This summer, Caroline and I participated in a mini-session of music classes at Heartsong Music Together. My sister-in-law had raved about the music program her kids are in, but I wasn’t sure it was worth the expense. After seeing the fun songs Liz did with the kids and how much Caroline loved them, I decided we’d try out a couple of classes. We did a trial class with a traveling Music Together class near our house. The class was held at a church, and the instructor was fabulous. From just that trial, I learned not to manipulate Caroline’s hands to force her to clap to the beat. Then we tried a class at Hearstong Music Together and signed up for the mini-summer session.
I was amazed — with the program, with the school, with the instructor, and with what Caroline got out of the classes.
Music Together is a franchised curriculum that is research-based and child-centered. The director at Heartsong is Montessori trained and has the school set-up as a Montessori environment. The kids are welcome to play and explore before and after class. From what I understand, most Music Together classes are held at community centers or churches. Heartsong’s school is unique.
The Music Together program rotates songbooks each session, with three books a year, different books for three years. Ideally, one would participate in the classes for three years to experience each book. The course includes the weekly class (50 minutes at Heartsong), two cds (one for the car and one for home), the music book, a parent-guide on the philosophy of the method, and a parent-education night. At the core of the philosophy is the parents’ involvement. If mom or dad is participating and enjoying music, the child will take it in.
Caroline bursts into song frequently now. She recognizes musical instruments, mimics tones, and knows the do-re-mi scale. I realized how much she learns from song, so I bought a Christian praise cd for kids that includes the Lord’s Prayer to help her learn that. We’ve also checked out Putamaya’s World Playground from the library and are enjoying listening to that. Exposure to the music of different cultures and the complex beats involved is also important, according to Music Together.
We signed up for a full session for the fall, and Caroline and John (and sometimes, I) will attend that together on Saturdays. Heartsong is holding free trial classes this week September 5-7. Check them out!