When Clay Colton first walked into a Music Together class with his two children, ages one and three, he was surprised to discover a sense of playfulness and fun, coupled with a music-learning environment. “It was great to see children learning about rhythm and pitch through fun and entertaining techniques,” recalls Clay. “It appealed to me and my children because they experienced the joy of learning music.”
For years, many child-development experts have advocated “developmentally appropriate practices” in the education of young minds. This child-centered approach is based on the premise that children learn best through non-formal play; that is, we work from the ways very young children actually learn. In creating Music Together, founder/director Kenneth K. Guilmartin and coauthor Lili M. Levinowitz, Ph.D., applied this approach to music learning. As Guilmartin explains, “Music Together teachers learn to reinforce spontaneous behaviors that we know support development, but they don’t directly instruct or require these behaviors from the children.”
So what does this mean to families in a Music Together class? It means that given opportunities to play and experiment with music, and supported by strong modeling from parents, teachers and other caregivers, children’s musical abilities will flourish naturally. Children have an inherent tendency to be musical, and their music aptitude develops in response to active music making, just as their ability to talk develops by absorbing language. Thus, non-formal family music-making — whether it happens in class, at home, in the car, or at the park — stimulates music learning. The goal is to generate, in each classroom and home, a very rich assortment of sound, sight, tonal, rhyth¬mic, imaginative, and emotional experiences.
In Music Together classes, the process of music learning occurs through playful activities that are designed to accommodate all learning styles and developmental stages without the constraints of “performance.” The songs and activities presented in class act as a springboard for exploring the unique improvisational pleasures of music making. And, it’s simply fun! As dad Paco Mahone puts it, “We laugh a lot, we dance a lot. Music should be experienced this way. It’s a language we can all share and appreciate. Music Together provides an environment where everyone can safely explore the potential of developing and enjoying musical creativity.”
Music Together is an internationally-recognized early childhood music and movement curriculum for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. Originally 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 now offered in more than 2,000 communities in over 30 countries around the world. Teacher trainings are also available as are our award-winning CDs and “Music Together® Family Favorites® Songbook for Teachers.” For more information, visit www.musictogether.com/TheLink.
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