Frequently Asked Questions

What is Music Together®?

Music Together is an internationally recognized early childhood music program for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergartners, and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement.

Music Together classes are based on the recognition that all children are musical. All children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence in the music of our culture, provided that their early environment supports such learning. By emphasizing actual music experiences rather than concepts about music, Music Together introduces children to the pleasures of making music instead of passively receiving it from CDs or TV.

Central to the Music Together approach is that young children learn best from the powerful role model of parents/ caregivers who are actively making music. The program brings families together by providing a rich musical environment in the classroom and by facilitating family participation in spontaneous musical activity at home within the context of daily life.

Music Together is committed to helping families, caregivers, and early childhood professionals rediscover the pleasure and educational value of informal music experiences. All teachers have successfully completed Music Together’s training program. Music Together applies the latest research in early childhood development to the program. Music Together: A curriculum pioneer since 1987.

 

What is a Music Together Class?

A Music Together Class is:

  • A community of families sharing songs, instrument play, rhythm chants, and movement activities in a relaxed, playful, non-performance-oriented setting.
  • Music learned through developmentally appropriate activities that support and respect the unique learning styles of very young children.
  • Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers participating at their own levels in family-style classes of mixed ages.
  • Parents and caregivers contributing to the enrichment of their child's music environment, regardless of their own musical abilities.
  • A new song collection every semester for three years, featuring great arrangements of original and traditional songs in a wide variety of tonalities, meters, and cultural styles.
  • Music Together classes nurture the child's natural enthusiasm for music and movement as we sing, dance, chant, and play instruments in an informal setting that will enrich his/her musical environment and give him/her towards a lifetime of music-making enjoyment.
  • It's 45 minutes of PURE FUN with your child every week!!

 

Do Infants really benefit? 

Yes! Infant participation will seem passive at first, as they actively absorb what they are seeing, hearing, and feeling.  By reading the parent guide and through parent education in class, parents will learn to recognize their infants's musical responses and observe them reaching musical milestones. As their bodies and nervous systems mature, the infants often show progressively more complex musical responses and evidence of song recognition. Parents will learn in class how to enhance their child's music development and to create or enhance the musical bond with their child. Babies Classes are often offered as a one-semester introduction to non-walking infants. Babies also respond well in the mixed age classes.

 

Why is talking frowned upon in class?

Talking creates a distortion or a "buzz" that conflicts with or distorts the music that we are making. We want the children to soak up as much music (rhythm and tone) as is possible in our brief time together.

  • Parent to parent talking, although unintentional, presents a negative role-model to all of the children in the class as we want to role-model music-making, not language. It may also convey the attitude that the parent is not interested. Please remember, a child's disposition toward music comes from their parents. Another interesting factor is that children are attracted to contrast, so they quickly notice and closely observe that which is different from the rest.
  • Parent to child talking (coaching such as "good job", "put your instrument away", etc.) detracts from the overall musical environment for all the children because of the noise-distortion factor. Instead, we encourage you to give your child attention through eye contact, smiling and nodding your head, demonstrate playing or putting your own instrument away, etc.
  • When parents stay focused and participate enthusiastically, we increase the number of experiences we are able to provide the children in each class. Remember, you are not only a role-model for your own child, but for all the children in class. Music Together is truly a TEAM effort!

 

When is a good age to start Music Together classes?

You can bring your child to Music Together as early as you feel comfortable starting with them. It is not important that they can’t hold the instrument, or walk, or talk yet. What is important, is that we stimulate them.

 

How can I help my child to get the most out of the classes?

Arrive on time for the classes so your child hears his/her name sung during the "Hello Song".  Late arrival may keep your child from feeling connected to the rest of the class.  Be the "encouraging witness" for your child.  Make music yourself and watch how your child absorbs what to do.  Follow your child's lead on when to interact and when to let him/her explore as you watch.  Try waiting until your child signals that he/she wants to interact, then use non-verbal communication like a smile, singing to them, giving them a "thumbs up", or whatever you use in your family to signal "good job!"  and watch how they begin to venture out in class, secure in the knowledge that you are "on duty" as their encouraging witness.

 

How Should we use the Music Together Materials?

Play your CD at home and in the car as frequently as possible, especially during the first few weeks of class. Make it available to your child to listen to while she is playing or before nap or bedtime.  Use the songbook to help you remember the songs or to play along if you play an instrument.  Try using the songbook at storytime instead of a regular book, and sing through the songs as you go along.  Looking at the printed notes on the page will help children understand that music is something that can be read, like words.  Familiarization with notation will help them when they are more ready for formal music instruction, typically when they are school aged.

New Music Together parents receive our introductory DVD "Music Together at Home Helping Your Child Grow Musically".  During class your teacher will refer to topics and point out examples of things covered in the video.  We are also happy to discuss your child's individual progress in obtaining musical competence at any time outside of class.  If you are a returning student and it has been months or years since you have read the Parent Guide or seen the new DVD, reread it or ask for a copy of the DVD today!  You may be surprised how valuable it is, especially after having personal experience observing your child's music development.

 

How many classes are there in a semester?

There are ten classes per semester, for forty-five minutes each week.

 

Do you do the same songs every week?

Each semester we have a different Song Collection (families receive a CD, access to Family Music Zone and a songbook), so there is lots of material to choose from. During the ten week session, songs will be covered several times over the semester in order to develop concepts presented in previous weeks and so families can experience the songs in different ways (with instruments, as large movement activities, as part-songs or rounds, etc.) but no two classes will be the same. There is a ritual order of activities - children in this age-group need the routine of knowing what to expect (children love to anticipate the snuggle of the lullaby right before the "goodbye" song each week).

 

If the song collection is called, say, "Bongos", does that mean we will play Bongo drums each week? Or if the collection is "Fiddle", do I have to purchase my own instrument?

Each of the song collections is named after an instrument to distinguish it from the rest of the song collections. While we may not play the instrument itself, it will be featured in the recording, so you will certainly hear it! The instrument is also featured in all the artwork on the CD's and in the songbook.

 

What kinds of instruments do you use?

We use a variety of non-pitched instruments (drums, shakers, bells, sticks etc.) that are age appropriate for adults and children alike.

 

Where can I buy some of the instruments we have in class?

Instruments are available for purchase for use at home or as gifts directly from our online store.

 

My child won't sit still for 45 minutes!

We don't expect children to sit still! Children are welcome to learn in whatever style suits them best. For some, that means sitting and observing; for others, that means walking around; for others, that means doing what the grown-ups are doing. All of these styles are accepted and welcomed and we often find that even if a child appears to be doing something completely different in class (such as stacking instruments!), they will often go home and re-enact activities that were experienced in class. Children at this critical stage of development are learning ALL THE TIME, whether they appear to us to be doing so or not! Only unsafe behaviors (running or full-body contact) will be discouraged.

The most important thing is that parents and caregivers come prepared to have a wonderful time themselves and be ready to fully participate and model their own enjoyment of playing with music. Prompt arrival will also ensure your child enjoys the entire class, from "Hello Everybody" to "Goodbye, So Long, Farewell!"

 

What do we do in the classes?

Forty-five minutes will zoom by before you know it. Each class consists of a carefully planned sequence of songs and chants - we dance, play with instruments, sing, explore tonal and rhythmic patterns, and ALWAYS include the highly anticipated instrument jam ("Play Along"). The lullaby brings things to a lovely closure each week, with the lights down low and parents nursing and/or snuggling their children as we all sing quietly together.

 

How can I preview a class with my child?

We periodically offer free demo classes (see the home page for details). If you are interested in attending a free sample class please Contact Us for availability OR click on our Demo Scheduler and sign up to visit one of our upcoming classes! This visit must be scheduled - spontaneous drop-ins are not permitted.

 

Can I bring extra children?

PLEASE NOTE - No drop-ins are permitted. Only registered children and their siblings under 10 months may attend class except by special arrangement. Music Together® licensing sets a limit on the number of children per class. Older siblings may attend on school holidays IF there is space in the class - PLEASE INQUIRE IN ADVANCE, either with your teacher or at director@familymusictime.com

 

Can I bring adult visitors?

Grandparents and other special grown-ups in your child's life are always welcome.

 

I really want to bring my friend and her child to try out a class - I know she'll love it - is that OK?

As mentioned above, we have free demo classes most semesters prior to the start of the regular schedule, but if you have a friend who would like to try a class during the semester, please have him/her contact director@familymusictime.com directly and we will try and accommodate him or her. Again, drop-ins are not permitted.

 

** Illness **

If you or your child are ill or have any communicable condition, please do NOT come to class - while we'll miss you, we think it better if you stay home and recuperate fully. If your child has been ill please do not bring them to class until they have been fever-free and have stopped vomiting for at least 24 hours prior to class.

Please do NOT bring unregistered siblings who are missing school due to illness to Music Together class with a younger sibling.

 

What if I miss a class?

Families may make up to 3 classes per semester at our other class times/locations (on a space available basis) using our online make-up scheduler. No refunds are given for missed classes.

 

What is the age range of the classes?

Music Together is designed for children from birth through five (and their adults!!!).

 

Why mixed-age classes?

There are several reasons to have a mixed-age class: researchers have found that a mixed-age group tends to foster a more natural, family style learning environment. Older children learn from being in a leadership role, younger children benefit from the example of an older child. Siblings can attend class together, making it easier for parents to enjoy a true family experience.

Of great importance to note is that children of the same age are not necessarily at the same point in their musical development, so separating them by age does not necessarily create a better learning environment during these early years as we now know - hence Music Together's more natural mixed-age model.

Our musical play activities are parent-child oriented rather than child-child oriented - emphasis is on the powerful connection between parent or caregiver and child rather than social interactions between the children.

 

How many children are enrolled in each class?

There are typically 6 to 12 children per class.

 

I'm not musical. How can I positively influence my child's music development?

You are your child's most important role model no matter what kind of singing voice or dancing feet you have (or think you have!!). It is less important how well you sing than it is to model making the choice to sing. By your example, children will learn that music is a natural, enjoyable and important part of their lives. You, the primary caregiver, are the only one who can give your child the gift of a positive disposition for making music. No CD can impart that! What your child loves and needs most is to hear your voice. Reading the Parent Guide (you will receive this the first time you register for a class) will also give you more information about how to provide developmental support as you musically interact with your child.

 

What if my family is repeating a collection and we already have the class materials - do we get a discount?

It's great that your family is so committed to our program! Per our licensing agreement with Music Together we are required to pay them a service fee for every enrolled family each semester. The materials are only part of this service fee and can't be separated out from it -- so regardless of whether or not you want them, we still have pay for them and they are sent to us as part of that set service fee; therefore, we cannot discount your registration fees. Often families enjoy having a second set of materials, especially if they are for a younger sibling. But if you would prefer not to take them you are welcome to donate them back to our centre so we can use them with scholarship families or other outreach programs. Typically the only discounts we give are for those with financial need in the form of a scholarship. If our tuition is a financial hardship for your family please contact us to discuss scholarship options.

 

Do you offer gift certificates?

Gift certificates for various amounts towards Music Together classes can be purchased at any time. It makes a nice baby shower or birthday gift. Grandparents love to buy these for holiday gifts. Let us know if you would like it sent directly to the receipent or to the purchaser.

 

How can I find out more about Music Together?

Please explore this site thoroughly, and you can also go to the national website, www.musictogether.com, for a comprehensive look at the program, or call 239-671-5693