Thu, December 18th, 2014

Advent Crafts & Music – Three Great Kings

The finger play and rhyme, Three Great Kings, helps our little ones celebrate the Epiphany and remember that the goal of our journey is Christ.  It also helps in developing beat development, but that's another story.  You can make these fun paper puppets based on the illustrations in your songbook, to help act out the rhyme and celebrate the Epiphany. 

Click here for printable pages for children who want to color their own Three Kings puppets.  We also have pre-colored Kings for little ones to easily cut out here

Remember to keep your puppet-play rhythmic when doing the rhyme!  Be sure and share some pictures or video of your Three Kings puppet show on our Facebook page or Pinterest!  We'd love to share your work too!

Here's Kate & Katya with Three Great Kings! 

 

Thu, December 18th, 2014

Sarah Reinhard on Making Music into More than Pretty Sounds

Many thanks to Sarah Reinhard, author of A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy: Walking with Mary from Conception to Baptism, for her recent review of Making Music Praying Twice over at the National Catholic Register.  Here's a bit of what Sarah had to say about us…

Don’t think music is important? Go to Mass where the music isn’t what you expected or isn’t what you like or is just plain awful. Then attend a Mass where the music blows you away with its quality.

There’s a difference. And while music is NOT why we go to Mass, it can really impact things. 

reinhard-sarah

Sarah Reinhard

I don’t know why, then, it should surprise me that music can play such a big part in changing how my days go…with my kids, with my work, with my outlook on life. Sometimes, all I have to do is turn on something quiet in the background to feel a little sanity returning. Other times, a more upbeat playlist hits the spot.

The team at Making Music Praying Twice has fused the importance of music and their passion for excellence. They’ve designed a program that brings children and parents together with music and movement. Their goal is simply stated: “While the gift of music education is invaluable, the gift of music combined with prayer is immeasurable.”

Read the rest of her review here

Take advantage of our Christmas special – free shipping on all orders over $25 until December 30th.  Use Promo Code NICHOLAS at check out.

Be sure to follow Sarah at her blog, Snoring Scholar!

 

Wed, December 17th, 2014

O Come O Come Emmanuel – Advent Activity

In our Making Music Praying Twice curriculum, we teach the first verse only of O Come O Come Emmanuel, so our young students, many of whom are just learning to talk, do not struggle with the lyrics.  If you'd like to teach the rest of the lyrics, you may wish to focus on one each day and use this craft to reinforce the lyrics:

1.  Print the Patterns.  Click here to get yours!

2.  Hang the picture of Baby Jesus, Emmanuel, in the manger in a place the children can see.  Emmanuel literally means, "God with us".

3.  Each time your children learn a verse, they can color the symbol, cut it out and decorate the manger.

emmanuel-craft

CHAIN – symbolizes the captives
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

TEN COMMANDMENTS – symbolizes the law
O come, O come, Thou Lord of Might,
Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai's height,
In ancient times didst give the law,
In cloud, and majesty, and awe. Refrain

TREE – symbolizes Rod of Jesse
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave. Refrain

CLOUD – symbolizes the clouds that the light will disperse
O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death's dark shadows put to flight. Refrain

KEY – symbolizes Key of David
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery. Refrain

DOVE – symbolizes Wisdom
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go. Refrain

HEART – symbolizes the hearts of mankind
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of peace. Refrain

Let us know how it goes and share your pics or video on our Facebook page!  Visit our Kids Activities page for more ideas for Advent & Christmas!

Wed, December 3rd, 2014

Designing Your Own Music Lesson Plans

Ready to design your own music lesson plans?  Good for you! Here are some guidelines to help you prep lesson for your homeschool, co-op, or preschool.

  • Include all the songs in the curriculum at some point throughout the season
  • Include all the songs in the curriculum at some point throughout the season
  • In any given lesson, it’s better to spend more time exploring a song deeply,
    than to fit in as many songs as possible
  • Leave some wiggle room for the children to add their own creative ideas
  • Use your child(ren)’s ideas as a springboard for class activities
  • Try to balance the meters and tonalities represented like so:            

    • Major – most,  Minor – some,  Mixed or Other – some                        
    • Even meter – most, Triple meter – some, Other – one     
    • Most songs are Major tonality and Even meter.                           
    • The Manual gives details for most of the exceptions.
  • Use the provided lesson plans as a guide.
  • Keep somewhat of a routine to the lessons (example below)
  • Balance the activities as outlined below

Daily 15-20 minute lessonsboy_with_bells

Weekly 45-minute lesson

  • Good Day
  • Prayer Time
  • Sit and Sing
  • Spoken Chant
  • Rhythm Patterns
  • Shaky Eggs
  • Instrument Play
  • Scarf Dance
  • Other Manipulative
  • Dance Activity
  • Prayer Time
  • God Bless

Visit our Pinterest Music Education Board for more inspiration & ideas!

Tue, November 25th, 2014

Sample Lesson Plans for Your Music Program

So, you've completed the Family Musical Assessment and reviewed the 4 Step Plan to get started, but maybe you need a little bit more help.  In our Family Edition Parent Manual, you'll find several options for lesson planning to help you create music education lessons for the little ones in your life.  Below are samples of some of the lessons and tools provided.  Also, in the Manual, lesson plans include page numbers to view more specific suggestions for each song, and each activity is outlined in separate detail.

Ordinary Time Fall  –  Daily 15 Minute Lesson Plan #8

1.    Good Day
2.    Prayer – Magnificat
3.    Sit and Sing – Creative Substitutions – Sissy in the Barn
4.    Spoken Rhyme – Old King Cole
5.    Rhythm Patterns
6.    Shaky Eggs – Hamaba
7.    Scarf Dancing– My Bonnie
8.    Tonal Patterns
9.    God Bless

Advent – Christmas – Epiphany – Weekly 45 Minute Lesson Plan #2lessonplan1

1.    Good Day
2.    Prayer – O Come O Come Emmanuel for Advent or Silent Night for Christmas
3.    Sit and Sing – Baa Baa Black Sheep
4.    Tonal Patterns
5.    Sit and Sing Substituting Names – Where Is Thumbkin?
6.    Spoken Rhyme – Three Great Kings
7.    Rhythm Patterns
8.    Shaky Eggs – Christmas Dance
9.    Free Instrument Play – Little Drummer Boy
10.    Lullaby to Baby Jesus – Coventry Carole
11.    Tonal Patterns
12.    Dancing with Streamers/Parachute – Wiggeldy Wag
13.    Dancing with Scarves – A La Nanita
14.    Prayer – Dona Nobis Pacem
15.    God Bless

Stay up to date with Making Music Praying Twice! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or join us on Pinterest!

Mon, November 17th, 2014

Little Angels Music Kit – Designed for the Homeschool Co-op or Catholic Playgroup

Our Little Angels Kit gives you the tools to run a program for up to ten families.  Ideal for Preschools, Playgroups, Religious Ed, and Children's Choir applications, you can add on in easy increments of 5 or 10.  Each family will have a CD to take home for the season, and the teacher/leader is equipped with an extensive instruction manual with lots of options and flexibility.  There is information to help the beginner as well as more detail for an experienced music teacher.  Little Angels teachers are free to take the Online or In-person Teacher Training Workshop to better enhance their ability to provide the program, but this is not required.Little Angels 10-Pack (1 of 1)  

You can pick and choose the equipment convenient and affordable to you using guidance from the manual, or even put together guided classes with simple singing and dancing.  Little Angels is a tool for you, affording you the flexibility with the benefits of our well-designed curriculum to help you take your homeschool co-op or playgroup experience to the next level.

What you get:

•    10 copies of the seasonal CD at a significant bulk discount
•    Comprehensive leader/teacher's guide in PDF format
•    Available in smaller 5-packs to better customize to the size of your group
•    Additional discounts and bonus products with a full-year's package!
•    Curriculum can be reused yearly, simply order more CDs for your new families

 “By incorporating songs of play, songs of the world, and songs of faith, into one comprehensive CD, we teach children that faith is a natural part of everyday life. So often, our children have separate materials for education, entertainment, and faith. This sends a message that these parts of our life must live in different places.  Music easily allows all of these important areas to live together in our lives and our hearts.”

 –Kate Daneluk, Co-founder of Making Music Praying Twice

Tue, November 11th, 2014

Setting the Thanksgiving Table

As we busily prepare our Thanksgiving feast, children are well entertained and put to work by helping to set the table. By offering small pumpkins, gourds, fruits and nuts, a bountiful centerpiece can be created. Younger children can contribute crafts from hand turkeys to pilgrim hats made from toilet paper and paper towel rolls, construction paper and paste.  All of this puts us in the Thanksgiving mood. But consider some décor that could help us truly remember the Thanksgiving spirit. By including thankful scripture quotes, we help our guests to remember whom we are thanking. 

  • Children can print quotes in fancy fonts and embellish with markers, fall leaves, and construction paper to make placemats. (Use contact paper if you plan to save them)

  • With the help of the ever-useful paper-towel rolls, create individual napkin rings. Each guest can read their scripture quote at the table!

  • If you have a large roll of butcher paper, a runner can be created filled with handwritten Scripture quotes and personal prayers of thanks by all the guests.

  • A talented teen or tween may practice some calligraphy skills for more mature decorations.

  • Print smaller Bible quotes and tape to the stem of wine glasses. Learn your quote and avoid losing your glass!

  • Some families create a “gratitude tree." Give guests ornaments with Scripture on one side and room on the other for their thankful prayers.

Here are a dozen short verses to get you started*:

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, his mercy endures forever. – Ps 118:1

I may praise God’s name in song and glorify it with thanksgiving. – Ps 69:31.

Hallelujah! Give thanks to the LORD, who is good, whose love endures forever. – Ps 106:1

Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; with the lyre make music to our God. –Ps 147:7

Everything indeed is for you, so that the grace bestowed in abundance on more and more people may cause the thanksgiving to overflow for the glory of God. – 2 Cor 4:15

You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. – 2Cor 9:11,12

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected when received with thanksgiving. -1Tim 4:4

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his kindness endures forever. – 1Chron 16:34

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise. Give thanks to him, bless his name – Ps 100:4

Give thanks to the LORD, acclaim his name; among the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is his name. – Is 12:4

And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. – Col 3:17

In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. – 1 Thes 5:18

*All verses are NAB.

Please share your ideas for ways to incorporate Scripture into your holiday décor and post pictures of your children’s masterpieces on our Facebook page!

Thu, November 6th, 2014

Does Size Matter?

I have six children aged 15 to 8 months.  I have gotten to the number where those with fewer start to wonder and awe a bit at how I manage it all.  (The trick is that I don’t!)
 
Sometimes, when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I envy people with 2 or 3 children.  Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to have all my kids able to get their own breakfast, use the toilet, or read a book.  I imagine driving someone to dance class and cheering on the baseball team without a nursing baby and a wandering 3-year-old to juggle through the process.
 
Well, the summer of 2014 offered an opportunity, thanks to some family friends, to take bring the children to a beach house for a few days.  It didn’t make sense for me to take up a bed in an over-crowded vacation home filled with extended family when I’d be indoors, nursing the baby most of the time.  So, I was alone with a baby for two and a half days while my husband/superhero took the crew to the shore.  That would have terrified me 13 years ago, but I’m a pro, right?
 
 
It was peaceful.  The baby got everything he needed when he wanted it.  I took care of him and took care of myself.  But, we both got lonely after a day.  Yes, he missed them.  I had to be everything to this baby.  Then I remembered, having one baby is challenging.  It can be overwhelming.
 
Don’t get me wrong.  Having six is overwhelming sometimes, but in a whole new way.  Here is what I re-learned during that time:
 
ONE – You only have time to unload the top rack of the dishwasher before the baby screams to get picked up.  It will take a day and half to complete the dishwasher emptying process.
 
SIX – Kids can help with chores, like emptying the dishwasher, but you need to turn over the dishwasher 2-3 times per day and the kitchen is almost always a mess.
 
ONE – It can be boring with nothing to do but nurse, clean things and watch this baby grow.  If you do have more to do, you don’t have much opportunity to do it.
 
SIX – You are constantly balancing the needs of teens, school-aged kids, preschoolers and babies.  You wish you had more time to nurse, clean things and watch this baby grow.  You also wish you had more time and resources for each one of them.
 
ONE – You are always tired.
 
SIX – You are always tired.
 
ONE – You have no one to talk to outside of Facebook until you get some time with your husband.  You proceed to talk to him nonstop while he takes the baby for a little while and you finally eat or shower.
 
SIX – You are constantly listening to stories, opinions, dramatizations, complaints, arguments, questions, and conversations which you relay to your husband when you get some precious time together.  He doesn’t take the baby from you because he is giving the currently displaced toddler some special attention.
 
ONE – You can’t get a shower.  This is where Pollyannas like me start thanking God that at least you live a country that HAS showers!
 
SIX – You can usually get a shower if you really want to, but you won’t be alone.  This is where I start reminding myself that every time someone barges into the bathroom; I can be assured that they are still alive despite my 7 minute disappearance.
 
You get the idea.  Going through it again for a few days brought me back.  It also helped me remember that having two children could be challenging, having three and four and five all had their overwhelming moments.  None of them were the same.  I know a mom with 14 children who had the challenge of not feeling like she could participate enough in her daughter’s wedding plans because the toddler had some serious health issues.
 
There is an up side and a down side to every family and every situation.  In the end, it is easier to focus on the up side.  Trust that God gave you the family which is right for all of you.  (He’s pretty smart that way.)  Family size is not a contest.  And remember, at least you HAVE a shower, even if you can’t use it!
 
What is your biggest blessing and challenge with the size of your family?
Wed, November 5th, 2014

4 Steps to Begin an Early Childhood Music Program at Home

Our products are thorough and comprehensive, but that doesn't mean excessive work for you.  The 273-page Family Edition Manual need not be read straight through.  We break down the program into smaller pieces that you can work on slowly over the years.  First, you will take a few weeks to prepare with the 4-step plan. 

STEP ONE – Learn the Curriculum

First, you will have to learn the songs.  Use the CD for your current or upcoming Liturgical Season and start listening.  Make an effort to really learn the songs.  Refer to the songbook if you encounter difficulties with words or foreign languages.  Yes, the kids are with you 94% of the time, so they can listen too.  Give yourself a week or two and you’ll be ready to go.

Rules for listening:

  • Sing along! As soon as you can, join in.  Do not model passive behavior for the children
  • Stop the CD.  Stop the CD now and then to practice a song more.  If you are all enjoying a song in the car, stop the CD and continue on your own.
  • Improvise! Make sure to change the names used in the songs to suit your family.  If you see a trend, like a song about farm animals, come up with some new verses for other animals.  Do not discourage “creative” ideas.  Who says a unicorn can’t live on this farm?

STEP TWO – Prepare Your Equipment

You will need some equipment to get the most out of Making Music Praying Twice in your home.  Some equipment is essential while other equipment is recommended, but not necessary.  Our Equipment Guide gives more specific information.

STEP THREE – Learn the Teaching Methods

While the family learns the music together, you can read over the song descriptions and recommendations in the Homeschool Edition Manual for the appropriate season.  This will explain the educational purpose of each song, as well as how to use it in class time and throughout the day.  The manual gives many ideas for creative ways families can make the songs their own.  You will find recommendations for different ages of children and sizes of family, so you can choose the ideas best for your needs.  Remember, you will be reusing this curriculum each year, so this is a smart investment of your time.

STEP FOUR – Assess and Plan

Take the Musical Assessment for My Family to help determine your specific music education goals.

Then, make an Unstructured Plan.  It’s especially important to do this if you scored 20 or less on the Musical Assessment for My Family.  Putting goals and plans in writing makes you much more likely to follow through.  Unstructured, integrated music is what truly builds a child’s aptitude, ability, and positive attitude for music.  Throughout the Making Music Praying Twice curriculum, you will find songs to accompany meals, prayer time, bath time, etc.  The songs flow smoothly through your daily life in order to bolster the musical environment.

Once you have this in place, make your structured plan.  Choose a time for music class when children are energetic and alert and be realistic in how much time you can devote to structured music education.  You may use the fully developed lesson plans included in the Family Edition Manual, or create your own using the lesson planning tools.

THEN – Follow through and do it!

Click here for more information about making your home a musical one!

Wed, October 29th, 2014

8 Questions to Evalute Your Family’s Musical Environment!

Does your home promote your young child's musical brain development during the most crucial years of growth? Evaluate your family's Current Music Environment to see how to best utilize the Making Music Praying Twice curriculum.

CHOOSE ALL THAT APPLY, INCLUDING AT LEAST ONE BEST ANSWER FOR EACH QUESTION

1.      The children and adults listen to music together
a.       at concerts
b.      throughout the day at home
c.       in the car
d.      if the TV show we’re watching has music. Do commercials count?
2.      My children see Mom
a.       playing instruments and/or singing regularly for myself
b.      singing nursery rhymes and kids’ songs to them
c.       singing along to the radio and TV and at Mass
d.      telling others that she is “tone-deaf."
3.      My children see Dad
a.       playing instruments and/or singing regularly for myself
b.      singing nursery rhymes and kids songs to them
c.       singing along to the radio and TV and at Mass
d.      telling others that he is “tone-deaf”
4.      My children see me dance
a.       at performances and rehearsals
b.      at several community and family gatherings
c.       around the house frequently
d.      maybe once at my cousin’s wedding
5.      Our current music collection
a.       includes a variety of music from different styles and cultures.
b.      includes special CDs we’ve gotten for the kids.
c.       includes my favorite music from when I was in high school.
d.      is buried in the garage.
6.      Our home has
a.       two or more musical instruments for adult use.
b.      one serious instrument used in the home.
c.       kiddy instruments for the kids to use.
d.      I think that Elmo toy came with a maraca.
7.      Written music
a.       is represented in my child’s décor, toys and books.
b.      is used frequently in our home.
c.       is around for the older kids’ music lessons.
d.      is available at our local library.
8.      Are we composers?
a.       Yes, at least one adult in our home writes vocal or instrumental music.
b.      We make up silly little songs all the time.
c.       We change around the words to songs to make them funny or meaningful. (“Kelly has a big sheepdog” instead of “Mary had a little lamb”)
d.      No.

Interpreting the Results

0 – 7 This is good time to really work on your home environment. Make sure to try to add fun music time to your day. Remember, you need to have fun and love music if you want it for your children. Don’t let your own fears and insecurities stop you. It is better for your child to see you try imperfectly, than to wait any longer to have music as a part of his life. The Homeschool Edition provides further guidance and can help you to make improvements in your musical home-life right away.

8 – 20 You have the skills to create a musical environment for your child, but you can do more. Use this as an opportunity to be more conscious of the musical choices you make at home and try to fill your child’s daily schedule with more opportunities for music. Be especially aware of suggestions in the Homeschool Edition Manual that help you to add music to mealtime, bath time, bedtime, etc. Also, you may need enhance your music equipment and CD collection. CD recommendations are provided in the manual.

21 – 35 You are doing great. Now you need to integrate the specific skills and content we present in this program to help your children. The Homeschool Edition Manual with guide you in creating Unstructured Education Plans for your child which specifically deal with the issue of environment. In your plan, take your current musical environment and try to add one or two elements to it so you could retest and gain at least 2 points.

36 – 48 You have a naturally strong musical home. Your child is likely already progressing well in music development simply by being in this environment. Try to integrate the Making Music Praying Twice curriculum into your family’s musical life, and add a structured music time to your week. You have the ability to use the curriculum in a rich and meaningful way for your child.

SCORING

3 points for every a.
2 points for every b.
1 point for every c.
0 points for every d

What do I do now? Browse our site for more information, testimonials, and videos. Or, click here to see 4 simple steps to begin your own at-home musical program!

Be part of the conversation – Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and visit us on Pinterest!