1. What is Music Together®?
Music Together® is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, 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.
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.
Music Together is committed to helping families, caregivers, and early childhood professionals rediscover the pleasure and educational value of informal music experiences. All teachers have successfully completed Music Together’s training program. Music Together applies the latest research in early childhood development to the program. Music Together: A curriculum pioneer since 1987.
2. What is a Music Together® Class?
A Music Together class is:
3. Why are the classes mixed ages?
- A community of families sharing songs, instrument play, rhythm chants, and movement activities in a relaxed, playful, non-performance-oriented setting.
- Music learned through developmentally appropriate activities that support and respect the unique learning styles of very young children.
- Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers participating at their own levels in family-style classes of mixed ages.
- Parents and caregivers contributing to the enrichment of their child’s music environment- regardless of their own musical abilities.
- A new song collection every semester for three years, featuring great arrangements of original and traditional songs in a wide variety of tonalities, meters, and cultural styles.
- It’s 45 minutes of PURE FUN with your child every week!!
Interactions are parent-child not child-child as in a preschool situation.
4. Do infants really benefit?
- Our goal is to create an environment of family music making. Classes have more of a family feel rather than a school orientation. Siblings can participate together, as well as moms, dads, grandparents, and caregivers. (No need to get a baby-sitter!)
- A child's stage of musical development (like other areas of development) does not strictly coincide with his/her age.
- The Music Together curriculum offers many levels of instruction simultaneously.
- Early childhood educators are now recommending mixed-age groupings as a better learning environment promoting social development and self-esteem. Older children learn from being in a leadership role, and younger children benefit from the example of an older child.
Yes! Infant participation will seem passive at first, as they actively absorb what they are seeing, hearing, and feeling.
By reading the parent guide and through parent education in class, parents will learn to recognize their infant's musical responses and observe them reaching musical milestones. As their bodies and nervous systems mature, the infants often show progressively more complex musical responses and evidence of song recognition.
Parents will learn in class how to enhance their child's music development and to create or enhance the musical bond with their child. Babies Classes are often offered as a one-semester introduction to non-walking infants. Babies also respond well in the mixed age classes.
5. Why is talking frowned upon in class?
Talking creates a distortion or a "buzz" that conflicts with or distorts the music that we are making. We want the children to soak up as much music (rhythm and tone) as is possible in our brief time together.
6. When is a good age to start Music Together® classes?
- Parent to parent talking, although unintentional, presents a negative role-model to all of the children in the class as we want to role-model music-making, not language. It may also convey the attitude that the parent is not interested. Please remember, a child's disposition toward music comes from their parents. Another interesting factor is that children are attracted to contrast, so they quickly notice and will closely observe that which is different from the rest.
- Parent to child talking (coaching such as "good job", "put your instrument away", etc.) detracts from the overall musical environment for all the children because of the noise-distortion factor. Instead, we encourage you to give your child attention through eye contact, smiling and nodding your head, demonstrate playing or putting your own instrument away, etc.
- When parents stay focused and participate enthusiastically, we increase the number of experiences we are able to provide the children in each class. Remember, you are not only a role-model for your own child, but for all the children in class. Music Together is truly a TEAM effort!
As early as you feel comfortable bringing your child is when to start them. It is not important that they can’t hold the instrument, or walk, or talk yet. What is important, is that we stimulate them.7. How can I help my child to get the most out of the classes?
Arrive on time for the classes so your child hears his/her name sung during the "Hello Song". Late arrival may keep your child from feeling connected to the rest of the class. Be the "encouraging witness" for your child. Make music yourself and watch how your child absorbs what you do. Follow your child’s lead on when to interact and when to let him/her explore as you watch. Try waiting until your child signals that she/he wants to interact, then use non-verbal communication like a smile, singing to them, giving them a "thumbs up", or whatever you use in your family to signal "good job!" and watch how they begin to venture out in class, secure in the knowledge that you are "on duty" as their encouraging witness.8. What if my child can’t sit still for 45 minutes?
Many children are kinesthetic and learn through moving and touching, so in our class your child is free to move around the room as he/she is inspired as long as it is safe for him/her and others. The research and our experience has shown that children learn best when they are able to follow their curiosity.
Music Together classes are informal and designed to draw children in, rather than require them to sit still and receive "instruction". The teacher and the adults create a "bowl" of sound and movement so that the children have an immersion experience which supports their music development. In each class we have 3-4 activities during which we stand up and dance around, giving everyone an opportunity to have a full body experience of the music.
Children express their interest in music making both by observing intently during class and/or by participating at their own level. Occasionally your child may become over-stimulated and/or want a break. When this happens we encourage you to take a break in one of the rooms adjoining your classroom, attend to your child’s need, and re-join the class when your child is ready.9. What if my child puts an instrument in his/her mouth?
Children who are around the teething age learn by putting instruments in their mouths, so don’t worry if this happens. We carry special wipes, so the instruments can be disinfected.