it a wonderful tool for modeling and engaging my daughter in exploring her voice.

  5. Teach new skills. I’ve been dabbling with a little bit of sign language with my daughter. Showing her the signs in a song and practicing with the song is fun and it also helps her remember it.

I’ve found that the most important thing about singing with my baby is that there is no pressure and it’s all fun and sweet times together. I’ll explore some fun ways to create songs in the moment in another blog but for now get those vocal chords warmed up and start singing, even if it’s just Row, Row Your Boat all day long.

4 Ways Music Helps You Process Emotions

Music has a way of connecting us to our emotions. A certain song will trigger a memory from twenty years ago and we are back in the emotion of that time. It is truly incredible. At times when we feel stuck or we find ourselves pushing away certain emotions, music is a wonderful tool to help us reconnect and to dig deeper. Here are 4 simple tools to use music for emotional processing. 

1. CREATE A SONG MAP: Whether it is the new job of mothering, a move, a loss of an irreplaceable loved one, or a new job; life is full of transitions. One way to work through the different aspects of each transition is through music. Is there a song that comes to mind when you think of the feelings you first felt when you found out about this transition? Is there a song that comes that represents what you are leaving behind with this new life? What about a song that speaks to where you are in this exact moment? Take some time and listen to these songs. They can help to map out the territory that is this new part of you and your life.

2. HIT REPEAT: Remember when you were 13 years old and you sat and listened to that song on repeat after your latest heartbreak? We often don't spend the time with music that we did in our adolescence but really should. Are the tears stuck inside? Is the anger just lying beneath the surface? Take some time with a song that you know will bring these emotions to the surface. 

3. DIG DEEP: Take a song that really speaks to you and print out the lyrics. Take some time to listen to the music while looking at the lyrics. Underline a passage that perfectly speaks to you. Use this as a prompt for journaling, art or meditation. 

4. CREATE: Take a song you love and play around with changing the lyrics to tell your own story. You can change just one word in a line or change a whole line. Who knows? You may love this so much that you'll decide to create your own song. 

 

 

 

The Art of Mindful Listening: Finding presence in motherhood

What is mindful listening?

Mindful listening is a meditation tool to enhance your awareness and reduce stress by observing sound without judgement.  As moms, we are skilled at multi-tasking and while this may serve us occasionally, we risk the ability to be fully present. True listening requires your total attention; whether it be listening to the needs of your baby, your partner, co-worker, friend or family member. Then, there’s taking time to listen to yourself.  Think of all the distractions in your world that prevent you from fully listening to your own needs, desires and inner guidance. Mindful listening is just one practice to guide you towards living in the present.

Did you know?

Music is temporal;  meaning it happens over time and changes from one moment to the next. As a result, music is an accessible aid to any mindfulness practice.

Put it into practice:

  • Choose a song you’ve never heard and listen to it all the way through. Notice the lyrics if any, name all the instruments you detect, reflect on your experience by identifying an overall tone or theme of the song.

  • Choose a song you love and observe emotions it sparks.  Notice where in your body you feel tension or other sensations.

  • Try breathing for the duration of a song lying on the ground with your eyes closed.

  • Pause for a moment to observe your surroundings  (i.e. birds chirping, traffic outside, wind chimes) without judging or labeling what you hear, simply practice awareness.

  • Each time you hear an action based sound (i.e. baby cries, alarms, cell phones) take just beat to observe the quality of sound and where you feel it in your body before reacting.

  • Try humming and listen to your own voice vibrate from the inside out. Vibration (music) is a quick way to drop into a meditation practice. It doesn’t have to be long. A few rounds of humming can have a profound effect on calming your nervous system.