Hi in-tune parents,
Today, I’m going to let you in on some behind-the-scenes secrets – the things I do to make my music classes more enjoyable I’m hoping that you can use the same techniques with your babies when you play music with them.
Being the leader requires extra energy and confidence.
You know this is true when your babies look to you as an activity/meal leader. The same is true for leading them in how to engage with music.
As you can imagine, some days I wake up in the morning and don’t feel like teaching classes. I would prefer to stay in my pajamas and be alone. Teaching takes a certain amount of energy and a comfort with being a focal point. It means I need to feel pretty good with myself when I do it.
At this point, I’ve cultivated some tricks to help me get to where I need to be in class so that it is enjoyable for the parents and babies and for me. Invariably, even if I am not able to fully get there BEFORE class, I always leave feeling energized and gratified AFTER class. I consider myself very lucky in that regard.
So here we go. They are for teaching but I think you can use them with your baby, too:
4 Ways to Lead Musically
- Sing from the heart.
I’ve found that when I dial in the singing in class (or anywhere really) you all don’t feel it and neither do I. But when I take deep breaths while I sing, put a slight smile on my face, and imagine that what I am singing is touching each one of you, I start to feel more grounded.
So with your kid – fake it till you make it. Even if you are not enjoying playing music together at first, if you take deep breaths and put a smile on your face, eventually you will. Promise.
- Encourage your child to sing and play music from the heart.
Once they’re old enough to know the difference between dialing it in and being invested, it really matters. . A big part of my job is making sure that not only I am I singing from the heart, but that YOU all are connecting to your voice, as well. I do this by leading you in deep breaths, choosing a song that I feel would help us connect at that moment, and taking a pause when needed. Often the pause is for myself, so that I can really bring my energy as I am asking you to bring yours.
When we all sing together from a present and grounded place, we all feel it. In those moments, I imagine our voices swirling together in the middle of the circle.
Similarly, when we are drumming together I need to take a moment to ask you all to be fully present. When we can do that together, our music is more cohesive; we enjoy it so much more; and hour babies seem to feel it, too. I hope you’ll feel this way with your unified families’ voices, too.
- Take Three Grateful Breaths.
If you’ve taken classes with me before, you know that in most classes I have us take 3 Grateful Breaths. (I talked about this in one of my blog posts. Click here to read what I’m talking about.) On every breath out, we think of something we are grateful for.
For me, I often think of music, my hearing so that I can hear all the baby sounds, the freedom to do what I love, and a thousand other things that come to mind in the moment. Try it before you sing with your child and see what comes to mind. It might surprise – and delight – you.
- Open up with your child to fully connect.
I can do these classes by sharing the material and curriculum. That would work and you’d probably get something out of it. But for my own sake, I love to connect with you all personally, too. I tend to have parents in my groups who are authentic, smart, funny, creative, and compassionate (I’m looking at you!). I always feel very connected to the babies but even more than that to you all. I feel excited to see you, hear about your challenges and your joys of the week.
When you’re singing with your child, check in with them. See what’s making them feel good or feel bad. This connection will only enrich your musical moments together.
So yes, you need energy to lead songtime.
But, by doing the 4 things above, leading songtime can also connecting, energizing and incredibly enjoyable.
As you can see, it’s not too hard to find ways to make it enjoyable to teach my classes. It really has everything to do with you all. So thank you for singing from the heart, being present, taking in deep breaths, and connecting to me as I do to you. Since you’ve done it firsthand, I know you’ll have an easy time leading your own music sessions with your little singers.
Do you have any rituals you do for songtime with your child? Stretching your bodies or warming up your voices? Comment below and I might just borrow it to use in my classes.
Have a friend who wants to sing more with his/her baby? Forward them this post and be their biggest cheerleader. And then tell them to sign up below.
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