The Music Together® curriculum includes a mix of original songs and traditional tunes from the folk, jazz, and world music traditions in a variety of tonalities and meters. By presenting a range of musical styles from lyrical to blues, from folk to boogie, Music Together provides children with a rich music experience that stimulates and supports their growing music skills and understanding. In addition to a musical foundation, our classes also support major motor, cognitive, language, social and emotional development. It's a whole learning experience for the child using the medium of music and play as the catalysts for these other developmental pieces- including musical development!
Each weekly Music Together class offers a dozen songs and rhythmic rhymes, including fingerplays, small- and large-movement activities, and instrument play. Teachers present these fun musical experiences in ways that are informal, non-performance-oriented, and developmentally appropriate for children. Come join us, and be part of a community of families sharing songs, movement, and instrument play.
Tampa families, please visit www.allisongsfortots.com for a complete list of classes in your area!
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Recently in class we talked about the fact that sometimes parents don't attach to some of the music on the CD in the same way the children do. Even still, I encourage you not to press that tantalizing Skip button but to play them through. Our children a engaged in ways we might not be and class this week was a very real example of that.
Of course we did the Fireworks rhyme this week in celebration of the 4th of July. Over the years, parents have mentioned that this wasn't necessarily a favorite of theirs. Fair enough, we can't expect everyone to like every song we use but just watch what is happening in class! The children beginning at a VERY young age, even before they are crawling, are able to fully participate in this chant. It has one syllable that most babies over several months old can say, "Bah". And the movements are simple enough and random enough to encourage motor expression. I saw students from the youngest to the oldest truly enjoying Fireworks this week and one parent even used it to prepare for the real deal. Good work, Mom! We are always glad to hear how class comes home.
We also talked about the Sad Puppy song. Children of an age to comprehend the story can be upset by this song and one or two others that appear in our collections. My own daughter actually cried several times the first few times she heard it. When I first heard Sad Puppy myself, my instinct was to shy away from it and gloss over the sad part but in truth, children need to learn that all emotions are safe to have and that parents will help love them through the full range, not just the happy and silly ones. We can inadvertently teach our children to bury emotions if we don't help them acknowledge and name them and learn how to move through them, not skip over them. This song does have a happy ending and using the picture in your book can help foreshadow that ending for children with concerns for the puppy, like Marlo has. But again, I encourage you to use this song to your child's benefit by talking about it with him, naming the emotions it brings up and staying open to helping him through rather than skipping it all together.
In support of this topic there are several fun books about emotions that we like. The Way I Feel by Janan Cain is my favorite and I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis is another good one that has a face you can manipulate to show emotion at the back of the book.
Everyone with children knows that a body in motion does not easily come to rest. It takes practice and lots of it for children to learn to self regulate both body and emotion. In classes we practice self regulation by changing the tempo, (speed), of the music in certain songs and even have moments of freezing in place. A child has an internal body temp that is all his own, so asking him to slow it down, speed it up or stop it all together is a challenge and offers him a chance to practice self regulation. Because it's done in a playful way, children often choose to play the same game again at home. Encourage them! Run, walk, swing, gallop and freeze. It will help your child learn this important skill and it's really fun for both of you!
6/7/16 Classes for Tueday 6/7 are canceled due to flash flood warnings. Please stay inside and safe and watch your email for more information.
05/06/16 Notes and Observations from Week 5 by Miss Colleen
So much of the classroom conversation has been directed by parents this week I just had to share. Thank you to Beau's mom for asking why teachers use the pitch pipe to blow a pitch before every song we sing. Great question, Jenna! I bet many of you have wondered the same thing. Here's the answer:
All the music composed and arranged in our curriculum is done so with the child's voice in mind. You may have noticed that some of the songs are a little uncomfortably high for your own voice, yes? That's because the music is set in keys that are optimal for a child's voice, not an adult's. In doing so we are ensuring that your child can accurately sing in tune as tonal development takes shape; a key element to achieving Basic Music Competence, meaning the ability to sing in tune and keep a steady beat. Further, there are some children who have such a high tonal aptitude that the same song sung in a different key becomes unrecognizable to them. For these reasons, we want to make sure we are staying consistent and singing in the same keys as are presented on the recorded music you take home.
In my own classes we also revisited your favorite rhyme (not!) Hippity, Happity, Hoppity. Why do we torture you with these songs in complex meters? Because they are good for you and very good for your children! First of all, it's important that we model the enjoyment of the effort and not just correctness. We teach our children to be learners when we encourage effort and patience rather than praising a correct outcome. If a child learns to like the process, then he or she is more likely to enjoy the process of learning and not just being right. These children are shown to have more patience with the learning process and are less frustrated when faced with a challenge.
We also are giving your children a gift we didn't grow up with and that is to have comfort with alternative meters and tonalities than are typically found in western culture. We most typically listen to music set in a major key and in a duple meter. This rhyme is the very wonky feeling 9/8 but guess what? You children don't know it's wonky! All week they've been stomping feet, clapping and tapping hands and bouncing torsos right along. They are enjoying this piece and because they enjoy it, they are taking on board a comfort with this alternate meter that you and I don't have. Lucky them! Likewise, every semester we present a variety of tonalities that ensure your child is developing a comfort and ability to sing any music, not just the music of our own culture.
04/29/16 Notes and Observations from Week 5 by Miss Colleen
I've heard so much wonderful singing this week it seemed like a good time to talk about the process of learning to sing in tune; something all of your children can learn to do no matter your own ability.
All people have the ability to learn to sing in tune and keep a beat but like so many things it is best achieved by supporting it during early childhood development. So congratulations, you're already doing that just by coming to class and actively engaging in a musical activity together!
A child's tonal development happens over time and may not immediately be apparent to a caregiver or parent. As early as infancy, children can vocalize around the tonal center of a song sung to them! The first pitches children attach to are typically the 1st and the 5th notes of the scale in any key and that's why we sing them so often in class, e.g. "Thank You". We are reinforcing this natural tendency over and over again.
Next you might hear your child vocalize up and down in the same direction a favorite song does although perhaps not correctly. Eventually, those tonal phrases become correct and finally are married with language. The beautiful thing about music is that it's not necessary to be verbal to be able to intone in tune!
This week has been a banner one this regard. On Wednesday, 2 year old Declan repeatedly sang the 1st and 5th both during and after songs. Olivia, only 20 months old, has taken a giant leap forward and is singing whole phrases correctly and with lyrics too! Wow. I'm hearing Ruby and Cody intoning the tonic back during Babies Class and lots and lots phrase shape vocalizations across the board. Ethan and many other children are singing the instruments away and just this morning, 2 year old Joelle sang a whole tonal pattern back to me absolutely correctly.
Keep checking back for the next set of observations and class notes. We love having our parents engaged and excited!
4/25/16 Summer Sessions are now OPEN for enrollment!
With classes starting June 7th, the summer session is not far off.
The new semester's music collection is called SUMMER SONGS 2, a compilation of favorites from 3 of our collections! We felt that last year's summer session was too short, so this year, we've added another week. There are two six week sessions.
If you take BOTH summer sessions (a total of 12 weeks of classes) the total cost will be the same as a 10 week term- which means that you get 2 weeks free! To take both sessions, email us to get the discount code for the second session.
5/30/2014 See the Article in Creative Loafing About Music and Me!