Music Together is designed for children ages birth through age 7. At Music Together we believe that music ability is as much a basic life skill as walking and talking, and that all children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with pleasure and confidence in the music of their culture. Music Together classes nurture the child’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement as we sing, dance, chant, and play instruments in an informal setting that will enrich her musical environment and guide her towards a lifetime of music-making enjoyment.Back to the top
As you participate in class, listen to the CD together and try the activities at home. What kind of response should you expect? Some children are spontaneous singers and movers, others are careful and astute observers. In either case, after sufficient listening and observing time at home and in class, you may begin to notice your child singing or chanting parts of songs, sometimes with words, sometimes without. However, even when your child gives no response or seems uninterested in listening or participating, important unconscious learning is taking place.
Keep in mind the following points:
Most children choose (wisely) to observe more often than to participate actively in class. They are taking in information, which they will act on later at home.
Most children become accustomed to the class routine and their classmates around the fifth or sixth week. At this point, their participation is likely to increase.
Children are assimilating important music information whether or not they are outwardly participating. At home, this means it may be important to play the CD or sing the songs yourself even if your child seems to be unaware or uninterested, especially during the first few weeks of class.
Remember that you are the most important model and teacher for your child. Your most effective role is to participate and enjoy the class yourself, even though your child might choose to sit back and observe. If you are enjoying yourself, your child will soon wish to share that enjoyment with you.
We know it might be difficult to watch other children zealously participate in the group while your child does not. This is especially true if your child performs all of his class favorites as soon as you arrive home. Try to understand that he is very wisely "practicing" in private and will make his public "debut" when he feels more confident. Meanwhile, if you feel suddenly overwhelmed with frustration by the lack of your child's participation in class, just count to three, relax, and participate yourself!
Some parents are somewhat disconcerted by the concept of being their child's most important role model, especially when it comes to music! You may feel that you are not particularly musical - perhaps you even describe yourself as being "tone deaf". You may be great at singing but feel unsure of yourself or "vague" when dancing or trying to "keep the beat". Whatever the level of your technical skill, remember the most important things you can model for your child are simply pleasure, interest, and the desire to participate in music activities.
Many adults feel deprived, confused, or inadequate about their ability in music, as if they have been denied something that should be effortless and natural. In fact, this is often the case. As your understanding of your child's music development grows in the coming weeks, you may also come to understand that unfortunate circumstances in your own childhood music experience may be at the root of some of these feelings. More important, by participating with your child, you can begin to rediscover within yourself the natural human musicality that is everyone's birthright.
Play your Music Together CD at home. If there is a CD player in the car, it's also great to play the CD while driving. Do not limit its use to the car, though - children are less able to move to the music while strapped into a car seat!
Many children will want specific songs repeated again and again. Try to accommodate them by replaying their favorite track. They crave the repetition because it is necessary for their development. Repetition is one way they "practice".
Another way they "practice" is through spontaneous, playful imitation of the songs and activities they experience in class. These imitations will, of course, probably not be "correct" but they will certainly be fun!
Some children may not demonstrate interest in the recording. Right now, they may have different developmental needs and interests or simply have other current favorites. Perhaps they haven't adjusted to the class experience yet and are holding some enthusiasm in reverse! Just play the CD in the background, perhaps as they play or take a bath. Their interest in both the class and the CD will grow with familiarity.
The CD provides a way of reinforcing and following up on the class experience of live adults participating in live musical activities. The more you can continue this kind of participation at home by singing the songs or doing the chants and fingerplays yourself, the better it is, as long as you do it in the spirit of fun and enjoyment. Nothing sets a better model for your child than doing an activity you enjoy yourself.
Remember to use the songbook, even if you don't read music! Use it like a story book and "read" the songs to your child, especially the ones with pictures. In time, you might suggest that your child draw his or her own pictures for the songs, especially for those that don't have one!
Notice the effects of your child's experience in class and note his listening habits with the CD at home during the week. Write down or remember any questions you might have about your child's responses and then ask your teacher and discuss with other parents in class.
In the 1980s Music Together pioneered the development of the mixed-age approach in early childhood music. In each class we strive to create a musically rich, developmentally appropriate environment where the whole family can enjoy music and nurture skills at the level right for each child. Mixed-age classes also provide a rich learning environment because children of different ages thrive when they interact with each other: the babies are often fascinated by the older child, and the "big" children (3- and 4-year-olds) enjoy helping and sharing with the "little" ones. This approach is based on research from music education, early childhood development, and family relationships, as well as our 20 years experience in the field.
Because children aged 5, 6, and 7 are developmentally so different from the children birth through 4, Music Together does offer a class beyond the mixed-age class created specifically for this older age group. Children 5 through 7 are ready for more independence and new challenges and are both more social and more comfortable with a structured classroom setting. Music Together Big Kids®™ classes are designed to meet the needs of 5- through 7-year-olds, whether or not they have participated in Music Together mixed-age classes before.
Enhance your child's experience in class by remembering to sing, sing, sing! Your active participation is the key to your child's musical growth. Support the creation of a music-only environment while in class by not talking to your child or other adults during the 45 minutes. Since it is difficult for a young child to screen out adult conversation, please wait until after class to socialize. We need you to contribute to the creation of a musical environment for all the children to absorb.
Try not to give verbal directions to your child. It can be tough to restrain the impulse to say, "Do what the teacher is doing!" or "Hold your instrument this way," but children respond best by watching and listening to you and doing things by themselves! Wandering toddlers are fine, but if you want your child to come back to you, avoid calling to him or her from across the room. If necessary, redirect your child physically back to you or the circle. Please do watch out for your child’s safety, but mostly, we want you to just relax and have fun!
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. Use the songbook to help you remember the songs or to play along if you play an instrument. Try using the songbook at storytime instead of a regular book, and sing through the songs as you go along. Looking at 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 enter elementary school.
New Music Together parents receive our introductory DVD "Music Together at Home: Helping Your Child Grow Musically." During class your teacher will refer to topics and point out examples of things covered in the video. We are also happy to discuss your child's individual progress in obtaining music competence at any time outside class. If you are a returning student and it has been months or years since you have read the Parent Guide or seen the new DVD, reread it or ask for a copy of the DVD today! You may be surprised how valuable it is, especially after having personal experience observing your child's music development.
Throughout the semester, Music Together classes may be in session when older children have a school holiday. Older siblings of registered students may occasionally visit provided that the visit is authorized by Matt Yaeger, the center director. Visitation spots are available first come, first served.
Families are allowed three make-ups per 10-week semester and one make-up during the summer session. Make-ups may be taken at any of our locations and are scheduled online, as are make-up cancellations. Make-ups do not carry over from previous semesters. Registered families receive instructions for scheduling and canceling make-ups on the first day of class.
Changes can be made depending on class availability. Please contact Matt Yaeger, the center director.
Families who want to withdraw from class must do so before classes begin in order to receive a refund of tuition, less the $20 nonrefundable registration fee. The tuition fee cannot be refunded after classes begin. Families are responsible for class attendance. Nonattendance does not constitute withdrawal from class.
Late registration will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Matt Yaeger, the center director.
Please feel free to nurse or bottle-feed your child in class as needed, aside from that please only bring water in the classrooms and refrain from snacks.
Any number of adult caregivers are welcome to attend class at any time; there is no need to ask! Whole-family music-making in your home is extremely valuable to your child's musical development, and attending class occasionally helps the other family members to join in at home.
As our classes are participatory and educational experiences between adults and children, we ask our families to refrain from taking photos or videos during class time. However, we welcome the taking of pictures before or after class.
Unless specifically asked by an Instructor to bring things to class, bringing your child's toys, dolls, and things of the sort is discouraged. It can detract from you child's participation in the class, as well as serve as a distraction and source of conflict for other children.
Paying in full through our online system or by check is encouraged. Payment plans are permitted on a case-by-case basis and must be discussed and approved by Matt Yaeger, the center director.