My mom showed me a Q&A article in today’s Lakeland Ledger with Family Psychologist John Rosemond. A parent asked if child enrichment programs such as Dance, sports, gymnastics, and even Kindermusik were a waste of money.   He replied that only status-seeking parents enroll in such programs to create what he calls a “Trophy Child.”

First, let me start by saying that I enjoy reading John’s articles.  Do you know why?  He is very opinionated, and sometimes I agree with his opinion, and sometimes I wholeheartedly disagree with his opinion.  Either way, it usually makes for great rollicking conversations about child rearing within the many generations of mothers that I am surrounded by, including my own mother.  Most everybody has a different opinion about everything.

Second, I don’t think John’s ever been to a Kindermusik class, or read anything about it.  I was fortunate enough to attend an event at St. Paul Lutheran church a few years ago, in which he was able to personally spout his “draw the line in the sand” opinions.  I had been researching Brain Gym at the time, a well known way to help children learn more effectively through exercise to get their brain and body working together.  After the speech, I approached him to see what his opinion on this method was.  His reply, “Oh, I don’t read any of this new fangled so-called parenting methods, they’re all a bunch of garbage.”   Needless, to say, I was a bit surprised that such a well-known and read columnist, and parenting specialist, would dismiss ideas and techniques simply because they are new, esp. to the point of not even being willing to look into what it is really about.

Now, I don’t profess to be a professional parenting expert.  I am still learning… aren’t we all – even grandparents are relearning childrearing techniques to use with their grandchildren, esp. if they are around them a lot.  But I keep an open mind, I LOVE to read, and I get enthusiastic when I find new perspectives, or new ideas to try, or stories that help me realize there’s more than one way to raise children to be mature, respectful people who love to learn (music and everything),  and who have the ability and know the importance of building strong relationships, esp. with their family.

There are a lot of sources where I find these types of things, including other mothers.  And I was especially pleased when I found Kindermusik, because it ties so many things together in a wonderful package.  Because of their philosophical foundation, each program includes positive musical experiences, learning through movement, whole child development, multi-sensory learning, parents as a child’s first teacher, and simply just enjoying the process of learning.  And by the way, performance is not a part of Kindermusik, and it is recommended that parents refrain from requiring a child to perform.  Although if the joy of singing and sharing is the child’s desire, then let the child sing their heart out.

I don’t see Status-seeking moms in my Kindermusik classes.  I see moms who love to spend quality time with their children, learning to interact in new and different ways, adding variety and enjoyment to the sometimes tedious, and often challenging, process of raising young children.   I see parents who are eager to have the opportunity to help their child learn to interact effectively with others and participate successfully in a structured environment.   I see parents who are thrilled to open up the world of music, of learning, and of possibility through any way possible.  Kindermusik just wraps it up in such a wonderful way, it allows for all kinds of opportunities.

I don’t see “Trophy Children” in my Kindermusik classes.  I see childrens’ personalities blossom with the joy they find in music and movement.   I can see that even with children whose disabilities severely limit their own ability to move.  I see the spark of excitement as a child learns they can do something they’ve never done before, whether it is a baby who has just discovered the joy of clapping, or a child who recognizes the difference between, and mastered the different skills of jumping, hopping, and leaping, or a child who has practiced, and learned, to play a favorite melody on an instrument. 

I see children learning to share, take turns, put things away, and help others as we enjoy our time together.  I see children who were initially terrified to participate in a group, who are now leading the singing.   I see children who were initially unable to sit still, who are now participating in structured activities, albeit in their own way.  But that’s OK, because a variety of personalities are accepted here in this safe environment.

Music works wonders because it engages our soul and brings out the best in who we are, and I believe that influences people of all ages, even the very young.  Parents don’t have to participate in Kindermusik to share the magic of music and movement in the learning process with their children… just sing to your child, dance with them, listen to the music inside of them.  But even though I have a degree in Music Therapy and Psychology, I still marvel at the wonderful products and programs that Kindermusik International develops, because they are loaded with new songs, new ideas, new activities, new ways to explore, and each one is based on extensive research in the areas of music education and child development, that I, myself, don’t have the time to keep up to date on.

 Kindermusik Parents, I would LOVE to hear your comments on this one as well.   What do you think about Mr. Rosemund’s thoughts on Kindermusik?

Merry Melodies,
Debbie Mondale