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About Music Together
What Is Music Together®?
Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. The Music Together Curriculum now serves 2500 communities in over 40 countries around the world. Find out more at the Music Together curriculum website.
What Makes Music Together Different?
Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical.
All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning. By emphasizing actual music experiences rather than concepts about music, Music Together introduces children to the pleasures of making music instead of passively receiving it from CDs or TV.
Central to the Music Together approach is that young children learn best from the powerful role model of parents/caregivers who are actively making music. The program brings families together by providing a rich musical environment in the classroom and by facilitating family participation in spontaneous musical activity at home within the context of daily life.
Are Music Together Teachers Certified & Trained?
All of our teachers have successfully completed Music Together’s training program and an additional internship.
Teachers enjoy ongoing skill development workshops and support throughout the year, and they become part of an international teaching and learning community on the cutting edge of music education.
How Should I Use The Music Together Family Materials?
Using the CD: Play your CD at home and in the car as frequently as possible, especially during the first few weeks of class. Make it available to your child to listen to while playing or before nap or bedtime. SING ALONG! Once you learn the songs well enough, you can sing them together without the CD, and make up your own, fun new variations and versions.
Using the songbook: Each song is brought to life through colorful and engaging illustrations. The new book will inspire your family to play with music all week long. You’ll find it helpful to learn the lyrics, as a jumping-off point for creative storytelling, and to learn more about the songs you’re singing in class. Your child may enjoy snuggling with you and singing through the whole book at once—or opening to a page to tell you what song they want to sing! Try using the songbook at story time instead of a regular book, and sing through the songs as you go along. Seeing the printed notes on the page will help children understand that music is something that can be read, like words. Familiarization with notation will help them when they are more ready for formal music instruction, typically when they are school aged.
Other fun things to try are:
• Make up new words to tunes you know already and include your child’s name in the song – could be about what you see around you or related to activities like getting ready for bed.
• Have a play along jam in the kitchen with all of the pots and pans and big spoons and whisks etc. Put on the Music Together CD and jam along or choose one of your favourite bands and introduce some new music to your child.
• Pick at time of day and create a ritual moment where you make music with your child. Perhaps it’s a lullaby before bed, a song during bath time, a dance jam when mom and dad get home from work, a brushing teeth song, or a wake-up and get ready song.
• Sing in the car! This is a great place to play with part singing and rounds or singing along with your favourite music.
• Use props like bouncing balls, scarves or sheets to play with the rhythm and form of the music.
• Invite your child up on your lap and sing your way through a horsey ride, a crazy car ride or and airplane ride.
New Music Together parents receive a Parent Education Guide and a Growth Chart.
During class, your teacher will refer to topics and point out examples of music development. We are also happy to discuss your child’s individual progress in obtaining musical competence at any time outside of class. If you are a returning student and it has been months or years since you have read the Parent Guide, re-read it! You may be surprised how valuable it is, especially after having personal experience observing your child’s music development.
Also, please log on to The Family Music Zone on musictogether.com to access (as an enrolled family) the extensive resources provided, mp3 versions of the songs for download, special activity ideas, videos, and more!
What Is The Family Music Zone?
The Family Music Zone is an online network for all parents around the world to share information, experiences and to download additional resource material (video, illustration, songs, researches).
What Kind Of Instruments Do You Use?
We have a wide variety of un-pitched instruments such as Drums, Triangles, Tambourines, Bells, Shakers and Rhythm sticks.
Developmentally-appropriate unpitched instruments are used so that the children will never feel they are playing a “wrong” note and can join in however they like.
You too will be playing along on these instruments!
We sometimes use balls, stretch bands and scarves to intensify a multi-sensorial experience and have more fun!
About Children & Parents
Do Infants Benefit From The Class?
Early childhood, a period of rapid change and development, is the most critical period in a child’s musical growth and has been identified in the literature as the “music babble” stage (Moog, 1976; Gordon, 1988) or primary music development (Levinowitz and Guilmartin, 1989, 1992, 1996).
Even the youngest infant is wired to receive music and discriminate among differences in frequency, melody, and stimuli (Bridger, 1961; Trehub et al, 1990; Standley and Madsen, 1990; Zentner and Kagan, 1996).
Just as in language development, babies are taking in information and processing it, creating new understandings of the language and experience of music that will lead to later stages of development.
They “participate” very little during the first six months to one year, but without that exposure, they would not be able to develop speech as they grow older. Although their participation will be passive, they are very actively absorbing what they are seeing, hearing, and feeling so they can act upon it as their body and nervous system matures. Here is a link to an article about how your baby’s brains develops (pdf).
Are Music Together Classes Appropriate For Children With Special Needs?
Yes! All children are musical, and we welcome children with special needs!
Our classes are structured to offer a wide variety of musical activities and experiences, which children can process at their own pace and developmental level, regardless of age or individual need. Furthermore, research has shown that music can help to strengthen gross motor, fine motor, speech and socialization skills in all children and often proves an invaluable resource to parents, who through music find a deeper way of interacting with their children.
I‘m Worried That My Child Won’t Sit Still For 60 Minutes?
Music Together classes maintain an informal atmosphere in the classroom and we do not expect children of this young age to sit still throughout the whole class.
Normally we have about 3 or 4 activities during the class where we all get up and move around the room. Also children are free to wander about the circle or around the room any time during the class as long as they are obviously still mentally engaged in the activities.
We honor the fact that each child will have their own unique response to the music and to new experiences, and we welcome and encourage all types of learners, including kinesthetic learners!
Parents are free to take the activity over to a child who has left the circle, to engage them or try to bring them back to the circle, but modeling their own participation in the group is all we ask of parents, and it’s all your child needs from you!
What Is My Role As A Parent?
Enhance your child’s experience in class by remembering to sing, sing, sing and move, move, move your body. Your active participation is the key to your children learning and growing musically.
Support the creation of a music only environment while in class by not talking to your children or other adults during the 45 minutes. Since it is difficult for a young child to mask out adult conversation please wait to socialize till after class, and instead contribute to the creation of a musical environment for the children to absorb.
Try not to give verbal directions. It can be tough to restrain the impulse to give your child directives such as “Do what she is doing, hold your instrument this way” but children respond best by just seeing and hearing you doing (and enjoying) it yourself!
Wandering toddlers is fine, but If you want your child to come back to you, avoid calling to him from across the room. If necessary, redirect your child physically back to you or the circle. Of course watch out for your child’s safety, but mostly your job is to just relax, and have fun!
I’m Not Very Musical, Can I Still Attend With My Child?
You are your child’s most important role model, no matter what kind of singing voice or dancing feet you have (or think you have!!).
It is less important how well you sing than it is to model making the choice to sing. By your example, children will learn that music is a natural, enjoyable and important part of their lives.
You, the primary caregiver, are the only one who can give your child the gift of a positive attitude to make music.
No CD can impart that! What your child loves and needs most is to hear your voice at home or in class. Throughout the classes you will also get more information on how to best support your child’s musical journey.
Can I Bring Family Members & Friends?
Yes. Any number of adults can attend and siblings under 10 months old can come for free. We encourage as many family members as possible to attend!
Do You Provide A Breastfeeding-friendly Environment?
Yes, we totally support breastfeeding in class.