"Exhale Worry, Inhale Joy & Peace!"

Cheryll & daughter

Cheryll & daughter

Parents often share as they enter the classroom that they were up late, didn’t get much sleep, haven’t had the best of mornings and need more coffee; but amazingly as they exit, the ambiance is entirely different. It’s as if, WeJoySing had changed their day and empowered them to play, sing, laugh, love, and learn with your child.  Cheryll Pillitteri is one of the mothers who has raved about WeJoySing empowering her to be a more joyful parent. I asked Cheryll to explain, it in her own words, her perspective on being a WeJoySing mama!

How did you learn about WeJoySing? 
I was just scrolling through Facebook, and the spouse of a friend who moved to New England a couple years ago shared a photo of a session of WeJoySing with the comment “one of the things we miss most about Columbus,” and something compelled me to reply to her along the lines of “Wow, that’s a big statement!” She assured me that it was a load of great fun that helped her days pass way more peacefully with her kids, and she deeply missed the chance to continue the experience. So, I had to look into it! 

Lynnette reading 1 yrs.JPG

What encouraged you to sign up? 
I called and asked a couple questions, and was informed that I could come observe/participate in a trial session that would be free – and if I wanted to register afterward, the fees would be prorated to only include the remaining sessions in the season…This demonstrated that the business side wasn’t about making loads of profit; it was about making huge fans and happy hearts, and as a mom, committing to new things with kids is sometimes scary. Thankfully, the WeJoySing team was nothing but gentle with us!  

Let's play!!  Pull boy, pull low!!

Let's play!!  Pull boy, pull low!!

How did you feel entering your first observation class? How did you feel leaving it? 
Gotta say, prior to walking through the door, I was VERY nervous. We’re not really musical people at home, I don’t have the best voice, and I generally feel super awkward in social situations. Not to mention, we were pretty new to this part of town, and I hadn’t really been successful at fitting in to things that the other moms here were so effortless at doing – plus I had an unpredictable 3 year old with me! But during the class, everyone just focused on making the kids happy, and we were sort of basking in the fun of being young and making a loosely coordinated (but joyful) noise. There was a very thoughtful balance of high-energy songs and calm-down songs, and we were still humming the tunes in the car on the way home. I gave a big sigh of relief, and welcomed the priceless opportunity to exhale my worry about the things that didn’t go well that morning or that week and breathe in the peace of seeing happy kids just glow with fun and love… so, obviously, I was hooked. 

sharing with a new friend

sharing with a new friend

What benefits did you see in your daughter after attending several sessions? 
I didn’t even realize we were missing certain things in our life, but I definitely noticed them when they entered – Alice started listening better to adults, engaging with other kids, playing peacefully on her own, and is so much more curious overall about music and lyrics and dancing as ways to learn. I can’t believe she would remember songs after singing them just once! I also believe it came to us right at the timing of a developmental milestone where toddlers start to observe and interact with people (other than mom), and participating in this group activity launched her over that transition like a firework. I know it probably would have come eventually, but WeJoySing really lit the fire of personal connection in her, which was in my heart, the biggest benefit. An example I’ll carry forever is that she remembered one of the boys was too shy to play along with a certain song, and when he finally tried it, she turned to me and said, “yay, he did it!” with genuine support and excitement. If that’s not worth the price of registration, I don’t know what is!!! 

Just you & me!!

Just you & me!!

How did WeJoySing benefit you as a parent?  
Alice is our second child, and it’s painfully true that second kids sometimes get a watered-down version of a weary momma. Going to singing sessions with her helped me show her that there were going to be some things she could do with me while her older brother was off doing his own thing (in our case, kindergarten.) So, it definitely gave me an easy way to do something special and memorable with her. However, the most amazing benefit of WeJoySing to me over some other weekly routine was the toolbox it offered me to rescue our days from a rough sea. Through the power of song, dance, and simple connection, I finally realized that my relationship to my kids was not a one-way street; I was in the habit of giving and doing things for them so much that I hadn’t realized that there are things that they give and do for me. Fresh infusions of fun, joy, love, and perspective is the big shiny gift I won from participating with this program. It might seem out-there, but when I’m feeling depleted or frustrated, I can call on one of the sweet easy songs we learned through WeJoySing, and my daughter will join in and blast that heavy burden away. Major lifesaver. 

Bring It on!!

Bring It on!!

What would you say to other families contemplating WeJoySing? 
WeJoySing isn’t like rigorous singing lessons – the aim isn’t to turn little darlings into pop idols, but if that’s in the cards for you, it’s not a bad first start, either. For kids who are shy, it’s great; for kids who are NOT shy, it’s also great. For first time parents who need to get out of the house, it’s great; for been-there moms who need to do something with a younger sibling to deepen connection, it’s also great. For families who haven’t had a lot of group interactions through preschools or other clubs, it’s such a warm, welcoming and easy way to break that shell. I believe that the world today is gasping for joy, which starts in families, and the tools and methods learned here are as good as any others out there. I feel better equipped to summon joy    now than I did before, and for that, I’m eternally grateful! 

Thanks you Cheryll!!
Jouyfully,
Mrs. Kristi

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

Early Music Experiences - Predictor of Academic Success!

Beginning Early...genius!

Beginning Early...genius!

“Neuroscientist and music teacher, Dr. Martin Gardner, thinks music is the key to getting kids on the path toward “genius.”  Mercy!  THAT got my immediate attention. I stopped and watched Through the Wormhole, a TV series on the Science Channel. Martin stated, “Music provides a fantastic opportunity to strengthen your mind.  It’s one of the most marvelous inventions of humanity.”

Music & Me...Writing Rhythms

Music & Me...Writing Rhythms

Dr. Gardner tracked children’s academic achievement as they grew from age seven to thirty-five.  His decades of research found that the strongest predictor of academic success is whether the student received musical training at an early age.  As an early childhood specialist and music educator, I was elated to hear this and  jumped for joy! 

Mrs. Jo Wichita State University

Mrs. Jo Wichita State University

But, it got even better.  Martin believes one specific musical teaching system “hits all the right neurological notes.”  He identified the “system” as the Kodály Method.  I’m glad you weren’t in my living room to hear my “WooWhoos”.  You see, I am a Kodály specialist and hold my Master Degree in Music Education with an emphasis in the Kodály Method.  But BEST of ALL, WeJoySing’s Hearth Strings and Music & Me programs are based on the philosophy and pedagogical principles of Zoltan Kodály.  Since the late 80’s, my summers have been spent teaching graduate level Kodály Methods at six Universities across the US.   Obviously, I’m “SOLD” on this methodology. 

It is with great enthusiasm I share this episode of Through the Wormhole “Can Music Help Make You a Genius?”

"Sing"cerely,
Mrs. Jo
Jo Kirk, President
WeJoySing, Inc.