More Than "Cute"...This Is AMA'SING'!!

“Aaaaw! Isn’t this video cute!?”  Yes, it is! BUT it’s MUCH MORE.  It’s actually AMA’SING!!’  Let’s look at this marvelous video through the lenses of “childhood development” to identify what is “really” happening as Eli sings.  I think we’ll discover that his little mind, voice and body are extremely busy.  He is spontaneously creating, thinking, working and organizing thoughts, movements, words and music.  So, what is Eli doing “on stage” and “behind the scene” in his mind and body at the ripe old age of 2 years old?  Let’s “break it down” to see what is happening:

To begin, Eli decides to:
         1.  make up a song – demonstrating that songs contain words and melody     
         2. use a guitar to accompany himself – demonstrating that instrumental harmony can be                                       added to create more musical interest
         3. position himself on a chair for greater success and comfort – demonstrating                                                       understanding of his physical abilities and comfort.

To create his song, he must have:
         1. a working knowledge of the English language
         2. an understanding that a song has words
         3. an imagination that helps to form the text/story of the song

To play the guitar, demonstrates his subconscious understanding that:
         1. instruments can accompany one’s singing
         2. instruments add a harmony to the song
         3. playing the guitar while sitting is easier than standing
         4. one hand strums the strings, the other hand fingers the chords
             “my hands are not doing the same thing!”  
           
  (parents - do you grasp the complexity of this?)
         5. One hand will be strumming the “steady beat” – or something close to it

To sing while playing the guitar, his little mind, body and voice are busy:
          1. Selecting the words for the text    
          2. Deciding the rhythms to use with these words
          3. Choosing the melodic pitches for his melody
              Research in early vocal development indicates that the child has a personal pitch
              center.   Eli’s melodic range is very narrow because it is centered around his personal pitch.                        4. Putting words, rhythm and melody together, ALL at ONCE!    
          5. Adding the guitar sends this creativity to a NEW LEVEL!      
          6. Safely holding the guitar    
          7. Strumming the guitar to add greater interest/harmony

This little fellow is Ama’SING!!!’  One could say, he is doing at least 10-part harmony with himself during this creative process…so many things are happening, layered one on top of the other…all at the same time!!  Ama’Sing’!!!    

    

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