Mar 262012
 

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My 10 month old and I had the opportunity to visit a Music Together class by Music With Maddy. If you are not familiar with Music Together, it is a hands-on music learning program for babies and children. Music Together teachers come from a variety of backgrounds, and bring their musical training with them to the program. The curriculum is designed to tap into children’s innate love of music and movement and help them to develop a love (and an ear!) for music.

Maddy greeted everyone as we arrived, asking each child’s name, and singing some songs in English and Spanish while we waited for class time to start. Carpet squares gave the kids a visual cue for arranging themselves in a circle.

If you’ve never been to a Music Together Class, you should definitely take advantage of the next opportunity for a preview class.  If you’re thinking your baby is too young, think again- since this is a mixed-age program, the room was wall-to-wall babies and they were all having fun! The youngest were firmly in the “pre-mobile” camp. My little guy got excited as soon as we walked in and the music was playing in the background. By the time the ukelele came out, he was beside himself. He played with egg shakers, learned a new word (ribbit), danced, and made friends with the other babies. He also waved his arms in the air and jumped around. There was some serious baby party time going on!

If you have an older child, you’ve no doubt had the dubious pleasure of observing a class they were taking  somewhere else. I say “dubious” because who COULDN’T love watching their child have fun, but there is always at least one parent or caregiver who is upset that their child isn’t participating “right.” Either they want to observe first (my eldest spent nearly an entire dance class on my lap before he felt ready to join in), or they aren’t following the directions exactly enough to please someone. Here is your “safe space” where your child and all the other children in the class are encouraged to experience the program in their own way.

At the opening of class, Maddie discussed the way in which children learn, and asked that we refrain from trying to “help” them do the activities. We were encouraged to share with them, to play along so they could see our example, and to respond to them as they interacted with the music, but to let them experience it themselves. She explained that they all have to take in and process in the way that works for them, whether that was jumping in and dancing along or sitting back and listening. That means that this class had no “stage moms,” but lots of smiles and happy families enjoying the music… together! The bigger kids really got into the activities- trying the instruments, playing games with the floaty scarves, hopping and clapping and going around the circle. I saw a lot of turn taking and sharing, and none of the bigger kids wanted anything they were doing to end.

The cost for a Music Together session is a little higher than some other children’s class options. Given that the class comes with take home resources, the teachers have a very high level of training, and the quality of the curriculum, I think the cost is fair for what’s offered. If you visit the class and love the music, but the tuition doesn’t fit your budget, Music Together offers downloads or CDs you can share with your child by clicking here.

Music with Maddy offers classes through the Falls Church Community Center, and they are enrolling now. Click here for schedules and registration information.

Looking for more fun things to do? Check our Playdate calendar or volunteer to host a playdate near you!

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