Baby Class Story: My First 10 Classes

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This is the story of a child, just under 1 year old, and a portion of their musical journey through Dolce Babies Music Class, told through the written observations of the parent and teacher in the child’s music journal after each class.
(The teacher’s comments follow the comments from the parent and an explanation of some of the class activities are shown in italics.)

After the 1st class:
Parent: “(My child) really enjoyed class. When his name was called, he smiled. At first he was shy, but he quickly warmed up! He listened to the story and violin really well.”
Teacher: “(He) watched intently today. he grew comfortable with the class very quickly. He was comfortable and confident enough to sit on the teacher’s lap for xylophone! Great first class!”
(At the end of each class, there is an instrument demonstration, this week it was a teacher playing the violin. Then the teacher reads a short story book to the class.)  

2nd class:
Parent: “Wow, (my child) even picked up the scarves and tried to shake it. He also held the drumstick today. (He) listened to the music (lullaby) and associated it with going to sleep, since he attempted to lie down and closed his eyes. I can tell he loves music!”
Teacher: “(He) watched intently during ‘6 Little Ducks’ (song) to learn all the actions. He held the mallet for ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’. He sat up and drummed on the drums and came up to count them too. Great confidence!”
(This week, we danced with scarves – a free movement activity to music. Everyone has a scarf and is encouraged to dance to the music. A single beat on a wood block is played on the “pop” while we sing Pop Goes the Weasel. After playing our plastic ‘tub’ drums, the children bring them up to the teacher and we make a tower of drums and count them.) 

3rd class:
Parent: “(My child held the instruments today! He continues to pay attention closely. He appreciates the sound of the violin and clapped on his own after the piece.”
Teacher: “(He) was smiling so happily every time Mom had a “solo”! He is recognizing when it is his turn! He is excited about the glockenspiel and xylophone. He is eager to play them!”
(The first step in playing the instruments is for the child to simply watch and observe the teacher playing. Next, the child will hold the mallet and the teacher will guide their hand in playing the drum, wood block, xylophone, glockenspiel, etc. After repeated turns with the teacher’s guidance, the child learns to play the instrument independently, by himself. After the violin demonstration, the parents applaud. As the children see this, they learn to clap by themselves after the violin plays. Some of the songs have opportunities for the parents to have a little “solo” – they choose a number or sing a short response. The child hears the sound of the parent’s voice and learns to follow their example.)

4th class:
Parent: “(He) seemed to develop ‘muscle memory’ with some of the rhythms. I think it was the xylophone part where he moved his hands right-left etc. on his own.”
Teacher: “Wonderful attentiveness today! (He) is remembering so many things. he is smiling when Mommy has a solo. He is excited to walk (by himself) up to the xylophone now!”
(During the xylophone songs, we keep the beat on our knees, alternating right and left, crossing the midline of the body to promote right brain-left brain development.)

5th class:
Parent: “(He) rolled the ball (by himself) 1 time today! He also expressed wanting to play with the drum as we were cleaning up. I can tell he’s enjoying the class!”
Teacher: “(He) was very observant today. He rolled the ball by himself, Yea! He also put the mallets away after xylophone. He enjoyed playing the drums. I also saw him doing some ‘ducks’! Great class!”
(The first activity in class is to roll a ball to someone else in the circle. Often, the child wants to keep the ball for themselves, but they soon learn to share and take turns with the ball, rolling it across the circle to another child, parent, or the teacher. ‘Ducks’ refers to the song, “6 Little Ducks”. It has specific hand motions, imitating the beak of a duck as it opens and closes, that happen on specific beats of the song, while we sing “quack, quack, quack”.)

6th class:
Parent: “(He) shook the hand bells today. He mimicked what I was doing with them. He was very social today.”
Teacher: “(His) confidence level was UP today! He shook hands, made eye contact and was interacting with everyone in class. He is marching/walking in the circle (by himself) too! Great independence!”
(Our greeting activity involves shaking hands with every parent, child and teacher in the room while singing our ‘Good Morning’ song. A wonderful, safe, and nurturing way to overcome shyness. Some class activities involve walking or marching in a circle. Babies who are not yet walking, must be held by the parent for this activity. Even as children learn to walk, sometimes they like to be held by Mom or Dad for this. It is very exciting to see them eager to walk in the circle independently.)

7th class:
Parent: “(My child) was really interested in playing the instruments. he is also beginning to look at books more independently.”
Teacher: “(He) had a great class today. he warmed up so quickly during the ball rolling activity – he is looking across the circle to where the ball is going and smiling. He is loving the instruments and even let go of one of the mallets for the xylophone by himself when his turn was over!”
(It is so exciting for children to have a turn on the instruments. It is often difficult for them to give the mallets back when their turn is over. When a child lets go of the mallets willingly after a turn, they are showing us their self-control, understanding of taking turns and their ability to share.) 

8th class:
Parent: “(He) was initially not into participating but then calmed down and listened in. He was attracted to the various sounds from the instruments and clapping. Mainly wanted to be held, but did play the drums.”
Teacher: “(He) was really very observant today. He was happy to have Dad in class! He enjoyed the xylophone song when we sang “Rain, rain, go away, little (his name) wants to play”, he had a big smile! he was really happy to play drums!”
(We are aware that the circumstances of life can affect our mood and willingness to participate. If a child is tired or not happy, they may not be as excited to participate that day. On those days, the child may mainly observe, not yet ready to participate in every activity. Much learning still happens with observation.) 

9th class:
Parent: “Today (he) sat and listened after. He admired the dancing/walking routines, as well as playing with the drum and xylophone. He was smiling after.”
Teacher: “(He) warmed up to class quickly today! He shared and gave the dog to the teacher willingly in the “Bow-wow-wow” song! Great patience in waiting his turn to count the ducks!”
(Sharing and taking turns are important skills learned in this class. In the Bow-wow-wow song, each parent has a “solo” (see underlined words below), singing the child’s name before passing the stuffed dog to the next child. It takes great self-control and the ability to share for the child to hand the dog to the next child. Everyone loves the little stuffed dog and it is often difficult for the child to let go!
Bow-wow-wow, whose dog art thou,
I am “Suzie’s” dog, bow-wow-wow.)

10th class:
Parent: “(My child) danced with the scarf today! He was very excited to play the instruments.”
Teacher: “(He) so very willingly put the mallets away by himself after playing xylophone! He is really learning self-control and all about taking turns! Wonderful character development!”
(We are excited to see so much learning happening in such a short time! Not just development of musical skills, but confidence, socialization, sharing, taking turns, patience, self-control, independence, attentiveness, focus, concentration, memorization, leadership, so many wonderful qualities!)

 

“Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens. If children hear fine music from the day of their birth and learn to play it, they develop sensitivity, discipline and endurance. They get a beautiful heart.”   –Shinichi Suzuki.