My son, Lochlan, turned 7 months several weeks ago … in the dead cold of January. At 7 months, he just wants to explore and see new things and play play play. But as a first-time mom I’m not always sure where to start and the cabin fever was blaring. When I talked to my good friend (and toddler mom, i.e. 2 years of practice in) about it, she told me sign up for as many things as you can! Her advice was to have one thing a day to do out of the house, preferably something that required us to be somewhere at a certain time.” Are you sure?” I asked, “cause hubby thinks I can just write a blog called ‘our life in PJs.’”
Fortunately, we had an excuse to get out of our PJs last Saturday and hubby even joined us. We went to our very first music class at InJoy Music! InJoy Music is a local Kindermusik program for infants through 7-year-olds. When my mom-friend suggested we consider a music class all I could imagine was a bunch of loud drumming and tambourine shaking while babies screamed. However, it was completely different than that.
When we arrived, there was a special greeting for Lochlan and the teacher, Amy, personally greeted every student by name. We also sang, clapped, patted, stomped, and wiggled greetings to each of the students in a circle. Lochlan was entranced from the beginning.
The 45-minute class include several songs and props which guided us through topics of opposites and food. Amy led the kids in songs and used music to guide the class to get things out and put them away. She also gave each of us parents baby sign language to use and little tips about emotional and cognitive development.
My husband had a huge smile on his face as he helped our son dance around the room. I think Lochlan’s flapping arms and giant smile made daddy feel like he was doing all the right play things. And that’s the best part, we left the class with more ideas of ways to play with Lochlan at home.
Amy is the owner of InJoy music, which has two locations – Lenexa and Brookside. InJoy sees 500 kids each week between Kindermusik classes and piano lessons. Amy founded the Lenexa location in 2003 and took over the Brookside location last June.
She told me that they have 10 educators that combined have over 80 years of early childhood experience! Not only that, but their program has been named among the top 1% of Kindermusik programs in the world for most of the 15 years they have been running! I was intrigued by her passion for the kids as well as the apparent plethora of knowledge she had about child development so I asked her a couple more questions – and her words answer them best:
Why is music such a good conduit for learning? Is it different for different ages?
Music is the perfect vehicle for learning because everyone can relate to it. Music lights up both hemispheres of the brain, which engages language and auditory centers. Music with a steady beat, which we expose our children to in every class, is organizing and calming to the body and brain. A calm and organized brain is at peace, and therefore open to learning new information!
Additionally, music creates community and a sense of belonging. Our group classes allow emotional security, which must be present for learning to occur. On a lighter note, music is fun and engaging! So, learning happens when we are really just having fun and building bonds with our friends and loved ones.
What drew you to the Kindermusik program? (how is it different from other programs)
When I was researching programs for young children, Kindermusik immediately came to the forefront as the most well-researched and developmentally sound. In 15 years of teaching, I’ve seen Kindermusik International continually evolve to meet the needs and desires of today’s families, all while staying true to its mission: to spread the power and joy of music-making as a vital learning experience for young children and families.
What is one (or two) of your favorite success stories?
There are so many! From babies taking their first steps in our classroom to hearing those sweet voices sing for the first time, I feel truly blessed to do this for a living. A story that means so much to me is about a sweet little boy who had never been away from his mama before. As a single mom who had a traumatic childhood, she’d only allowed her mom to watch her son. However, she trusted me enough to leave her son with me for a two-hour, drop-off holiday event! What a huge step for them both. Because of that first step, he now attends classes without his mom, and has even started Parents’ Day out!
We really enjoyed our first class, so much so that my little guy had a great nap afterwards! If you need a weekly commitment to get you out of the house and the cold, you should come join Lochlan and I at an InJoy music class! I’m so glad that we found it.