Photo via Pexels

Helping Children with Learning Disabilities Express Themselves Through Art

For children with special needs, art can be a valuable form of expression and a source of confidence. It helps children develop their fine motor skills, learn visual-spatial skills, and practice their problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Art inspires children with learning disabilities to try new things and take risks. It allows them to be inventive without fear of failure, giving them a boost in self-esteem they carry with them into other areas of their lives. Help kids with learning disabilities get involved with the arts so they can enjoy these wonderful benefits.

Get Them Involved in Community Art Programs

Most public schools offer arts instruction, which can be particularly helpful for families on a budget. Perhaps your child can join a school band or orchestra. Or, maybe you can have them attend an after-school art class. If your school doesn’t offer anything like this, look for local art teachers in your area. You can talk to nearby art colleges to get advice about where to find art instructors. The college faculty may even offer private lessons themselves. You can also attend community performances and hang around afterward to find out about any lessons and kids programs available in your area.

Provide Plenty of Creative Materials in the Home

Having art materials ready for your child will encourage them to get creative. Either set up an art caddy with supplies that they can take anywhere or have a dedicated art space that is always ready for creation.

Below are some supplies that are perfect for kids who are new to art:

  • Watercolor pencils
  • Chalk
  • Oil pastels
  • Tempura paint
  • Clay

Don’t forget to include kid-safe scissors and glue so they can have fun cutting and pasting shapes. If your kid has trouble with scissors, look for self-opening scissors, table scissors, or training scissors. You may also want to provide a variety of materials for your kids to draw and paint on. For example, different kinds of paper, wood, or art canvases can help your child get creative in new ways.

Discuss Art with Your Child

According to Artful Parent, you should ask your child to tell you about their artwork instead of just complimenting it. They’re likely to open up about what it means and describe what kinds of feelings inspired them to make it. Exposing your child to various forms of art will help them learn about different techniques and develop an appreciation for different styles. To do this, try taking them to a local art museum and pointing out street art that you come across. Even billboards and magazines contain examples of art that your child may not have noticed. Seeing all the various ways that can be created will get them excited about bringing their own ideas to life.

Help Them Pick Out a Musical Instrument

According to Connolly Music, learning a musical instrument helps children with disabilities engage in positive forms of social communication and can help develop various brain functions. It helps children with learning disabilities remember sequences and concentrate on patterns. Plus, creating music can provide valuable emotional empowerment for the young musician.

Ask your child what kinds of musical instruments they are interested in. Then, consider the personality and body type of your child. Some instruments, such as a flute or trumpet, are better options for extroverted kids. Children who are more introverted and shy may prefer piano or violin. Smaller children tend to find the bassoon or tuba too bulky, while those with short fingers may struggle on the piano. For beginners, saxophones and clarinets are great options. Take your child to a music store and have them try out different instruments to get a feel for what suits them best. Most importantly, have fun with it!

Getting your child involved in the arts is a great way to support their cognitive and physical development. It’s also a perfect way to spend quality time together. Try getting out the paints and creating pictures with your kid or engaging in fun discussions with them at an art museum. This is a sure way to get them excited about art, and you’ll likely enjoy getting creative as well!

How Better Support Will Help You Be a Better Singer
From our Facebook Workshop Series

In a nutshell our workshop tonight was this: the more support you have, the bigger your range (how high and low you can sing) can be.

So to help illustrate what support is, think of a hose. When you turn on the hose, water comes out right? Right. But what happens when you bend the hose in half? What happens to the flow of water? You’re right, the flow is slowed down to a drippy drip drop. The goal in singing is to keep the water (or air when you sing) flowing so that the sound is supported.

Now think of two different chairs in your mind. One is a metal chair and the other is a swivel office chair. Now stand on the swivel chair. How do you feel? Secure? Do you feel like you can jump up and down and be ok? No way! Now stand on the metal chair. How do you feel? Much more secure right?

These two illustrations help us see that with the right support we can have a stronger sound and be more comfortable with taking risks as we sing.

Exercises to do at home to improve support with your voice:

  • Lay on your back on a hard surface. Place two heavy books on your stomach. Now take a good low breath and pretend you’re a balloon that has a small leak and slowly let out the air.
  • Monotone Singing. Choose a note, any note and count as high as you can while singing that one note just using one breath. Then repeat that and try to count higher and high each time.
  • Listen to opera singers and be a copycat. Sing along and try to sing like they do.

Thanks for tuning in to our workshop series! Comment below or on Facebook with questions you have about performing and what you’d like to see or learn in the future!

 

It’s the conundrum of every singer, how can I sing higher and sound better? Here are a few tips and tricks you can start trying today to increase your range both up and down the scale.

  1. Always, always, always warm up.
    Dancers, athletes even synchronized swimmers all warm up before they perform. As a singer, it is vital that you stretch your voice before taking it for a jog.
  2. Practice vocal techniques.
    There are one million and one different ways to train your voice. From the lip buzz to solfege to the grand scale. Learn vocal warm ups and do them everyday.
  3. Practice often.
    A good singer can’t expect to sing like Michael Buble or Taylor Swift unless they practice everyday. The voice is a muscle. You need to work that muscle, stretch that muscle and keep it limber for the vocal gymnastics you’ll take it through.

  4. Watch videos.
    There is a wealth of knowledge out there. Watch a handful of videos and try the different techniques that are explored. If you’re not sure where to start, we did the hard work for you:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5_-kvfsiGE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6OYv2FifCI

  5. Learn from the pros, even Celine Dion still has a vocal coach.
    You are never too good not to have extra help. Always be training, even if you can’t afford private voice, find a way to get coaching and help.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIqUX2QbLGw

  6. Take private voice.
    Nothing will help you more than getting a teacher that knows how to sing and can help uncover your voice. There are many good vocal coaches in the east valley but we love and recommend our vocal coach, Sara Gibbons.

There are many ways to increase your vocal range, but these will be a good starting place. Most importantly, sing everyday and love every second you can!