Monday, August 1, 2011

10 reasons NOT to choose Kindermusik

1) I just want someone to entertain my toddler so I can put my feet up!

It's true-you don't get to sit all that much in a Kindermusik Village, Our Time, or Family Time class. In Kindermusik, the goal is for the parent to interact with the child, with the teacher as the facilitator. It's a high energy, active time, filled with singing, playing instruments, and moving, but it's not always restful. I will say, though, that it usually DOES insure that your toddler will take a good nap later on (for a daytime class) or go to bed tired (for a night class), so hopefully you'll get that break then. And you got a workout, too.

2) I want a music class that teaches music from my faith/traditions.

Kindermusik is an international program and it has something for everyone, including a great deal of children's music from around the globe. However, it's not a church children's choir, and even in a lesson that is focused on music from Ireland, Africa, or India, there will be music from other traditions and cultures as well. We will probably hit something that resonates with your culture sometime, but it won't be a custom fit.

Having said that, suggestions are always welcome, and as a Kindermusik educator, I am part of a large online community of educators that share ideas-so if we missed a song from that would have been perfect, let me know!

3) I want my child to learn to play a specific instrument.

We play a lot of instruments in Kindermusik classes, and listen to/look at many more, either physically in class or via photos/recordings. However, it is true that there is no one Kindermusik instrument such as Violin or Piano. It is our belief as educators that in the early stages of a child's development, hearing and experiencing many instruments is more powerful than focusing on one, and will help a child who chooses to study an instrument make a choice that they truly love.

4) I want a recital!

We believe in process, not performance in the early childhood ages. While it's cute to see little dancers hop around on stage, or little children dress up and sing, it takes a lot of class time and puts a lot of stress on the children to participate in these activities, only to have preschool and below children get out there and do what they want to do anyway. And while that may be cute, it means that a lot of learning time has been lost to get to that point. There will be many years for recitals and performance. At this stage, we want the children to enjoy music and have fun with it. We always welcome grandparents and other visitors in class to watch your child have fun, and the last session of every semester is a great time to bring your camera!

5) It costs too much.

Because materials are factored into the cost of Kindermusik tuition each semester, it's true that the cost seems higher than other young children's programs. However, you get what you pay for. In every semester, you get books, music, activities, and instruments/props appropriate to your child's current age and developmental level. Past experience has shown that these, used at home regularly, greatly increase a child's participation in and excitement for class, as well as building lifelong learning skills. Excellent materials and excellent teaching cost money, and many parents have decided that Kindermusik is well worth the expense.

6) He sings at daycare. I want something different!

Most programs for young children, from library storytime to preschool playtime to gymnastics and dance, now incorporate some singing and movement activities that resemble those in a Kindermusik classroom. And it's easy to see why-such activities WORK to help a young child learn. But we were the first such program out there, and we do our best to stay up to date on research and to provide professional development to our educators such that you're getting more than just singing a few songs or waving a parachute. You're getting a complete child development experience, designed to help your child grow and learn, from a highly trained professional.

7) He's very active.

It's true that we're no soccer or Pop Warner Football. There are times when we run, jump, spin, dance, and twirl. There are also times when we sit, rock, stretch, rub, and listen. All of our activities are designed to take a young child's activity needs into consideration, and to meet those movement needs, while also teaching concentration, listening, and attention skills that a young child will need for school and in life.

8) I want him to sit and listen.

It's true that we're up and moving in Kindermusik classes a lot. But there are also many times to sit, listen, pay attention, and follow rules. Research at George Mason University indicated that preschoolers who participated in Kindermusik did better on exactly these sort of skills than those who did not. So while we are up dancing, singing, and moving, there is a method to that madness, even though we're not asking a 4 yr old to sit at a piano to take a lesson.

9) She's very, very bright. She'll get bored.

It's true that Kindermusik, like any group class, teaches to the developmental level of the average child, with modifications up and down. However, the Kindermusik curriculum is written for a 18 month-2 year or more age range at every level, which accommodates a wide range of developmental differences, even before you add teacher accommodations. And relatively small class sizes compared to preschool or Kindergarten settings make it much easier to do this. If a child is getting bored or frustrated with the content, we'll see it and adapt, whether that adaptation happens in the classroom, or requires changing to a different class or age level.

10) My child has special needs.

It's hard to find a place for a child who is different from the norm to fit in, isn't it? And it's true that some special needs can make it hard for a child in a group class. However, I can tell you with assurance that I have had children in my program with disabilities ranging from Autism to Vision Impairment, and every letter of the alphabet in between, and while their Kindermusik journeys didn't always look like those of other children, they were able to benefit from, learn from, and enjoy the class. Kindermusik is even sometimes written into Early Intervention plans, because it has proven so beneficial for many children.

If Kindermusik sounds like it may be right for your child, please visit our website at for our current class schedule and information. We will have our Fall Open House on Saturday, August 13th, at the University of Memphis Park Avenue Campus, building 2, from 10:00-11:30 where you can meet us in person and see us in action.

If, after reading this, you've decided that Kindermusik may not be right for your child right now, the University of Memphis Community Music School will have our Fall Parent information night on August 16 at the music building on the Main University of Memphis campus, from 7:00-8:30, where you can meet and talk with representatives of all our various CMS programs.

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