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Music to their young ears

April 28, 2017 GMT

Amy Mason doesn’t need to see the research of the benefits of music for a person’s mental health. She’s seen the benefits up close.

It’s been well established by scientists that listening to, playing and hearing music to music has positive effects on the brain. So it only makes sense to get children singing and hearing music at an early age.

Mason certainly agrees, having seen how well the Fort Madison YMCA Kindermusik class – an international program which uses a “music-and-movement” method – has been for her 3 1/2-year-old son, Tristin. The class meets every Wednesday morning for an hour at the First Baptist Church, just east of the Y.

“It’s a great program for working with young minds,” instructor Hannah Fehseke said.

Mason’s son is autistic, and she was referred to the class by another mother of an autistic child.

“We’re looking for social interaction that he would be comfortable with,” Mason said. She plans on continuing the classes as, “Since we started, he’s been open to new things and saying ‘Hi’ to everybody.”

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His favorite song is “Head and shoulders, knees and toes.” Mason said, “He did really well with that one.”

Todd Smith of West Point has been bringing his 2 1/2-year-old daughter Kynlee.

“She loves it,” Smith said. “It’s really about getting to work with other kids. She doesn’t go to daycare, and she’s interacting a lot.”

Kynlee’s favorite is the Goodbye song at the end of each class.

The final program for the 2- to 3-year-old group is next Wednesday. But the summer session starts June 6 and will be for any children up to 5. Fehseke said those interested should contact the Y at 372-2403 for times and prices.

Fehseke is not employed by the Y, but is a licensed Kindermusik instructor, which is only natural given the different jobs she has held.

“I’ve been working with children half my life,” she said. She’s been the children’s librarian at the Fort Madison Public Library. She’s worked with preschools and childcare centers.

“I have a passion for working with kiddos,” Fehseke said.