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Music Classes for Babies, Toddlers and Young Children: Musikgarten

Making Change

Change is always a challenge.  Sometimes it’s for the best, but doing something differentmusic classes for kids flemington takes an open mind and a fair amount of courage.

When Hunterdon Academy of the Arts decided to change the pre-school music program to Musikgarten, I naturally had to ask why.  Why should all the teachers take time to re-train?  Why change the music cd’s and some of our methods?  Wasn’t the program we had been offering for over 20 years a quality program?

Of course it was.  But that shouldn’t stop us as educators from seeking out different programs offering better methods, firmly based on the most up-to-date research of experts in early childhood music education and child development.

The Musikgarten program unfolds like a well-written story.  It starts by exposing our youngest students to delightful songs, finger plays and dances that stimulate the senses and gives caretakers the chance to share precious giggles and hugs.  The toddler and 3-4 year-old curriculum (Cycle of Seasons) continues the journey by repeating the tonal and rhythm patterns from familiar songs and giving these active little ones the chance to move, move, and move!  At the Music Makers level, children begin to see how music is notated, again using those familiar patterns.  Now, how easy is that?  With more dances, music from around the world, storytelling and Orff instruments (trust me, these are way cool), the musical development of our students just grows and grows.  Not to mention the side benefits of getting along with others, developing attention and listening skills, learning turn taking, classroom behavior and all that students need to be successful in school.  

  request-a-free-musikgarten-demo-class

I am often asked by parents if we can offer their five-year-old piano lessons.  My response is that we don’t find too many children that age with no prior music education experience who can be successful.  They have shorter attention spans and don’t like to practice consistently.   That just results in giving up, and the family deciding that “music lessons” are not for them.  How sad that would be when the solution, in my opinion, would have been to spend a year or two preparing the child for those private lessons with a program specifically designed for young children, like Musikgarten.  The classes for 5 and 6 year olds include singing, dancing and age-appropriate music instruction.   When children reach age seven, they can’t wait to make music at the keyboard!

This easy, sensible progression to musical literacy that Musikgarten offers is the main reason why HAA decided to make the change.  This is one teacher who thinks it was a great idea!

Michele Collins, Musikgarten Teacher at Hunterdon Academy of the Arts

From Musikgarten to Kindergarten (By Neha Gohil)

It has been hard for me to believe that my first baby is actually inneha gohil Kindergarten, let alone half way through her first year of elementary school. She recently brought home her first progress report and we couldn’t be more proud of the remarks from her Teacher. While we read things we already know, such as, she is independent, a more fluent reader, a great friend, empathetic and always willing to help, has great pencil grasp and penmanship, etc.--I could go on (all you Parents out there reading this can relate!--I know that these skills didn’t just develop overnight. I truly believe that the early exposure to several multi-sensory activities, preschool and its opportunity for socialization along with her innate ability have made “E” so successful and confident.

My husband and I moved to Flemington from Boston in 2005 when “E” was just 6 months old. I had stopped working prior to giving birth and decided to stay home, making us a one income family. As I searched for outlets to socialize as a new mom, I was met with tons of advice and recommendations about which activities to enroll in. Having a background in Special Education, I already had some ideas about what activities were a must, but needed to be sure they were worth our time and money. While I knew the benefits of music, it wasn’t until I sat down and researched Musikgarten that I realized this was a “must” activity.

The curriculum is developmentally based and provides age-appropriate activities. Skills like inhibitory control (very difficult for toddlers) and steady beat (aids in cutting with scissors, walking in line, bouncing a ball) are addressed in an engaging way. 

While each of my children possesses different strengths, I know that early music education has helped bring them out. Again, it is not the only reason for their respective success, but I truly believe a strong contributor. I’ve had so much fun bonding with my kids and other families that I even joined the teaching staff because of it.

Neha Gohil is on the Early Childhood faculty of Hunterdon Academy of the Arts

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