WHAT ON EARTH would you do with music and a class full of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers?
Have you ever wondered what you can do to nurture the musical growth of your child, regardless of your own musical ability? Experience Music Together and find out how important--and how fun--your role can be! Music Together has been a leader in early childhood music development and research for over two decades and is now a beloved program all over the world. You'll wish you'd found it sooner!
Our Music Together classes, designed for babies through age 6, build on your child's natural enthusiasm for music and movement - building basic music competence in pitch and steady beat through playful, purposeful activities. This enhances their future comfort level and ease with music and to enhances several areas of childhood development in the process. The greatest part of Music Together is the special musical bond it creates between parents and their little ones as they create musical memories in class and at home. A very enriching experience for the whole family!
Generations mult-generational MUSIC TOGETHER offers all the same wonderful expereinces but also includes a beautiful connection and inclusion of our senior grand-friends at the Agrioptia Generations Center.
The Music Together program has been published since 1987 by the Center for Music and Young Children, an organization in Princeton, NJ, dedicated to understanding how children develop musically. The program is based on the center's research findings, which show the following:
I. All children are musical.
II. All children can achieve basic music competence (defined as the ability to sing in tune with accurate rhythm).
III. The participation and modeling of parents and other primary caregivers, regardless of their musical ability, is essential to a child's musical growth.
IV. Young children’s musical growth occurs best in a playful, musically rich, and developmentally appropriate setting, free of direct instruction and performance pressure, where learning activities are accessible, interesting, and fun for both children and adults.
Developed by Kenneth K. Guilmartin and coauthor Lili Levinowitz, PhD, the songs in each Music Together collection are carefully selected and arranged to facilitate children's breadth and quality of experience. The center operates a lab school in the Princeton area where program elements are constantly assessed.
What does the Music Together session include with tuition?
A weekly 45 minute class, 2 CDs, a Songbook, a child's music development guide, and membership to Music Together's resources are included so you can enjoy more meaningful musical experiences at home and in the car with your child. Each song collection from Music Together contains an enriching, varied "musical diet" of different meters, styles, and cultures for your child to experience and absorb. In addition, parent education resources such as booklets, special website access to videos, and newsletters give you more confidence in supporting their musical development!
Normal sessions are 8 - 10 weeks long, found to be the most effective for getting the most from the material, but occasionally a shorter session is offered such as in the summer. Price is adjusted for tuition in shorter sessions. Tuition for Family Music's Music Together is less than $15 a class - very reasonable compared to other activities, but especially considering the quality of the program, the wide variety of high quality class child-safe instruments and props we use, and Ms Colleen's qualifications, degrees, and (past and ongoing) training in early childhood music.
What is a Music Together Class?
Music Together is a family bonding music experience like no other for parents (or caregivers) and their children ages 0 - 6! 45-minutes of pure fun weekly, featuring purposeful, yet playful, musical activities. Classes explore a rich collection of music each session through many different ways including (but not limited to) movement, singing, rhythmic chants, games, streamers, balls, and percussion instrument play. A Music Together class gives the very young a place they can grow musically beside their favorite grown-ups, yet be free to participate in the way they feel led according to their stage of development.
What can I expect for parents and children?
The musical activities are developmentally appropriate for young children and easy for parents and caregivers - regardless of their own musical ability. These activities are offered by the teacher and followed by the grown-ups: providing the musical experience that the children absorb during the class regardless of their participation level. Parents should continue to participate throughout class... even when their child deviates. Sometimes a child finds a way they love to experience the current song with their parents that is different from the rest of the group or the group has moved on... my philosophy is - if something engages them musically - PLEASE feel free to continue! A grown-up attention span and classroom style following isn't expected of the children. Only a behavior that is either unsafe or distracting should be quietly corrected, re-directed, or stopped. I will let you know if you need to take them out for a short time...
What if my child doesn't seem to participate during class?
As far as child participation goes: for some children active participation in class takes place right away - for others weeks or not even until another session. Children go through stages of self-awareness when their participation decreases and their observation increases. Many factors that have nothing to do with musical interest or ability contribute to how comfortable a child is to participate during class... however, the music exposure and development is still happening! Instead, notice how their interest and response to music improves in their own comfortable settings to gauge how much of an impact the class is having. Is there more singing and response at home and in the car? Do they turn random things into instruments? All parents report a remarkable increase in music interest and music making at home as each semester!
How do I know if and what my child is gaining from the class?
Are they excited about the pattern (or form) of the song as they wait for or react to the contrasting parts of the song? Are they imitating the pitches at the end of a song? Are they picking up little bits of the melody in the chorus? Are they trying to find something to beat on or moving their bodies to find their internal rhythm? Every child focuses on different areas of music at different times. The wonderful news is that each semester "Music Together" offers a new song collection that naturally nutures all areas of music development including tonality, meter, rhythm, steady beat, and pitch development. And even more wonderful for parents is their 25+ years of research is included in a chart (your "Guide to Musical Development" chart) so you can more easily follow and recognize all these musical development milestones that often go unnoticed! Your current membership to the Music Together community and website will also give you even more knowledge and resources.
Supporting our kids through every stage:
Every stage of our children's development, musically or otherwise, is important whether or not it looks like we expect! In addition it is different for every child. Did you know that a two year old that actively participates may become a three year old that draws back to study what others do? That's part of their development and that's why an open, playful music experience like Music Together is important... it allows for these busy little minds and bodies to take their own track. It is flexible enough to allow children to explore the music in their own way... yet give parents the comfort of interaction ideas and guidance from the teacher. It creates a musical environment where children are invited to participate and try things out... but whether they do or not - every child has their own golden moments of class participation, parent/child bonding, and responses according to their stage of development.