Summer Camps in Reston at The Lake House

ArtsImmSummerMainPicEDSC_0054Summer Camps with Little Hands at the newly-renovated Lake House (near Brown’s Chapel) in Reston – 11450 Baron Cameron Ave

Ages 4-6 years, M-F 9:30 – 12

Read more and register here.

Instruments, Movement, Games, Stories, and Crafts around the week’s theme

6/27-7/1 or 8/1-5 Princesses and Pirates          

8/29-9/2 All Around the Kitchen

Arabella, the Musical Princess, Captain Balderdash, and Kitchen Band Man will visit!

YC glock photo

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The Wind Blow East

by Sandy Yagel, Little Hands Educator and Staff Writer

Bahaman sloops

Bahaman sloops

This song comes to us from the Bahamas and is descriptive of a most powerful wind, a hurricane storm sweeping across the islands. And with its power, the hurricane has blown several boats all the way down to the center of town! The Sunshine, the China and the Setting Star are the names of three boats that were swept from their docks and blown down to the center of the town.

Betsy Leon is the solo vocalist on our recording of The Wind Blow East.  Miss Betsy teaches Little Hands classes in BetsyLeonAshburn and Reston. She has been a part of the Master Singers of Virginia since 1999 and is active as an accompanist and cantor at St. Theresa Church in Ashburn, Virginia where she lives with her family. (More here about Miss Betsy.)

Thankfully we don’t see such a powerful wind as this song describes often. But we do see the effects of wind all the time.CIMG3538 Talk about things that the wind can blow with your child … leaves, dandelions, clouds, wind chimes, scarves.

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Wind and Rain – Legato and Staccato

We use weather concepts to feel various musical concepts, from tiptoeing, staccato raindrops, to flowing legato wind.  We feel these musical characteristics as we move to music, either as we are singing, playing instruments or as we listen and move to recorded music.

Hand in the rain

The Delibes Pizzicato gives us a chance to experience contrasting staccato (that is, detached) and legato (connected) sections.  We pretend to be raindrops or things being blown in the wind as we move and listen. Then we can integrate the visual by making pictures of these musical elements, perhaps with dots and wavy lines.  In this way, we connect:

What we do

What we hear

What we see

This kind of integration helps children solidify concepts by hooking the experience with the language.  Synchronizing movement, sound and sight is a satisfying way to learn!

 

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This Little Wind – Meet the Artist

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 8.24.44 PM“Miss Kathy” Preisinger composed the melody, and arranged the song This Little Wind initially as a training assignment for Master Certification in Orff-Schulwerk. When it was time to compile resources for the “Weather or Not” unit, it was a perfect fit to record the lovely pentatonic scale composition. The lyrics are a traditional poem by that prolific author, “anonymous.” :) You can listen to the recording below to hear the beautiful melody with interesting additions to the accompaniment.

Little Hands families ArtsImmSummerMainPicE(and our staff of teachers!) have been enjoying Miss Kathy’s music-making for over 15 years. She currently teaches classes in Centreville, Manassas and Vienna, as well as at several preschools in the area. She is a dedicated educator, talented musician and engaging presenter of music and movement at ALL levels, infant through adult!

Listen below and feel free to add the song to your library at home here. (Track #2)

 

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Down in the Valley – Meet the Artist

Doug Martin, husband of “Miss Jackie” Wright and a member of our recording team, talks about the process of arranging and recording our fun make-a-motion song from Winter session classes, Down in the Valley. 
“When it was time to record this, it was presented to us as a sort of hand-clapping sing-along tune…which was fun, and appropriate to the character of the music…but we’d already recorded some things in that style, and we felt this could maybe go in a different direction. Something about it reminded me of “Wild Nights” by Van Morrison – that trumpet-and-sax-driven style of rock music, and so we decided to see if we could pull that off.
“I came up with a structure for it (introduction, followed by the first verse, etc.) and it ended up that we would need voice, drum set, electric guitar and trumpet, all of which we could handle. But it also meant an electric bass, as well as saxophone and trombone. So I wrote out some parts, then we brought in some former students of mine to do the bass and sax parts, as well as a colleague who plays trombone and (importantly) bass trombone.
“If I remember right, the recording went pretty smoothly. As sometimes happens, while we were recording, some new ideas came out – we decided to record Jackie‘s singing twice to give it a little more power against all the instruments that were going on, and that worked well. Finally, with the bass trombone, we loved what he brought to the song so much that we added a last note just for him.
“We’re really proud of the result! It’s probably the most ‘rocking’ thing we’ve recorded for Little Hands. It took many hours to come up with the concept, arrange it and record all the parts…yet it goes by in under two minutes!”

Listen below, or download here (Track #9)!
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Hands on Shoulders

Mother holding her child's hand

Hands on shoulders, hands on knees, hands behind you, if you please. 

Touch your shoulders, touch your nose, touch your chin, and touch your toes.

What is it about body part chants and songs that children love? A recent study by Seidl, Tincoff, Baker and Cristia (2015) found that body chants and songs where a caregiver simultaneously touched the corresponding body part while chanting or singing helps infants to identify the words. Touch helps to facilitate language learning which is why so many first words for infants come from body part identification. As an infant grows into a toddler, body part identification is important to promote a growing awareness of his or her body. Body part chants and songs like Hands on Shoulders can teach movement in direction such as up and down, sequencing of what comes next and following directions for preschoolers. Enjoy Hands on Shoulders wherever your child is in his or her development!

(Download the recording from Little Hands “Weather or Not” album, here.)

Post written by Vanessa Talbott, MA, Little Hands music and movement educator

Reference: Seidl, A., Tincoff, R., Baker, C., & Cristia, A. (2015). Why the body comes first: effects of experimenter touch on infants’ word finding. Developmental Science, 18(1), 155–164.

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Birds

4133fd7178b19e441e4ae46b7d943fa7-w204@1x  No Two Alike by Keith Baker

“Follow a pair of birds on a snowflake-filled journey though a gorgeous winter landscape to explore how everything everywhere is wonderfully unique—from branches and leaves to forests and trees to friends and loved ones.” (Publisher’s description)

This story is a delightful way to introduce children to the concept of “same and different.”  Young children learn through opposites, and they learn to see likenesses and differences with practice.  The playful birds, and colorful winter scenes will give children ample opportunities for practicing these skills.

Discriminatory listening is also a skill that can be practiced, and is key for language development, and musical learning. Listen with your child to these live sound recordings from Audubon’s Bird Guide. Use the Audubon interactive website guide to find your favorite backyard birds and learn more about their habits, diets, and songs!

Listen to the Song of the Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinal Credit: Audubon.org

American Goldfinch Credit: Audubon.org

Listen to the Song of the American Goldfinch

 

 

 

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2015 Fall FREE Preview Class Schedule

ToddlerDrumlargeFREE Preview Classes

Fall 2015

Call 703.631.2046 or email bfrook@littlehands.com to reserve your family’s spot in one of these all-ages-welcome preview classes in studio locations.

 September 8 Tuesday 10:00 am CENTREVILLE

   Compton Village Rec Center, 14401 Compton Village Dr

 September 9 Wednesday 10:00 am ASHBURN

          Brambleton Comm Center, 42645 Regal Wood Drive

 September 10 Thursday 10:00 am RESTON

          Brown’s Chapel, 11300 Baron Cameron Avenue

 September 10 Thursday 10:00 am MANASSAS

          Freedom Center, GMU Manassas Campus

 September 14 Monday 10:00 am ASHBURN

Creative Dance Center, 44710 Cape Court, Suite #126

 September 15 Tuesday 9:15 am OLNEY

          Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd

4200 Olney-Laytonsville Rd.

 September 15 Tuesday 6:30 PM OLNEY

          Faith Pres. Church, 17309 Old Baltimore Rd.

September 17 Thursday 1:30 PM ROCKVILLE

          UUC, 100 Welsh Park Drive

(NOTE: a free preview or trial is available in Centers and preschools where Little Hands offers enrichment classes.  Let your child’s teacher know and we’ll include them!)

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Happy Father’s Day!

adambennett

Happy Fathers Day 2015

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Fuzzy Wuzzy Caterpillar – The Struggling Preschooler

Fuzzy Wuzzy caterpillar, curled up on a leaf
Spun her little chrysalis, and then fell fast asleep.
While she was sleeping, she dreamed that she could fly
And later when she woke up, she was a butterfly!

The children in a preschool classroom are all a “flutter” about the magic happening right before their eyes.  The caterpillars are spinning chrysali and soon will be butterflies! They can hardly wait.  We discuss the importance of allowing the butterfly the time and space it needs to push its way out of the chrysalis.  “But what if it needs help?” asks one. “We just have to let it work hard, and get stronger,” I reply.

Photo Credit: Sarah Frook

Photo Credit: Sarah Frook

Allowing the lovely creature to struggle, stretch and work its own way out of the chrysalis is the key to its building the strength needed to survive, to move with coordination, to fly!

Such a clear example from Mother Nature of an important parenting skill – knowing when not to help, to allow a child to work through a struggle on their own, to get stronger as they do, to be able to have the strength and coordination to fly!

We so want our children to succeed, to avoid the pain of struggle, and to “get it” the first time.  That is not always realistic, nor does it teach patience, perseverance and persistence – all characteristics of very successful adults.  In childhood, we learn these skills by working on a task, and sometimes having trouble with it.  As a wise parent friend said to me once, “Small children, small problems…Big children, big problems!” Allowing our children to work hard as small children on small problems, will enable them to problem solve later.

What are some ways we can allow some time and space between a child having trouble with a task, and our jumping in to fix the problem.  Here’s a short list to keep in mind:

  1. Describe what you see. “I see you’re trying to put the cover on that box.”
  2. Ask questions.  “Have you thought about turning the cover?”
  3. Encourage without solving. “Hmmm.  That is difficult, but I know you can do it!”
  4. If frustrations run to the edge of manageable (or over the edge) ask, “Would you like to brainstorm?” OR “How about taking a break and trying again with some new ideas?”
  5. Model the problem-solving steps out loud….”What is going wrong? How can I change what I’m doing to solve the problem?”

Imagine the sense of accomplishment your child will feel, having done it themselves!

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