by Tamsyn

June 13, 2016

First time attending a convention!

Last Saturday we attended the UHEA (Utah Homeschool Education Association) convention, and it was definitely a new experience for us.  I have attended this convention several times in the past, as a homeschooling teenager, as a single college student bringing a couple of boyfriends along, and once bringing the second boyfriend-turned-husband with a small child.  It has been a few years, but now we came back with a booth and I had the opportunity to speak.  It was a lot of fun.  We met a lot of people, were able to demonstrate how our products work, and planted a few seeds in getting the word out that we exist.  I think we gave a lot of people ideas for how they can better incorporate music education into their own homes (with or without our products), and that was one of our biggest goals so I would call the event a success.

UHEA booth

On a personal note, you can tell that I am very pregnant, which is why we are taking a little break from blogging this summer, but we look forward to jumping back in full-swing in September.  The baby is due in 3 weeks and I'm just very grateful that he didn't come early!  Our four oldest children spent the day with Michael's brother, and our 2-year-old hung out with us.  He was actually very well behaved.  We brought him the activity table you can see in the corner, a box full of toys he hasn't played with for some time, crayons and coloring books, and a little bit of screen time on Michael's phone.  The best item I brought for him, however, was our soft changing pad and a sheet so he could take a nap.  He slept for 2 hours and was so-o-o-o cute and cozy underneath the table.  His nap was so long because he wouldn't go to sleep the night before so I let him play at my feet while I prepared last-minute materials for the booth.  In the end it all worked out.  I wouldn't hesitate to bring a child or two to a convention again in the future, although things were a little too chaotic when all five of them were here during set-up.  Not only did they want to play with the instruments on our table, but they were desperate to go around the corner and play with the Legos of a neighboring booth representing Play-Well, not to mention all of the other neat toys and books that were displayed nearby.  All-in-all it was a good learning experience for both Michael and myself. 

We look forward to doing more conventions in the future, hopefully with more physical products that we can sell.  We purchased a coil binder this week as well as a better printer (we beat ours up in the RV moving so often), so maybe we'll get into the self-publishing arena until we reach higher volume in sales.  But for now, we are happy to be online and happy to be reaching and interacting with so many other parents and music teachers.  Thank you for reading!

Notes from my lecture

(I gave a lecture at the convention about music educational approaches, hands-on activities to demonstrate how they work, with half the class dedicated to talking about different instruments one might begin with and how to purchase and find them.  The following is drawn from my handout with a few added videos)

Emile Jaques-Dalcroze – Eurythmics (Rhythmic Training)

The Dalcroze approach focuses on rhythmic training through movement. Finding and focusing on flow is an essential part of the method, and learning this kinesthetic approach to music benefits other performing arts such as dancing, acting, storytelling, sports and martial arts. See http://www.dalcrozeusa.org/ for more information and video samples.

Zoltan Kodaly- The Kodaly Method

The Kodaly method is developmentally based. Children learn beginning concepts of music, experience them, and only after they are familiar do they learn how to notate them. Rhythms begin with quarter and eighth notes- the easiest to internalize- and music begins with the easiest notes to hear. The approach also teaches solfege (Do-Re-Mi) with the curwen hand signs, and has a heavy focus on folk music from the country it is being taught. See http://www.iks.hu/ and http://www.oake.org/.

Carl Orff- Orff Schulwerk

While the Orff method incorporates elements of Dalcroze and Kodaly's method, this approach is also unique and is used in many public school music classrooms and local children's choirs. The music generated in the Orff Approach is based on how children play and is largely improvisational. Orff considered rhythm to be a natural basic form of human expression and he created a series of percussion instruments for his method such as xylophones, marimbas, glockenspiels and metallophones. He also used a large variety of percussion instruments. See http://aosa.org/

Music Websites and products that I love:

Little Musician- Best for ages 0-5, 10% discount code “BKAFF13180”; www.brillkids.com

Preschool Prodigies- Complete music curriculum for preschoolers using desk bells. 20% off code “TCM”, www.preschoolprodigies.com

Learn to play the ocarina- http://stlocarina.com/ has a large variety of fun ocarinas to choose from as well as a curriculum developed for at-home learning.

https://yourbabycanlearn.com/ has a great DVD/book set for preschoolers called “Your Child Can Discover”, which incorporates music basics beautifully.

Music Education supply store: https://www.musick8.com/

Learn the basics of music theory free here: https://www.musictheory.net/

For Piano

Presented by Tamsyn Spackman. My website is www.teaching-children-music.com

Get 20% off with coupon code “UHEA” through August 31st

Chromanotes Desk Bells Giveaway

We had a drawing at our booth to win a set of colorful desk bells.  Thank you for everyone who entered!  These bells are available to purchase at www.preschoolprodigies.com.  You can get 20% off with the coupon code "TCM".  Congratulations to the winner!  (She didn't have an e-mail address so I used mine when I entered her into Rafflecopter, which is why you see my picture.)

About the author 


My name is Tamsyn and I love music. I got my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from USU. I spent many years teaching private piano lessons until I had children of my own. I have attended several children workshops on how to teach children music. I really like the Kodaly method, but have adapted a lot of different techniques for my own children.

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