August 7, 2006
Exposing young children to music comes naturally to many parents who are convinced that music exposure is truly paying off as they observe their youngsters mature and develop.
Conchita Hansford, director of Oklahoma Baptist University’s Music Preparatory Department, consistently seeks to educate others to the value of childhood music experiences.
The music educator likes to share a child’s story to illustrate her point.
“Rose, a three-year-old, was born into a family where music was as integral a part of their lives as learning to walk and talk,” she said. “Neither her mom or dad are professional musicians, but both parents are actively involved in musical activities and are frequently singing, practicing for concerts, or playing the piano, while Rose dances and keeps time with her castanets, and baby sister Lillian bounces nearby in her ‘exer-saucer.’
“Mother Jill says Rose is already reading and has a wonderful gift of language much beyond her years,” said Hansford. “Jill is convinced that the rhythm, rhyme, and flow of the music have been positive inducements in this development. A growing body of research supports her observations.”
Hansford’s belief in the developmental role of music has led to her efforts to expand OBU’s Preparatory Department, which she had led since 1990.
Enrollment has begun for the department’s Kindermusik program. The program includes specialized classes for newborns through children age 5. Classes begin on August 24. To register, or for more details, call Hansford at 405-878-2319 or download a registration form online at http://www.okbu.edu/academics/finearts/music/departments/ preparatory.html.
Three levels of Kindermusik are offered at OBU. Kindermusik Village is for newborns to 18 months; Kindermusik Our Time for toddlers eighteen months to three years; and Kindermusik Imagine That! is for children three to five years old.
“Everybody knows babies love music. Gently bouncing a baby while you sing is not just fun, but feeling the beat actually helps wire babies’ brains to hear rhythm,” said Hansford. “Around the globe, parents sing to their infants in a special way, with a distinctive high pitch that’s soothingly slow for a lullaby and elaborately bright at playtime.
“Babies catch on quickly, able to perceive aspects of melody and recognize different beats at just a few months of age,” she said. “This early experience that parents do naturally is really important for learning down the road. Research proves that early integration of music into a child’s daily routine means improving his ability to think, reason, create, and express.”
With more than 25 years experience in early childhood development, Kindermusik is a globally recognized program in musical learning. Hansford and Hillary Anderson, both licensed Kindermusik educators, provide researched, developmentally-appropriate music and movement for children – newborn through age five.
Kindermusik Village instructs how sounds can develop physical, social, cognitive, and emotional skills. The class meets on Mondays at 10 a.m.
Kindermusik Our Time introduces the parents or caregiver and their child to a musical world of singing, imitating sounds, rhyming, sound identification, instrument exploration, and creative movement. The class meets on Mondays at 11 a.m.
Kindermusik Imagine That! pairs music with expressive language, storytelling, peer interaction, movement, and pretend play. Children will further expand cognitive and literacy skills as well as creativity and individuality. The classes meet on Wednesday at 10 a.m. for the 3-year-old group, and on Thursday at 11 a.m. for the 4-5 year-old-group. The morning classes are taught by Hansford. Thursday evening classes for the 3-5 year-old group are taught by Anderson.