An early introduction to music helps lay the foundation for future success.
Using songs and nursery rhymes, we learn about pitch, rhythm and dynamics. We practice tapping a steady beat, playing with dynamics and start developing a sense of pitch—skills that lay the foundation for future music lessons. Music also teaches us to listen carefully, wait our turn, count and concentrate.
Research shows that studying music helps children develop critical skills ahead of their peers who do not study music. These abilities include language ability, social skills and gross and fine motor movements. For a young baby, this might mean lifting and turning their head in response to a familiar song. With toddlers, this might look mean developing ease with cross-body motion and controlling their motions to match the beat.
The benefits of a group class are huge. Students take turns playing instruments and leading activities (with the teacher’s help.) This teaches us to share, follow instructions and be aware of those around us. The multi-age class gives students a chance to learn new skills by watching other students, as well as a chance to learn be to gentle and serve as role-models for our younger classmates. Through activities like the “Morning Song” and ball rolling, we also start to learn social norms, like looking at someone when you want to roll them the ball or greet them.
ABCs and 123s
Through nursery rhymes and songs, we practice speaking and singing. Our class cycles through two weekly curriculums, so we have plenty of opportunity to first listen, and then experiment with, saying the words in our nursery rhymes. Every class ends with story time. Counting is an important musical skill, so we frequently practice counting and numbers. For example, we count ducks, drums, notes and more. And, we even practice counting in other languages.
confidence to try
Class is a comfortable, supportive environment to observe and try new activities. Whenever they feel ready, they’ll try something new, perhaps singing the class songs at home, or taking a turn on an instrument in class. There is no pressure to “complete” activities, or even actively participate. We all learn so much by watching, especially at this age. Letting the child set the pace for learning helps develop their sense of confidence. And once they feel ready to try, practice and eventually master a new skill comes an immense sense of pride and confidence.
building your relationship
Class is all about you and your little one. That’s why it’s important we have a one-to-one ratio of grown-up to child, Activities are specifically designed to give you and your child fun and educational games to play together, both in class and at home. Over the course of the class, we keep a journal, noting what you observed about your child each week, helping us acknowledge and celebrate the smaller steps along the way to bigger growth. Understanding how your child learns will also give you some insights into how to work together as they start school.
The magic of little kids learning
Why I started Little Explorers Music.
True story: I went to Suzuki early childhood education training looking to learn more about working with my youngest violin students. After watching an early childhood class in action, I was amazed. You could actually SEE the learning happening. After a few classes the little girl too shy to leave her mom felt confident enough to take her turn at the xylophone on her own. The eager 3-year-old boy learned to wait for his turn until called by the teacher. An 18-month-old could tap a steady beat along to any song, and the 6-week-old baby completely amazed me by blinking with the rhythm. And, perhaps my favorite moment of all: seeing two little girls from class walk hand-in-hand across campus.
And that’s not all! The parents were making awesome discoveries about their children, too. One dad learned his son loved to dance, and decided to have more dance parties at home. Another mom reported that she and her daughter enthusiastically sang the songs at home all day. The baby’s mom was delighted to see her daughter participate in a music class, even at such a young age. I loved seeing the moments of pride between parents and their children. For example, the shy little girl running into her mom’s arms to celebrate a successful turn on the xylophone.
I came home from training awed by young children’s incredible ability to learn, moved by the heartwarming moments I shared with parents and their little ones, and eager to start my own program. I hope you’ll join me!
-- Jenelle Birnbaum
Founder and teacher, Little Explorers Music