Hello fellow Sprout Caregivers, my name is Genna Eller. I am pleased to say that this is our third year in the Sprout program. My husband, Craig, and I have six children ranging in age from one year up to ten years old. When we first discovered the Sprouts program only two of our children were eligible ages (3-5yr) so we were hopeful they would both be accepted. Looking at the options on the application I had heard of a violin so we listed that as the string instrument we wanted to learn how to play. Shockingly to me we got assigned something called a ‘cello’. Fast forward a couple years and here we are proud parents of two level three cellists and a mom that knows what a cello is and can play a few tunes.
I think anytime you have a toddler establishing a routine is crucial for both their well being and your sanity. For us it became natural to practice in the evenings once Dad got home. Dad walks in the door, cellos are out and ready to go, and Audrey and Cullen played for Dad while I finished Supper. This last year we have struggled with this more as we have older children that are in activities and the evening availability has lessened. We have found that you have to let your routine grow with you and it evolves as you go along. If something isn’t working don’t be afraid to change it. The beauty in the Sprouts program is that you have all the material you could possibly want or need at your disposal but it is up to you and your child to implement it.
Somewhat of a curveball for us is having two children playing the same instrument in the same class but learning completely different. We are blessed that Audrey loves cello and is a great example to her younger brother. Audrey loves everything cello and one of her favorite sprout songs is from this year, “Hunting Dance, performance tempo” for Audrey the faster the music the better. Cullen, on the other hand, enjoys a little bit slower pace and maybe a glance or two at his fingers (still working on this). One of his favorite pieces is “Haunted House” from year one and two (a different version). If you are struggling with your sprout student consider meeting up with another sprout friend to practice a couple of times a week. You will be amazed as to how beneficial this can be.
If you have read this far you are an amazing caregiver, so pat yourself on the back. Honestly, there are so many excuses in the book or reasons why this just doesn’t work for you or your sprout but consider this, every second spent with your sprout is an investment in their future. You do not have to be musical to do the Sprouts program, if you ever meet me in real life you will learn rather quickly that music just isn’t my thing. Music is, however, a beautiful art meant to be enjoyed by the world and you are enriching your life and your sprout’s life by this program. Continue to celebrate the small things your Sprout does, applaud yourself for practicing with them and bringing them to class, and prepare to be amazed by your Sprout’s growth in all areas of life as you progress with the program.
One more piece of sage advice, make as many of the Sprouts classes as you can. Most levels are offered multiple times on different days so if for some reason your assigned day doesn’t work one week, email the teacher and go to a different class. We have an established cello community that make me, the adult, want to attend class. I love the feeling of belonging and discussing with others their triumphs and failures. So much can be learned from other caregivers. The absolute best part, however, is the instruction you receive. All teachers in the Sprout’s program are top notch. Their ingenuity, positivity, and love of music radiate in all that they do. This is something wonderful that will rub off on your Sprout.
If you are thinking of enrolling, just DO IT, you will not regret it. If you are thinking you just can’t keep up or Sprouts is no longer for you, reach out to your teacher, to parents in your class, or to me. I am always willing to share much more details of our day to day with you and help in any way I can.
In the words of Plato,
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything.”