Music Together in Phoenix

By Kathy Rowe on July 02, 2014


 Our blog has moved, and we're so happy to welcome you to our new home on the Music Together in Phoenix website! You can find our latest posts below, and if you're looking for older entries, you can find them on our old blog site here!  We hope to see you again soon! 



What!? My Brain is Plastic!?
By Kathy Rowe on July 02, 2014

I really love making music with young children and their mommies, daddies, grandmas and caregivers! I feel so fortunate to have been able to do this awesome work for many years and, while I truly believe that music-learning for it's very own sake is KING (and also supports a child's development in almost all areas), I was recently listening to a talk at our annual Music Together® Conference, from Karl Paulneck, and learned how music learning is even MORE powerful than I had previously known. Music even helps the brain develop and grow!

First of all, here is a little bit of brain information: we know that brain' ability to make new connections, repair themselves and restructure is super important. This helps us learn new things, solve problems, and relate to the world. Can you imagine not being able to learn new things just because you were turning 50 soon? This would be so personally disturbing. We used to believe that the brain was a physiologically static organ, but new research is showing otherwise! Yaaa! The brain's plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, describes how our experiences reorganize neural pathways. When we learn new things, our brains get structured accordingly. This is super exciting.

More exciting news that I learned from Karl Paulneck: there are FOUR things that stimulate the brain's neuroplasticity. Drum roll please......

  1. MUSIC
  2. Intentional EXERCISE (and movement)
  3. PLAY
  4. NUMINOUS EXPERIENCES (experiences that take us away from our ego and when our sense of self is absorbed, such as spiritual experiences or possibly singing in a choir/ playing in a band or group music making at Music Together)
Anyone who has been to a Music Together class knows that we do all four of these things each and every week we get to see our families. The numinous experience happens when families are singing and moving together with their children and get lost in that awesome soup of sound with silly ostinatos, or rounds, or precious lullabies into babies ears.

I love that our brains are "plastic"!
♥ Kathy Rowe
Music Together in Phoenix

PS Read more about Karl Paulneck's Welcome Address at the Boston Conservatory: Welcome Address



Music is a Universal Language from Laila Hirtz
By Kathy Rowe on June 27, 2014

 Each semester means new beginnings as a Music Together teacher. We may have repeat families, or classrooms that are very familiar, but each new class has their own feel, pace and energy. You never know what “mood” each class will bring. 

This last fall, our center was invited to teach outreach classes through First Things First at Maricopa Integrated Health Services in South Phoenix and Maryvale; at first, I wasn't sure how the classes would work. Most of our families attended did not speak very much (or any) English (and my Spanish is horrible!). While this may seem to be a negative, it was really a hidden blessing. It proves to me and my families each week that music is a universal language, and we don’t have to speak to each other to make music together.

It DID work! We communicated in so many ways and especially through the music. We made eye contact, we mimiced each other’s behaviors, and we had fun together! We used big and little arms, loud and soft voices, and watched each other for cues. At first, the children were the ones communicating with me through touches, waving of their arms and loud noises. They would get my attention and mimic what it was they wanted me to do, and I always understood. Seeing me have such fun with their children encouraged the adults to do the same, and soon we had a wonderful community feeling and rapport with each other, even if it was not through words.
Our class experiences were a terrific way of proving that music can be its own "language"!! We sang vocables (“la la la” or “do do do”) and also the regular lyrics to songs. And when we threw in verses of “Jack In The Box” or “Mary Had a Red Dress”, it was so apparent that the families had been listening to the CD's! We even had English learning happening through music.

This way of communicating may seem like it was a minor feat, once we were in the middle of the semester, it was huge! I felt a deep closeness to the families, and had heard many (translated) stories of music making and musical behaviors of the children at home. The families knew all of the songs; they even sang loud enough that I could barely hear myself - which is every Music Together teacher’s dream.
Music is a Universal Language

from Laila Hirtz

Early Childhood Music Specialist and all around super fun human bean!