Director's Blog

Rhythm development in children
By Deb Cavanaugh on October 08, 2015

Just like in every other areas of child development, your child's rhythmic development will vary and will not follow a strict timetable.  For this reason, we don't put ages on the following chart, but keep an eye out for the different stages.  Remember, your modeling is the most important thing you can do for your child.  Clapping, playing percussion instruments or moving to the beat, being sure to accentuate each beat is one of the best things you can do to promote your child's progress in this area.  Below is a chart of the stages of Tonal and Rhythmic development.  Also check out the two articles following.


Tonal Development

Child “coos” or briefly intones slight descending patterns, usually around a one-pitch center.

Child sings songs utilizing skips and leaps away from one pitch. The pitches she or he sings are not the exact pitches of the song, but the direction of skips and leaps represent the song’s correct melodic contour.

Child sings some parts of the song correctly. Those parts may begin the song or progress to a resting pitch at the end of the song.

Child sings most parts of the song correctly and/or in tune.

Child sings entire songs correctly and in tune.

Rhythm Development

Child responds to music, but the movement is undefined and irregular.

Child moves with a characteristic gesture and/or songs with a characteristic pattern of rhythm. That gesture or pattern usually does not synchronize with the beat of the music she or he is hearing.

Child moves or sings with a consistent tempo. That tempo is usually different than the tempo of the music she or he is hearing.

Child’s movements often coincide with the beat of the music she or he is hearing or creating. She or he sings parts of the songs in the correct tempo and meter.

Child’s movements always coincide with the beat of the music she or he is hearing or creating. She or he sings entire songs in the correct tempo and meter.

By Deb Cavanaugh on September 28, 2015

      Audiation is a musical term created by Dr. Edwin Gordon. Audiation basically refers to singing a tune or rhythm in your head without making any sound with your voice or body.

       "Audiation is the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. One may audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music " - Edwin E. Gordon

      For many years, even before I started teaching Music Together®, I encouraged my private students to listen carefully, then sing a melody before they tried to play it.  Little did I know that I was encouraging audiation.  In order to sing in key, we have to be able to audiate.  Often, when learning a new instrumental piece, I sing it to myself or audiate the piece before trying to play it.  If it is implanted in my brain through my voice, I can then transfer it to my fingers.  Children can learn to audiate by singing a familiar song then singing it again leaving out a line or two but audiating so that when you start singing again, you pick up right in the perfect spot - without even missing a beat.  This works great with songs that have hand motions.  Try it at home.  It's fun and helpful to your child's and to your music development. 



The importance of singing lullabies to your child
By Deb Cavanaugh on September 21, 2015

      Every semester I talk about how important it is to sing lullabies.  I finally found a great article that tells some of the benefits of lullabies.  And here is another one:

      I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where music was a part of our every day life.  We sang in the car, every night after dinner and my siblings and I were always sung lullabies before going to sleep.  I can't remember a time when there was not music.  My father came from a musical family and had a great singing voice.  He taught me rounds, descants and harmonies before I was 4 years old.  My mother never sang a note in key her whole life, but I loved it when she sang.  She didn't know many songs but made up her own words to existing songs.  I can still hear her singing, "Rock a baby, rock a bye; Rock a baby, bye and bye" to the tune of Rock of Ages.  That is one of my most heartwarming memories from my childhood.  I hope you enjoy both articles, and please sing to your child or children every night.

By Deb Cavanaugh on July 28, 2015

Welcome to this new website.  I hope we all find it easy to navigate.  With the addition of two new Heldeberg Music Together sites and the loss of one, I decided it was time for a face lift.  Please let me know what you think of it.  I will be posting interesting articles or anecdotes from classes here from time to time.  I hope you enjoy it.

Here's the first article: