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Multimodal approach in our Growing with Music sessions

This week, during one of our Growing with Music sessions for 2 to 5-year-old children, Tiziana took inspiration from the book “A hole in the bottom of the sea” to compose the song and play it with many different instruments.

✔️Tiziana and the children listen to the melody with Pam Pam as in the Gordon’s approach;
✔️used the body percussion to learn the rhythm;
✔️composed the lyrics;
✔️played with instruments;

Before that they were pirates sailing in the deep blue ocean, accompanying the listening with natural movement.
Such a cool journey for these children!

WHY PARENTS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT DURING MUSIC CLASSES FOR BABIES?

ENGLISH / ITALIAN

As children grow, our music sessions also change!

These gorgeous children started their music sessions with me when they were 5 months old, their parents brought them to every single class (based on the Gordon’s Music Learning Theory) since when they were curious and happy, little babies.

During these years, these parents have discovered a different way to interact, relax and play with their children, through sounds, rhythms and music. You should hear how they sing during the sessions!

Their children are growing fast and soon they will enter in the music room just with their friends – they will turn 3 soon – so right now we are working on their autonomy and independence, to facilitate this change.

Our classes follow in fact the musical and cognitive development of the children; every session is planned based on their needs, to stimulate not only their musical skills but also their general growth.

Parents are fundamental for us during this process so it’s really important to have them on board during the sessions, enjoying the music activities as much as their children.

WHY PARENTS ARE REALLY IMPORTANT DURING MUSIC CLASSES For BABIES?

They are their children’s reference so everything they do is an example for their children:

  • Everything a parent feels during the class affects their child. If a parent is anxious or doesn’t feel comfortable during the session, this will probably influence their child similarly. If a mum or dad is relaxed, then the baby will feel relaxed too 🙂
  • When parents sing or move to rhythms, they are showing their child how to enjoy music; they’re basically saying “It’s fine, we can sing, dance and move in this space”. This will help their child to feel comfortable, safe and enjoy the session.
  • In our classes, we ask parents to accompany our songs with easy ostinatos (repetitive notes or patterns): in this way children will be surrounded by richer music (called polyphony) that will support children’s musical development.
  • Playing and singing together with other parents is also an amazing example for children to collaborate and work as a team.

ITALIANO

Man mano che i bambini crescono, anche le nostre sessioni musicali cambiano!

Questi stupendi bambini hanno iniziato le loro sessioni musicali con me quando avevano solo cinque mesi, i loro genitori li hanno accompagnati ad ogni singolo incontro (basata sulla Music Learning Theory di Gordon) sin da quando erano dei curiosi piccolissimi

Durante gli anni, questi genitori hanno scoperto un modo diverso di interagire, rilassarsi e giocare con i loro figli, attraverso suoni, ritmi e musica. Dovreste sentire come cantando durante le sessioni!

I bambini stanno crescendo rapidamente e presto entreranno nella stanza della musica solo con i loro amici, senza i genitori – avranno quasi tre anni in Settembre – e ora stiamo lavorando sulla loro autonomia e indipendenza, per facilitare questo passaggio.

Le nostre lezioni seguono infatti lo sviluppo musicale e cognitivo dei bambini; ogni sessione è pianificata in base alle loro esigenze, per stimolare non solo le loro abilità musicali ma anche la loro crescita generale.

I genitori sono fondamentali per noi durante questo processo, quindi è molto importante per noi che siano coinvolti durante gli incontri, godendosi le attività musicali tanto quanto i loro bambini.

PERCHÉ I GENITORI SONO DAVVERO IMPORTANTI DURANTE LE CLASSI DI MUSICA PER I BAMBINI?

Sono i riferimenti dei loro figli, quindi tutto ciò che fanno è un esempio per i loro bambini:

  • Tutto ciò che i genitori sentono durante la lezione condiziona i loro bambini. Se un genitore è ansioso o non si sente a suo agio durante la sessione, probabilmente influenzerà suo figlio in modo simile. Se una mamma o un papà sono rilassati, allora anche il bambino si sentirà rilassato.
  • Quando i genitori cantano, tengono il tempo o rispondono in maniera musicale, stanno mostrando al loro bambino come godersi la musica; stanno praticamente dicendo: “È tutto ok, possiamo cantare, ballare e muoverci in questo spazio”. Ciò aiuterà il loro bambino a sentirsi a proprio agio, sicuro e a godersi la sessione.
  • Nei nostri corsi, chiediamo ai genitori di accompagnare i brani con facili ostinati (note o pattern ripetuti): in questo modo i bambini saranno circondati da musica più ricca (chiamata polifonia) che supporterà lo sviluppo musicale dei bambini.
  • Giocare e cantare insieme ad altri genitori è anche un meraviglioso esempio di collaborazione e lavorare di squadra.

Caterina, our new piano teacher

Today we want to introduce you one of our new piano teacher, Caterina Toso!
She will start with us from September but she will be available for the trial sessions from June.

She is an amazing pianist from Italy and she will teach piano to all levels, starting from the youngest children with the Suzuki Method (but not only that!).

Read more about her amazing music CV:

Caterina has been playing the piano for more than twenty years. She graduated in piano
with highest grades and honours at the Conservatorio “A. Vivaldi” of Alessandria (Italy). Here she also obtained a Master Degree in Piano Performance with highest grades and honours at the age of 22. During her studies she took part to many national and international competitions where she placed in the top three positions and in 2010 she was chosen to be part of the “Study Abroad” project which allowed her to attend “Hugh Hodgson School of Music” (Georgia University – Athens, GA, USA).

Following the professional path she had the chance to study with important pianists (such as
Bruno Canino, Pascal Rogé, Benedetto Lupo, Folke Greasbeck, …) and to perform both as a soloist and in ensemble formations in several cities in the north of Italy, France and Rome in Parco della Musica. In 2016 she perfected her skills with M° Roberto Plano at the “Accademia Musicale Varesina” (Varese – Italy).


Caterina has been teaching the piano for almost ten years, both to children and adults. In order to deliver a natural and entertaining teaching style she became a certified teacher in Suzuki and Willems method. She has also explored Gordon’s Music Learning Theory through workshops held at Highbury Park Music.
In 2018 she collaborated on a very unique project called “AMI” (Inclusive Music Activity) that helps people with physical and mental disabilities express and connect playing in small orchestras.

Music and Memory

The connection between music and memory is really strong and develops in many different ways!

For example:

  • we can use music to learn a new language memorising the lyrics of a song in a different language;
  • we can play music to recall memories from the past;
  • we can sing an old song to stimulate an injured brain… the possibilities are many!

When children are involved in music activities, they need to memorise the rules of the game, the melody, the lyrics and the movement, developing in that moment working memory.

What about when a child is learning how to play an instrument? Their memory is always involved!

 Let’s make an example:

– a child to be able to read the note DO on the music stave must recall the information stored in their memory regarding the other notes and correlate them with a first mental representation, both visual and auditory (semantic memory);

– coordinate the fingers using a whole set of visuospatial, auditory and motor programming strategies that involve short and long-term memory (and not only);

– implement a set of cognitive functions including working memory, to control and balance gesture-sound coordination.

Easy, right? 🙂

A musician’s brain is different

Studies suggest that musicians have better:

  • memory
  • understanding of non-verbal communication
  • coordination and dexterity
  • learning abilities
  • attention to detail
  • understanding of cognitive and emotional aspects of information
  • planning and strategising skills

Every week we will analyse one of these aspects that are really important to us as music educators and therapists for the development of our students’ musical skills.

First one: memory!