Friday, April 18, 2008

Because, Eventually, The Rhythm is Going to Get You

Since my daughter was 15 months old I have been taking her to a Music Together program at a nearby school. Music Together is a program that originated out of Princeton University and subscribes to the idea that all children are musical. The theory is that by teaching children at a very young age the idea of tone, rhythm, and other music fundamentals, they will not only take on an appreciation for music and be more open to musical instruction, but also enhance their verbal development through the practice of sounds and vocals. Classes meet weekly and incorporate songs, instruments, and movement. Each child get two CDs (one for home and one for the car), which highlights a praticular instrument that serves as the theme for the session.

Though I was well aware of this philsophy when I initially signed her up, my real intention was to meet other moms and kids in our new area, get out of the house, and just have some fun banging bongos. I was successful with all of the above.

Though we do not enroll for every 10 week session, we are still going back to Music Together and Teacher Linda, and each new session reveals my daughter's growing interest in music, song, and dance. Moreover, my young son also seems to enjoy the time as well.

After his birth, I had put off going back to Music until he had a somewhat predictable schedule. By this point, however, I would have to pay for him as well (6 months and over). In truth, I had trouble reconciling the fact that I would have to shell out money for an 8 month old to sit and stare at a bunch of other kids having fun with instruments. However, as the winter months creeped on, I was prepared to pay in renal donations to find something to get us outof the house and stimulated.

Much to my surprise, not only did he love the class, he actually was responding to it. He claps and waves his hands along with the songs. He babbles along to the sound exercises. For 75%, he is pretty engaged, which really makes me a believer in something I had originally just chalked up to a fancy distraction for kids.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in a music program, the lovely Liz sent me this article that really breaks down the different programs (e.g. Music Together, Kindermusik, etc):

http://www.nymetroparents.com/newarticle.cfm?colid=7508

These programs are available everywhere and are a great way to expose your child to a sensory stimulus that may not otherwise be engaged. I will say that not every child responds the same way, and some have absolutely no interest...which is absolutely normal too. Much like the differences in kids' food preferences, personality, and types of play, music programs are not for everyone. Having said that, know that it often takes a few classes for your child to open up to the program. However, with a little time, most kids will be singing and dancing along with the rest of the class.

1 comment:

Abbie, Paul, Drew and Charlotte's Web said...

After experiencing both Music Together and Kindermusic, the former is the best...hands down! The CDs utilize the same singers and music style, the class was structured, but extremely friendly and stimulating. At Kindermusic the instructor alloted time for stories??? How is that related to music. Unfortunately, there is not a Music Together class in the New Bern, NC area...we miss it desperately! ("Open Shut Them" has helped me through several long grocery store lines at the brink of nap time!)..."give a little clap"!