According to the Music Together website, research has linked early music classes with increased cognitive development gains, significant language development gains, improved coordination and improved self-esteem and self confidence. We decided to check out one of their classes this week.
Ensemble Music is a local provider of the national Music Together classes. They also offer Suzuki piano lessons. There goal is to provide a complete music experience for children and caregivers alike. Family music classes are for children ages birth through age five and sessions usually run 10 weeks. Prior to new semesters, families can usually participate in a free demo class. The demo locations are all in Minneapolis and St. Paul. They also offer classes in Roseville and St. Anthony, St. Anthony Park, Bloomington and Richfield. You can Register For A Preview Class at the Ensemble Music Website.
In Mendota Heights and Hastings Area Mindful Music and Arts offers classes.
Music Together in the Valley covers Apple Valley, Arden Hills, Blaine, Burnsville, Circle Pines, Cottage Grove, Eden Prairie, Hudson, Lakeville, Lino Lakes, North Oaks, Prior Lake, St Paul (Midpointe Event Center at I-94 and Pascal St N and Creative Kidstuff on Grand Ave), Savage, Stillwater, White Bear Lake and Woodbury.
There are several other Music Together Franchises in the Twin Cities Metro. All use the same basic curriculum and music. You can find a class near you HERE.
When I signed them up, I wasn't sure how this class was going to go over. My husband is a musician and spends a lot of time doing his own musical activities with the kids. More importantly, I was asking him to get the kids out the door and get some place on time in the morning -- not one of his strong points. I stressed about it all morning. However, it was unnecessary worry. Everyone had a great time. Our four year old loved it. He couldn't stop smiling the whole time. Both boys loved having time with other kids.
As a musician and stay-at-home dad, my husband was impressed by the balance of structure and free play. There were activities to participate in, but when the two-year-old just wanted to run circles to the music, the instructor said, "Well, he's getting his energy out here." He also felt the instructor was great with the kids. She was able to keep them engaged for the full 45-minutes. The two-year-old was just starting to get twitchy as it ended. At the end of the class, they sang a lights out song to calm the kids before singing the goodbye song.
What Is Included in a Semester of Music Together
- 10 weekly 45-minute classes teaching a new song collection every fall, winter and spring.
- New CDs each semester with the songs, rhythm chantes, "play-alongs," tonal and rhythm patterns used in class.
- Beautifully illustrated songbook with family activities to enjoy at home.
- Parent education resources and online resources.
Things To Keep in Mind About Music Together Classes:
- Although the price is about what I would expect to pay for a music class ($16.80/45 minute class), the big front-end payment may be difficult when on a tight budget.
- We personally find schedules hard to keep with small children, however, make up classes are available and if you pre-arrange it, an older sibling can come along if school is out of session or they are home for a reason other than illness.
Below is a video of a mixed-age Music Together Class.
This article was originally written by Joy on March 13, 2014. Ensemble Music allowed my family to participate in a class for free to facilitate this review.