Musical Miracles: The Life Story of Bryn Foyle

BRYN - 1 POUND 3 OUNCES

BRYN - 1 POUND 3 OUNCES

“With music, one’s whole future life is brightened. This is such a treasure in life that it helps us over many troubles and difficulties. Music is nourishment, a comforting elixir. Music multiplies all that is beautiful and of value in life.”   Zoltan Kodaly

For Denise and Bob Foyle, this could not be truer than in the story of their darling daughter Bryn. Bryn was a triplet who came 4 months early, born at a mere 23 weeks and 6 days gestation. Bryn’s siblings, Jack and Cate, survived just 5 days before passing. Despite being the smallest of the triplets at just 1 pound 3 ounces, dropping to only 13 ounces on her third day of life; Bryn continued to fight for 3 weeks at Riverside Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.  Bryn was then transferred to Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she endured an emergency surgery for a ruptured bowel that was causing her to go septic and plummeting her survival rate to less than 5%. After another abdominal surgery, a laser eye surgery and a third abdominal surgery to reconnect her bowel and put in a feeding tube, Bryn finally left the hospital at 6 pounds and 5.5 months old.

BRYN THRIVES ON MUSIC

BRYN THRIVES ON MUSIC

During Bryn’s stay at the hospital, Denise requested music therapy for her daughter. The same physiological effects that came from skin to skin time with Bryn’s parents were also present during music therapy. The monitors showcased her heart rate lowering and her respirations easing. A program called Sounds of Love allowed Bob and Denise to record their voices singing songs, reading Bible verses and telling stories, which could then be played in Bryn’s incubator at night to provide comfort for baby and parents.

bryn "rocking out" with WeJjoysing hammers

bryn "rocking out" with WeJjoysing hammers

Once released to come home, it was imperative that Bryn be kept safe from germs, which meant limited visitors and only short trips to the doctor. During this time, Bryn’s aunt and uncles gifted her with some Raffi CD’s and videos. Denise noticed Bryn would turn her head toward the music and tended to be most calm when music was playing.  Denise knew that music had to continue to be a part of Bryn’s life so she signed her up for WeJoySing when she was about 13 months old. Though Bryn was not walking yet, she would show her excitement in kicks, wiggles and a smile of pure joy while just pulling in the parking lot because she knew what was in store!

“One of the more miraculous things we saw was, like most preemies, she had a minor speech delay initially; so, she was in speech therapy with Help Me Grow in our home. What we found was she learned to sing before she learned to talk!” Denise recounts that Bryn had a few words like ‘momma’, ‘dadda’, ‘ball’, ‘doggy’ and was not yet able to form sentences, but she could sing the verses to Pony Boy and Dinah Won’t You Blow Your Horn! “I found that so fascinating! My husband and I are not musical, but she has always been able to find the beat and bounce in time!”

bryn accompanying "The more we get together!!"

bryn accompanying "The more we get together!!"

Denise is certain that Bryn’s progress in speech and language development were aided by her time in WeJoySing classes. Bryn’s social skills blossomed as she met children in her classes saying, “they met as one-year-old babies, and now they’re four and a half and still play together.”  Denise also noted that even though attention span is something that children born pre-maturely tend to struggle with, she enjoyed watching the attention span of her daughter grow year by year.

bryn & Mrs. Karen ....quite the loving pair!!!

bryn & Mrs. Karen ....quite the loving pair!!!

While Denise was not shy about sharing Bryn’s story, she noted that she never felt judgement from the WeJoySing community and instead felt a connection with the other mothers. “I didn’t get out a lot while she was little, so it was nice to have a weekly something to do with her to look forward to. And to have the words at home so we could do the songs and finger plays!” Bryn’s instructor, Mrs. Karen, listened intently to Denise when she explained Bryn’s weakened immune system. She was always very careful to sanitize the instruments, give reminders about the sick kid policies and genuinely cared for Bryn’s well-being; so much so that she will still follow-up with Denise to inquire about Bryn!

As Kodaly stated, the treasure that is music has certainly brightened the life of Bryn and her family and WeJoySing classes are here to brighten yours as well. We invite you to come to WeJoySing and together we will multiply all that is beautiful in your life!

Musical Blessings & Miracles,
Mrs. Kristi

MUSIC Eliminates “Drill & Kill”

Do we have to do it again!  I'll just cover my ears and then she might STOP!

Do we have to do it again!  I'll just cover my ears and then she might STOP!

I know how frustrating it can be to practice sounds with a child. You see, my child had a speech delay.  At best, I could get him to do a few repetitions before receiving one of three reactions…crying, blank stare, or walking away.  Then I found “Music!”  Implementing music into our practice made it fun and a joyful way for him to gain speech and communication skills.  Music helped to eliminate those dreaded reactions and made speech practice fun! It was delightful, motivating, and captivating.  Why?  Because, music activates multiple regions of the brain and it creates play-filled opportunity for numerous repetitions without the monotony of “drill and kill!”  

Speech Example - Straight from Songs
“Oh My Grandpa Had a Car” (sung to the tune of “Old MacDonald”) was a favorite during WeJoySing’s holiday session.  The lyrics were:
                      Oh my grandpa had a car, E-I-E-I-O….
                          And on his car he had:
                                         
A horn, with a beep, beep, here and a beep, beep there.
                                       
Some wipers, with a swish, swish here and a swish, swish, there.
                                         
A motor, with a bbbbbbbbb (lip raspberry).
                                         A radio, with a la la here, and a la la there.

MUSIC make SPEECH  and Language development FUN!!

MUSIC make SPEECH  and Language development FUN!!

The “beep beep” of grandpa’s horn guides the child to imitate and practice the easier frontal sounds “B” and “P.”  This is wonderful for the emerging talker who is just learning and fun review for those who already have it. 

From there we move on to the wipers that have the hardest sounds for little developing mouths, the “sw” and the “sh.”  This provides the grown-ups with the perfect opportunity to model these blended sounds for their children.  Your children will watch your mouth. They listen and they learn without even realizing it. Plus, they have FUN exploring and developing the sounds because the sound is attached to something “concrete” in their understanding of the world - “Grandpa’s windshield wipers!” 

I'm playing with my "favorite toy"...My Dad!!

I'm playing with my "favorite toy"...My Dad!!

Me, Sing?
So, you’re thinking, “But I cannot sing!”  Let me point out that it really doesn’t matter!  Your children aren’t paying attention to how well you sing or even if you are singing on pitch. They are having FUN with YOU!  What an absolutely wonderful way to learn and gain new speech and communication skills!


There’s MORE!
Grandpa’s motor is my favorite!  Lip raspberries, better known asrazzies, lip bubbles, or lip trills, are a wonderful tool for the voice.  As a matter of fact, every morning before I teach, I warm-up my voice with a series of lip bubbles.  They help relax my lips, take pressure off my vocal chords, and focus my awareness of my diaphragm.  

“Raspberries” for Volume and Pitch
Lip razzies do a bit of the same for your child, plus more.  They teach and guide the child to regulate their voice, how to turn it on and off, and change its volume and pitch.  For example, in order to get louder the child’s diaphragm must be engaged. The child learns how to use the diaphragm while controlling his/her lips and tongue.  

They are watching your lips....."bbbbbbb"  and  trying to figure out "How is she doing that?"

They are watching your lips....."bbbbbbb"  and  trying to figure out "How is she doing that?"

“Lip Razzies” for Little Ones
For the littler ones, lip razzies develop lip tension. This is important as our babies start eating and drinking so they will have the appropriate lip tension to create a seal for cup drinking.  The jaw workout with lip razzies  encourages lip development independent of the jaw and tongue, a crucial skill for eating with a spoon and eating chunkier foods.

Why the “La La’s”   
Finally, we get to Grandpa’s radio.  The “L” sound can be a frequent trouble maker for beginners.  The radio “La La’s”  are simple and straightforward, as well as fun to sing and easy to model. 

WeJoySing is all about the JOY of learning and developing essential skills through music!  It’s wonderful that your child has these play-filled and motivating experiences easily built in every lesson! What a JOYFUL way to learn!   So, GO and make silly sounds and sing about “Grandpa’s Car” knowing that you are laying the strong foundation for your child’s speech, communication and vocabulary!

Musical Blessings!
Mrs. Juliette