Music Together® Philosophy
Four research-based learning theories guide the Music Together® philosophy:
- All children are musical.
- All children can achieve basic music competence–the ability to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm.
- The participation and modeling of parents and caregivers–regardless of their musical ability–are essential to a child’s musical growth.
- Young children’s musical growth occurs best in a playful, musically rich and developmentally appropriate setting.
This foundation is the work of music educators Kenneth Guilmartin and Dr. Lili Levinowitz, whose collaboration began in Princeton, New Jersey in 1987. Their work became Music Together, a parent-child music and movement experience in which children learn. Their program has become an early childhood education success story nationwide and around the world.
Music Together classes demonstrate the idea that making music with children, both in the family and in a community of families, enriches the lives of both children and parents. It also promotes musical growth in children, nurturing their musical aptitude.
Each child interacts with his or her own parent or caregiver alongside a trained and registered Music Together® teacher. The teacher leads the class in songs and rhythm chants selected from the song collection for the current term. Songs are presented through a variety of musical activities, each a fun and playful way to interact with the tonal and rhythmic elements of music. Activities can be small and large movements, expressive dance, instrumental accompaniment, balls or scarves as props, and, of course, the chance for parent and child to improvise. Teachers explain how each activity relates to the child’s musical development, educating the parent or caregiver as class takes place. Parents receive a CD and songbook for each session.
The Music Together curriculum teaches on many levels of complexity, letting each child develop at his or her own rate. Because activities are parent-child oriented (not child-child), children don’t need to be with children of the same age. Mixed age groupings promote social skills and self esteem, encouraging a better learning environment. Older children learn from being in a leadership role, and younger children benefit from the example of an older child. Even infants benefit: although they may appear passive at first, they actively absorb what they are seeing, hearing and feeling. Parents to learn to recognize their infant’s responses and observe as musical milestones develop.
Classes meet weekly for 45 minutes. Three ten-week sessions are held each academic year and a six-week summer sessions begins mid-June. Students may attend one make-up class per session. Siblings attend at reduced rate tuition. Infants under 7 months attend free with an older sibling. Infants under 7 months without a sibling attend at reduced rate tuition.