If you've been following MK Southbury lately, then you know that we love all things Soulshine Arts and all things Music Together. As my girls and I wrap up our third semester of music class, I wanted to take the opportunity to give our readers a taste of what we've learned over these last eight weeks and how we've benefited from the program.
But before we get to that, let's talk about the AMAZING news Soulshine Arts Owner and Director Leslie Pratt dropped this week.....
Are you looking for a place to meet other moms?
Do you want the opportunity to recharge through classes like meditation or yoga?
Are you a new mom finding yourself in need of breastfeeding or postpartum support?
Are you looking for that perfect place for your child's birthday?
Well, Soulshine Arts will soon be offering all of that and more!
Coming this May, Soulshine Arts is opening a brand new family wellness center on 530 Middlebury Road in Middlebury. This new wellness center will be the "one stop shop" for all things mommy. Not only will you get your favorite music classes, Leslie and her team will be offering all of programs and services you need to the best mom you can be, and your best self.
As of now, Soulshine Arts Family Wellness Center plans to offer classes/programs on meditation, yoga, baby sign language, postpartum & breastfeeding support, parenting programs, birthing classes, Music Together, musical storytime and birthday parties. However, if you follow Soulshine Arts on Facebook you know that Leslie is open to new ideas and wants to hear from all of you about what need and want. Like and follow her page on Facebook @soulshineartsct for the latest updates on the family wellness center and send her a message if you have any ideas about programs or classes! Oh and if you would like to teach any of these programs email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell her all about your talents and skills!
Congratulations Soulshine Arts and we can't wait for the grand opening!!
Now, back to Music Together.....
If you aren't familiar, Soulshine Arts presents Music Together offers local families the opportunity to take music classes through the "internationally loved and research-based music and movement curriculum known as Music Together." Classes are designed for children and their caregivers to attend and provides students (both young and old) with an opportunity to immerse themselves in music through singing, instruments, dancing and movement.
Programs consist of mixed-age family music class for ages birth through 5-years old as well as a Babies Only class for the "tiniest music makers" (ages birth - 8 months).
Why should you sign up? Well Music Together provides a TON of benefits to participants including but not limited to:
Emotional Well-Being: "The act of singing releases endorphins (the brain's 'feel good' chemicals)." Additionally, "Group singing has been scientifically proven to lower stress, relieve anxiety, and elevate endorphins"
Sense of Community: The Soulshine Family has become a "community of families and network of support for each other." Be it in class or beyond, the families of Soulshine Arts truly care about each other and the children taking part in the program. There is not only a shared sense of community but a shared joy in the lessons learned through Music Together.
Tools for Your Parenting Toolbox: Not only do parents experience an opportunity for joyful bonding time with their children, they also gain various tools for their parenting toolbox through the development of their musical selves. Additionally, the program isn't just about the weekly 45 minutes in class. Parents are given CD's to take home which become life-savers for those tough times in the car or anywhere else. Leslie puts it best when she says, "I think there are several reasons [why children respond to the songs]. The songs are familiar; they are in the little ones' brains and bodies, they are sung to them at home by their caregivers, and they know them from all the classroom activities. This creates a feeling of comfort and safety around the songs they hear."
Learning: Music is truly the most "whole child" activity there is! Music Together's activities designed to create new neural connections across the hemispheres of the brain. Children are learning with their whole bodies, minds and hearts as well.
As a Music Together parent, I can vouch for all of these benefits. Like I said earlier, my girls and I are just about finished with our third semester of Music Together. I'm a self-proclaimed Music Together veteran so I knew that the class would be amazing (as it always is), but I have to say the changes/connections made in such a short period of time never cease to amaze me.
For example, during the course of the winter semester it was wonderful to see my 3-year-old daughter's ability to learn the songs and sing-along to them in class. It was right around the middle of the semester when I noticed that she was literally singing every word during class! I couldn't believe how engaged she was and how quickly she picked up on the songs!
My younger daughter has also learned a great deal during our time in class. Every week she gains a new skill or learns a new note, which she is proud to show off in class. She learned to clap her hands and drum with the music. She even sings some of the songs herself!
One of my favorite aspects of Music Together is that it isn't just about the music. It gives kids the opportunity to spend time with their peers, learn vital social skills and model appropriate behavior for one another. My children have grown leaps and bounds as they've worked on taking turns and sharing instruments in class. They've had the opportunity to engage with other students their age and made new friends as well!
Along with the benefits my children have gained from this program I too have grown from my time in Music Together. Of course, I love having "Tools for my Parenting Toolbox" such as "go-to" songs during tantrums or transitions, but I also love the stress relief and sense of joy I feel after class. As any parent knows, trying to get the kids out of the house to make it somewhere on-time can be a stressful experience. Usually, I'm running into Music Together slightly aggravated about how long or difficult the morning routine was. But, about 10 minutes into the class all of that stress melts away and I realize I'm singing and bopping along to the music with a smile on my face!
This semester I've also enjoyed the strong sense of community I've felt within the program. Not only have I had the opportunity to meet and spend time with other families during class, Soulshine Arts has such a nuturing virtual presence that you truly feel part of something big! I've appreciated that connection and look forward to further opportunities to meet other families in the future!
As the winter is wrapping up and everyone is looking to set their spring schedules I encourage you to give Music Together a try. It is not just a music class. It is truly a bonding experience that becomes ingrained into your daily life and fosters connections and memories that last a lifetime.
Hope to see you in class this spring!