Taking a Musical Break

Music is my love, but I’ll have a new little bundle of joy joining the family very shortly.  This is will cause me to take a break from teaching for a little while.  I will do my best to continue to post frequently, but may not be able to maintain the schedule I previously had.  My current plan is to resume classes again in January 2013, but I may teach a class or two before if things go well.  Please stay tuned for more scheduling details and contact me in the meantime with any questions or comments.

Music When You Can’t Watch TV

We know that until research proves otherwise, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages television viewing for children ages two years old or younger, and encourages interactive play.

For older children, the Academy advises no more than one to two hours per day of educational, nonviolent programs, which should be supervised by parents or other responsible adults in the home.

There are definitely many waking hours with a child that do not involve the typical diaper change, feeding fun and nap/sleeping that still need to be filled with something.  So what do you do with a child all day if you cannot watch TV?  Listening to and making music is one of the things you can do to fill the empty space or time when you have a baby or toddler who isn’t talking/interacting with you much yet.

There are many ways to achieve this too.  You can bang on pots and pans in the kitchen, turn on the radio, sing them a song or just dance to the music in your head.  One of my favorite things to do is to turn on Pandora.  You can create your own stations, get exposure to songs you’ve never heard before and almost completely customize what kind of music plays.  The best thing is this is a FREE solution.  You can pay a subscription fee to avoid advertising and add many other options, but the free option has worked well for me so far.

There are other options out there as well to help you.  AOL Radio, the local library story time hour and Kindermusik with Dominique classes an all help you entertain your child with music and movement when you can’t watch TV.  Contact me to find out when classes will resume so you can attend a no obligation FREE preview class with your child/children.

Music Gets Through To Kids

As I was listening to All Things Considered on NPR today, a segment aired called “Why Music Matters” and featured a Seattle area performer named Vivi Perez. Ms. Perez found an organization in high school that made her more dedicated to her schoolwork. She realized that the things she was doing for the small record label transferred over to her school studies as well. One of the last things she mentioned in the interview was that her dad always told her school was important, but she didn’t listen to him. Music however, did get through to her.

This is often the case. You talk your child’s head off telling them what they must do, but music shows them what they must do to succeed. If you want to be good or great at music, you must dedicate yourself to it. I discuss this in an earlier post, but most importantly the earlier a child has exposure to music; the better off they will be in the long run.

I encourage you to check out one of my classes and see how your young child is affected by music. While just a baby or toddler, they are already getting so much out of the experience. Contact me to preview a class for FREE and get ready to “get through” to your child.

Meeting the Musical Needs of Children in Schools

As I was reading my Frost School of Music Alumni Magazine I came across an interesting article titled Bandwidth.  The article discusses music ensemble participation in schools.   I personally agree that participation in music programs and basic music instruction is vital in school, but not all children are able to receive this benefit.

Some of the lack of music instruction could be due to the No Child Left Behind act of 2001 which occasionally diverts arts funding for more standardized testing in reading and math.  Other factors also play into this such as: socio-economic status, ethnicity, native language, and parents’ education.   The class I have been teaching on a volunteer basis at Canoas Elementary in San Jose evidences this.  Through Music for Minors volunteer music educators expose students to music that might not otherwise have this opportunity in this school or on their own.

Music in all forms benefits children and their development whether they wish to become the next Yo-Yo Ma or just enjoy music as a hobby.  If you can provide this for your child, then you definitely should.  Remember, it’s also important to support organizations that make it possible for other children to experience the gift of music with your time or financial contributions.

Provide your child or sponsor another child’s early musical foundation in a Kindermusik with Dominique class.  Adventures sessions begin this week.  Contact me to preview a class for FREE or for additional information and details.

Music is Intrinsic to Life

My family just returned from my little sister’s college graduation and I can’t help but think of the graduation march known as Pomp and Circumstance that played as the new graduates filled the hall to receive their diplomas.  Take a second to think back to significant events in your life.  What are/were they?

Was it:

  • The day you were born?
  • The first time you were kissed?
  • When you walked down or gazed over at your soon to be spouse as they walked down the aisle to marry you?
  • A movie that always makes you cry?

What songs were a part of those moments?  The answer doesn’t really matter, but it’s the fact that music is so intrinsic to our lives memories of important events.

Music is so much a part of the event, that sometimes you cannot recall the event without hearing the song first.  Music makes our lives interesting.  It gives it a rhythm and feeling.  Try to think about watching a movie without any music or sound effect at all.  They are not many and they are definitely not very interesting.

It’s not that every moment of your life needs a sound to accompany it; it’s just that music is a part of life.  Music takes important events and makes them better and creates a bond amongst those who share the same song regardless of whether the event was the same.

Begin or continue making music a part of your life when you take part in a Kindermusik by Dominique class.  We will build a community and share experiences that will enhance you and your child’s life.  Contact me for a FREE preview class or to enroll now.

Memory and Alzheimer’s, Music Can Help

Neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks works with Alzheimer’s patients occasionally.  Take a second to watch this video of an old man named Henry from Cobble Hill Health Center in Brooklyn, NY reacting to hearing music from his era.    Isn’t it amazing how the man’s reaction changed after listening to familiar music?

Alzheimer’s patients often have their good days and bad, but when you see the spark come back into that person, it can make your whole day or week.  This man may not remember his daughter, but he does remember how the music made him feel.  These memories also come flooding back each time a familiar favorite is played for people without Alzheimer’s.

A recent study from researcher Brandon Ally, a School of Medicine assistant professor of neurology at Boston University suggests that music may also help people with dementia retain new information.  The study suggests that it helps subjects focus and retain the information easier.  The healthy elderly participants remembered just as much with or without the music.  The thought is that those living with Alzheimer’s can use the music to remember important items and help them keep their independence a little longer.

The interesting fact in both these stories though is the connection of music and learning.  One can only infer that music is an important learning tool for all regardless of age.

Many children hear music before they are even born.  They learn many important items through song, such as their ABC’s and basic counting regardless of which culture they come from or what language those around them speak.  I can attest that my daughter has picked up on simple items such as identifying body parts when she hears “Head, should, knees and toes.”  We should foster the enjoyment of music in our children no matter what kind of music they have a preference for so that it can serve them well all throughout their lives.

Kindermusik curriculum is backed by strong research and can help your child lay a good foundation for learning in school and in life.  Come see the difference a class can make in your child’s life.  Summer Adventures classes begin mid-May.  Contact me to preview a Kindermusik with Dominique class for Free.

Music Changes Lives

While listening to a PBS report on NPR back in February, I learned about an organization in New York City called the Harmony Program.  They serve students from 3rd-6th grade in a free after school music program.  The children were preparing that day for a concert with accomplished singer and conductor, Placido Domingo.

Students participating in the program are given free instruments and instruction daily after school.  Over the course of the school year, they receive more than 300 hours of group instruction.  While this is astonishing, the even better part is that this program helps engage children who might otherwise fall victim to the ills of street life plagued by many low-income neighborhoods.

The Harmony Program is wonderful, but the original idea came from an organization called EL SISTEMA  that was founded by José Antonio Abreu in Venezuela back in 1975.  This organization has touched more than 300,000 students with free music instruction including some children with disabilities.

For me though, the best part of the report was when one of the students said “Sometimes its hard not to smile…when I play that first note in class, it makes me smile.” Says Joshua Deshommes, a fifth grader at P.S. 152.

His statement shows just how enjoyable the study of music can be and how valuable a music program is in children’s lives.    Students also learn to become self-reliant and build their self-confidence in other areas of school as well.  It has been observed that students in the program attend school more regularly and have higher marks than those not enrolled.

Don’t you wish every school could have a program like this that was so concerned with building the whole child?  Educators of Kindermusik curriculum are just that, concerned with whole-child development.

Come find out for yourself how I can help you with your child’s development.  You can preview a Kindermusik With Dominique class for Free anytime.  A new session of classes is set to begin mid-May.

Baby Boot Camp Grand Opening & Music for Minors Docents Needed

Two exciting announcements this week!

First, if you recently had a baby or are just looking for a great way to exercise with your child, then Baby Boot Camp may be an option for you.  Jessica Goodwin of Baby Boot Camp in Mountain View, CA will have her Grand Opening event and first class on April 28, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. at Shoreline Park & Lake.

Come out for a great class, and sample products from Zico, Pirate’s Booty and Happy Baby.   There will also be a ton of giveaways, including a gift box from Citrus Lane!  You could also win items such as a $35 Gift card to The Blues Jean Bar, Stella and Dot,  Baby Boot Camp apparel and a Best of Kindermusik CD.

Kindermusik with Dominique will also be on hand for a FREE Demo class following boot camp, so stick around for some music and movement fun.

To RSVP for the event, contact jessica.goodwin@babybootcamp.com.

If you cannot make the Kindermusik with Dominique Demo portion, you can always preview a class for Free anytime by contacting me directly at dsfranklin@gmail.com.

The other announcement comes from a Mountain View based non-profit, Music for Minors.  I have worked directly with this organization teaching music to a bilingual K/1 class at Canoas Elementary in San Jose since last year and have found it to be a very rewarding experience.  Well what is MFM you ask?

MFM is a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping music alive in schools.  One of the ways they achieve this is through their Volunteer Educator Program.  Adults from the area are trained to provide at least a half hour of sequential music instruction per week in their assigned K-4 grade.  Volunteers provide this service all throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.  The training program takes place every September to November and recruitment is now open.

You don’t have to be an amazing singer, trained musician or have studied music in the past, but if you have spare time (30 min instruction and prep time a week) and enjoy children, than you can make a difference in the lives or others.  Contact MFM for more information about the Volunteer Educator Program and to sign-up.

Santa Cruz Village Now Open and Offering Kindermusik with Dominique Classes

A great new resource for families is now open in Santa Cruz called The Santa Cruz Village Birth and Family Enrichment Center.  You find exactly what the name implies, the services needed to support your small village.  Whether you need help with beginning the journey to start a new family, support along the way or once your bundle of joy arrives, the Santa Cruz Village is where you will find it.

The journey to starting a family can and should include an array of instructors and providers.  Massage Therapists, Life Coaches, Photographers, Doulas and Midwives are all service providers available to you at this location.   Additionally, you will find classes in childbirth prep, prenatal, postpartum, children’s and partner yoga.  Lastly, you can also find the support you may be looking for as a new mother in the Breastfeeding and New Moms support groups or during drop in hours where you can stop in and relax, gather information, or change or nurse your baby.

They are also there to support the growth and development of your children.  You will find sign-language programs, dancing, craft days, movie nights and even Kindermusik with Dominique classes.

Kindermusik with Dominique classes at The Santa Cruz Village begin this Sunday, April 22, 2012.  You can preview a class for FREE before enrolling by visiting the Moms Support Circle at The Santa Cruz Village this Thursday, April 19th at 10 AM.  When you are ready to enroll in classes at this location only, contact the Santa Cruz Village directly.

Congratulations to Krystal Long, Founder and CEO of The Santa Cruz Village for making a place available to all the families in the area.  Through this fabulous new resource may we all learn how to have the best birth experience possible and how to find the support we need once we start our own little villages!


As a parent of a child in diapers, how many diapers would you say you changed?  Probably quite a few.  Most children are potty trained somewhere between two and four years old.   If you change an average of 2,000 diapers per year, you can expect to change anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 diapers in your child pre-potty trained years.

While that is a very large number, it is quite close to how many times your child will need to repeat an action correctly before it becomes ingrained and learned.  This is true from the simplest task like lifting their head or walking to learning their ABC’s or playing the piano like Stevie Wonder.

It gives you something to think about when interacting with your child.  If we want them to learn a skill, we must expose them to it and then practice over and over again.  Just as you must say to your child at least a thousand times “No, don’t touch that,” you must also practice their ABC’s an equal amount of time and do this for any other skill you wish them to become proficient in.

Kindermusik classes help develop the whole child from an early age.  We support your child’s individual growth and allow them to excel at what they are good at when they are ready.  We aren’t putting on a performance, but your child can practice the skills we address in a safe and comfortable learning environment.

If you sometimes feel lost or just can’t remember all the songs, dances and activities you completed as a child, come check out a Kindermusik with Dominique class for FREE.   I’ll help you and your child connect and enjoy music and learning together.  See you soon!