February Newsletter


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All month long, show your love by giving your time.....

As parents, we know that giving of our time is what our kids need most. But time is precious - how can you share quality time with your child? As a music teacher, I understand how music activities can be purposeful and bonding as well as educational and enjoyable! Read below for insight and ideas on how to make the most of your time with your child, show your love, and deepen your relationship. 
 
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Face Time - the real face time 

Your child needs and craves your attention - your face time. This video reveals this in a startling and eye opening way. 

Interactive play 

Playing with babies and toddlers is crucial but not always natural. The Imagination Tree has some great ideas for creating purposeful and enjoyable time with your child. Click the image below and enjoy the nursery rhyme singing basket! 
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Hand clapping games 

Hand clapping games are perfect for pre-schoolers and the early grades. The physical contact and real face time with you make them invaluable for emotional bonding. The Inspired Treehouse has wonderful examples that you can do with your child without a cord, battery or screen.
Click the image and enjoy! 
 
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My Classes 
The music classes I teach integrate parents at every level. Check out this BLOG ARTICLE that illustrates the importance of parental involvement in music education. 
Click on the icons below to learn more to learn about the classes I teach in my studio, as well as all around the United States! 
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Want a spot on my waiting list?  
Beginning February 1st, I opened enrollment for families currently enrolled in my studio.  Today, I open enrollment for my newsletter subscribers.  On March 1st, I will open enrollment for any spaces I have left in my studio.  If you'd like to learn more, or enroll your child in one of my classes for Fall 2017, shoot me an email for more details.
Sound Beginnings:  Parent-and-Me class for kids ages 2-4, and younger siblings are welcome.  I have space for 1 more family in my Wednesday 5:30pm class - contact me if you're interested.  For more info on the curriculum, CLICK HERE.  CLICK HERE for my studio details.
Let's Play Music: I'm not enrolling 4-6 year olds right now, but since you are getting my email newsletter, your child can get on my preferred enrollment list for Let's Play Music Fall 2017. CLICK HERE for my studio details.
I hope you enjoy magical, musical moments with your child each day! 
Sincerely,
Michelle Belliston

I'm Teaching SOUND BEGINNINGS!

I'm so excited!  I found out the day before yesterday that for this fall, I get to teach Sound Beginnings at my home!  Previously, I've had my son in the class, and I fell in love with the program.  My boy has been the youngest in his class, and wasn't picking up the typical preschool skills taught (like colors, shapes, numbers).  One semester in Sound Beginnings, and he could count, recognize colors and shapes, and more!  I knew I had to teach Sound Beginnings!

I just got approval to train and teach Sound Beginnings in my home THIS FALL!  So, if you have a child aged 2-4 (younger siblings are welcome, too!), and you'd like a great parent-and-me class to spend time learning and playing together, click this link to learn more, or contact me to register for a class!

Classes start August 31, and are taught in my home in the Greenfield neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

Triumphant March and a Trumpet

We've been "studying" (if you can even call it that!  WE PLAY!) Verdi's Triumphal March from Aida in my 1st year classes.  Every year I do something different, but this year, I thought it would be really fun to have Matt, my husband, play part of the beginning on his trumpet.  The kids LOVED hearing Matt play (audible squeals!), but the best part was when each child got a turn to touch the trumpet.  Here are the photos!  Parents, if you want a higher quality picture of it, text me and I'll happily send you the photo of your child!












Pittsburgh is a Winter Wonderland!

Oh, what do you do in the wintertime when the world is (finally!) white?

Here are some things my current students have been up to with the past couple storms!







So much fun!

My very favorite photo, though, and the inspiration for this post, is a photo taken by my daughter.  We were leaving the dentist's office, walking back to our car (we had to park a ways up the road), and we caught one of my 1st year students, Sam, being a "Snow Angel" for an elderly lady in his neighborhood.  He was polite and said hi to me, but while his mom and I talked a while longer, Sam got right back to work!



I'm always so sad when I have to cancel class for snow days.  I'm really glad to see that they still have a great time when we have these snow days!  

  Here's hoping the snow starts cooperating, and leaves my class days alone!

A Peek Into Ms. Michelle's Studio...

When I think of Let's Play Music, I think of:

FUN

             SAFE

                           PLAY

                                        CHALLENGE
          


Before a parent signs up their child for Let's Play Music, they don't always know what to expect. Something about group piano lessons, playtime, bells, time commitment - probably all things my current and former students' parents will tell you about.  But what you can't get from talking to other parents or see in a flier are in-the-moment, live action class experiences.

That's why I'm holding FREE - yes free - Sample classes this summer. Come try out this class, with no commitment required. This is my way of giving you a sneak peek into my classes, and show you how a 3-year curriculum can be playful and fun, while still teach music theory I didn't learn until college, and develop a complete musician with proficient piano skills.  Click on this link to sign up for a FREE sample class today!

Still a little hesitant?  Not sure you want to make the leap? (Did I mention that the Sample Class is FREE?)  Here's some more to entice you.  In compliance with PA's new laws to protect children, I have completed and have clear background, police, and FBI checks.  I used to teach K-6 music, so I need them anyway, but I keep them current as a courtesy to my parents (and so I can volunteer at my kids' schools, and in my church organization).  Since my husband is sometimes home while I teach, he has completed and cleared them, too.  Also, our babysitter, who watches my own kids while I teach has been checked and cleared, too. Needless to say, my home is safe.  It is also a fun, challenging, learning, play place for your child(ren) to learn the piano.

Still not trying to bang the door down to get into a (FREE!) Sample Class? ...Maybe a photo tour of my studio could show better than I could ever describe what happens in a Let's Play Music class.  A picture is worth a thousand words, right?

Now, before you think my class is scary...It's not scary at all!
We're just learning music (although our games sometimes make us pretend to be scary). :)

For example, we use the WHOLE BODY to learn about our staff.  Baby steps, skips, leaps, all FEEL differently; we jump from lines to spaces, and have a great time playing, too!

It doesn't take long before the kids can read chord maps well enough to play the autoharp independently.  This skill translates very nicely into playing chords (and reading music) on the piano in the 2nd year of Let's Play Music.

Sometimes, the goofy stuff we do LOOKS like we're just being goofy...

...but all of our games, activities, and lessons are chock full of music theory, ear training, note reading, sight singing, classical music training, and more!

Parents come to class every other week the first year
(once a month in 2nd and 3rd years).  For those who need a little
encouragement, parents are their safety net.
For those bubbly, outgoing, 4-going-on-40 types, they are allowed the
independence needed to feel capable, and can show what they know 
to their parent on parent weeks.  They also get every other week 
to show their stuff in a students-only class.  This is NOT a performance
class.  Rather, it is a learning place with opportunities for all kinds
of new experiences (including a once-yearly performance).

While playing games, the children (and parents) learn solfege - a music language (think Sound of Music: Do, a deer a female deer, Re a drop of golden sun, etc).  This language allows the students to see pitches in relation to each other, and makes it much easier when teaching the students to transpose music in the 3rd year of Let's Play Music (and beyond)!



Whether skipping on a floor staff,

 singing and signing solfege hand signs down a major scale,

playing ostinati on tone bells,

dancing and playing to classical music,

recognizing cadence patterns during a game,

or playing the Autoharp with I, IV, and V chords, Let's Play Music is a fast-paced, fun-filled learning adventure!  Want to see some more?  So will your child!  

Stickers on the chords help little fingers remember chord patterns.

Our puppet friend, Ed, makes a weekly visit to class.

The kids learn to help each other, and learning happens with less lecture, and more trying and doing.  The rest of the photos are ones that a caption just wouldn't do it justice.  I hope you see the fun and excitement that Let's Play Music can be.  If you'd like to learn more about the program, check out our website here.  If you live in the Pittsburgh area, and want to know more about classes starting this fall, contact me here or sign up for a FREE Sample Class here!









Thanks for joining me on my photo tour of my Let's Play Music studio! I hope to see you in Sample Classes this summer!