A: Each class includes several important components. Singing and rhymes are used to develop language skills, encourage expressive vocal use, nurture the development of pitch, and increase awareness of the sounds and rhythms in speech. Movement, including free dance, patterned movement, and musical movement-stories, provides the physical experience which children need to explore and understand abstract concepts, allows expression of emotion in self and in the music, builds coordination, and assists in growing social skills.
Instrumental play nurtures awareness of sound quality or timbre, allows individual exploration of ways sound is produced and how that sound can be modified, develops steady beat, and gives a basis for play as part of an ensemble. Early literacy is developed through active involvement in storytelling, both from books and from story boards. At all times, the developmental stage of each individual child is respected and encouraged within the wider scope of the activity.
A: They are a developmentally based method of enhancing a child's early years through family centered music making, offering an enriching environment in which the child can explore, create, and develop a love of both music and learning in general. We believe that children learn best when they have a love for the process, not just an eye for outcome.
We believe that the family is the most important educator for the young child, and that they must be involved both as active participant and co-educator in order for a child to flourish in any early learning endeavor. We also believe that every child has the ability to find fulfillment in music, and that offering the proper environment early on develops the foundation for later confidence and success in more formal music learning.
A: You may certainly enroll two-three children in the same class. Part of the magic of the music experience is the interaction of the child with the caregiver. You may want to consider having an adult present for each child whenever possible.
A: We firmly believe that children learn best when exposed to a group from which they can gain from a variety of perspectives, but where the overall group shares common developmental criteria. Each curriculum level is designed to best suit the stages and goals of the age range they address. The child at the bottom of the age bracket will be ready to flourish in the environment, and will be looking to the older children to provide them with a model of new ways to move, create, and explore concepts.
The child in the upper end of the bracket benefits from the ability to fully involve themselves with the imaginative aspects of the lesson, the ability to take a leadership role in developing the ideas presented, and the chance to have true mastery before moving on to a new challenge. It is a true strength of the program that we are privileged to see many stages of concept development going on simultaneously, rather than requiring only one "acceptable" outcome.
A well-matched grouping can understand the strategies need to play and create together at their level, have a natural spontaneity while still maintaining the structure of the activities, and is stimulated by the varied abilities and perspectives of its members. What can happen in such a group is enriching musically, socially, and developmentally.
A: A foundation of our philosophy is the belief that young children learn best in a family environment, and that music needs to be a part of everyday life, rather than simply a once-a-week activity. In order to accomplish this, families must think of their class as the springboard for a week's worth of play and idea development. Home materials, carefully designed to suit the child's stage and the family's needs, provide the tools for this portion of Kindermusik learning.
Professionally recorded CDs provide music for dancing, singing along, creating and playing along with homemade 'instruments', or just for joyful listening as songs from class time are remembered, reinforced, and committed to memory. Story books enhance a home library and are much loved developers of early literacy. Home activity journals, books, and cards provide the family with tested ways to expand the week's themes beyond the classroom experiences with games, parenting information, and craft ideas.
Additional items suit each level's developmental play style- whether wall banners/picture cards for infants and toddlers, specially designed instruments for older children, or play sets for the creative mind of the preschooler. The home materials are to Kindermusik what lesson books and instrument are to formal lessons, or shoes and leotards are to ballet class- an essential part of full participation in the class as a whole.
A: Absolutely! Autistic children, children with Down's syndrome, hearing impaired children and those with other physical, emotional and learning disorders have generally thrived AND improved in music classes. What the program can do for children with special needs is ten-fold greater than even what it does for those without these disabilities.
A: Let a mom, Petra , tell you in her own words: "My son, Alex, was a Village baby from 10 -18 months. Alex loved the classes and so did all of the parents and children who were with him. I will try to sum up why it worked for us:
* Our teacher fully believed in the program and it came across to the parents. She regularly integrated Foundations of Learning statements and helped us see what benefits our children were deriving from the activities. She also constantly gave suggestions for how to participate in the activities with different age groups. Everyone had ways to participate appropriately for their baby."
* The different ages in the class were wonderful. Parents with infants were enjoying seeing the activities of the older ones and the older children interacted so cute with everyone. There was so much sharing and kindness between the children and parents. We were constantly amazed. "
* The children felt so comfortable with the teacher and all of the parents that many times children would walk or crawl to the teacher or to the other parents and sit with them. No one was ever bored in class. We had more wonderful experiences than I thought possible. "
* The thing that really solidifies my belief in the Village program is seeing my son at home and what a lasting impact the classes have made. He is now 20 months old, so he has been out of Village for a short while. We still listen to the music regularly. He cries to have his Kindermusik CD put on! The Armenian Lullaby from "MOO" is THE thing that puts him to sleep. He has chosen it as his favorite lullaby. The other day he was listening to the FEATHERS CD while playing and suddenly he was lying on the floor, not moving. I wondered what was wrong, but he just looked at me as if inviting me to join him. Then I realized a Quiet Time song was playing. I was stunned. He had never done that at home before. It was not a fluke. He did it again later in the CD. Yesterday during mealtime and the DO-SI-DO CD, he stopped eating during a Quiet Time song and resumed eating when it was over. Later he was looking at a book and the Tango, Cha-Cha! song began. He did not see me watching him move his book side to side in rhythm to Cha-cha-cha. Because of his delight in the music on the CD's, we are now able to take long road trips! Music is now a huge part of our lives, while it wasn't before."
These experiences are what parents come to cherish about the Baby class.
A: As children reach the age of 3.5 to 4, a world of possibilities in the community opens up to them. We can send our children to any number of wonderful activities, but they don't all involve the family. Being able to enjoy our families in a rich musical environment is priceless. These days children are being pushed out into the world at younger ages than ever and it's nice to have an activity where family involvement is celebrated. Many of the benefits of the other activities, such as promoting physical coordination and social skills, providing a structured routine, building self-esteem and developing talents and cognitive abilities, are all encompassed in a music class. PLUS there is the added benefit of a development for a love of music that will last much past the time the dance shoes and karate gees are put away - in fact, as we say, "A good beginning never ends." The opportunity to creatively express their individual imaginations through art, vocal, dance and instrument activities is unique.
A: Instinctively, we know that music belongs in the life of young children: young children are ready for music, they are in their critical period for developing a good foundation in music, and musical potential is often lost if it is not nurtured and maintained in these early years. Anyone who works with young children, even infants, knows how eager and receptive they are to appropriate musical experiences. Additionally, recent brain research has pointed to non-musical crossover benefits of early music study and to how important early music exposure is to a baby's normal development. In a Kindermusik class, parent-child interaction is fostered, socialization with other children is encouraged, fine motor and gross motor development is enhanced, and language skills flourish. Kindermusik helps each child develop musically at the right time and in the right way, and a Kindermusik graduate has a solid foundation and a giant head-start when they move to private instrumental, voice or even dance lessons.
A: Many parents have found that this is not an "either/or" choice. Our music and private lessons are not mutually exclusive; in fact, early childhood supplements and enriches private lessons tremendously. In addition, several Suzuki components are used in our program. The appropriate developmental nature of our activities ensures that learning is never "too much, too fast."
A: To the casual observer, it might indeed look like we are just playing and having fun. While the approach is necessarily playful, every aspect of the curriculum is built upon a solid musical and developmental foundation. While playing and singing, children are improving their rhythmic competency, developing a sense of steady beat, achieving the ability to match pitches, becoming acquainted with timbre, learning a repertoire of songs, experiencing many different instruments, increasing their ability to listen, and of course, gaining a love of music that will last throughout their life.
A: We're working with young children here, so not every class is a dream, but many classes come close. The curriculum works beautifully because it is developmentally appropriate. Each child learns at his or her own level and ability. There is not one standard of performance that anyone is trying to meet, and the WHOLE child is developed through music. It's truly magic!
Children are individuals, with a wide range of aptitude, but all children possess the ability to enjoy lifelong music making, and this ability can be greatly influenced by how we choose to approach their earliest experiences.
Our program contains all of the needed elements to develop a child who is musically aware and who has the solid foundation to make lessons a natural and joyous next step. Children who grow up with music have had chances to succeed, be nurtured and encouraged in their early creative explorations, and develop a core of music theory instilled through voice, body, and mind. Music for them is a natural part of their environment, and they have gained the language of note, rhythm, and expression to help them as they select which instrument they most wish to make their own. Many experts agree that early musical enrichment lays a foundation for musicianship, which may accelerate later progress on an instrument.
Children who graduate from early childhood music have a strong basis in theory, musicianship, and instrumental technique. More importantly, they have been allowed to develop the whole child through music, in a supportive and reassuring atmosphere, which lays the groundwork for a lifetime of positive outlook not only towards music learning, but also towards learning in general.