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My son is 2 yrs 3 mths. old and started going to Kindermusic in January. We both like it very much. The teacher is great and I like their program. The program is structured which, at least for my son, is good and although he normally prefers "free play" he accepts the class without making problems. They start with little songs and " beginner instruments" like bells, xylophones, wood egg shakes, tambourine (not with violins, piano and the "big instruments") . We dance a lot and they learn to differentiate between sounds, e.g. different animals, trains etc. They also have a program for 0-18 mths.
For those who are interested, their phone number is 1-800-615-5415. Our teacher's name is Kerry (spelling ?) and in Berkeley they are located on College Avenue, across the Julia Morgan Theatre (in the Presbyerian? church).
Sharing information to anyone interested. The instructor is Marilyn Sherwin, she provides a General Music Program for children: *Rhythm & Movement, * Songs, * Variety of Instruments,*Musical Fun
Toddlers group 1 - 3.5 - 5y/o 9:40am Saturdays
Children group 2 - 5 - 7 y/o 10:45am Saturdays
Her class is held in the Clubhouse in El Sobrante off of Appian across from Adachi nursery. Anyone interested please contact Marilyn Sherwin - 724-8104 for more information and cost.
My daughter Heather has been involved in Kindermusic for about a year and loves it! And the exposure to music has made her much more aware of it than I ever was at her age. She is now, at age 7, learning to read music, play songs on a glockenspiel and is making up songs all the time. Her class, which includes about 8 kids, is on Saturday mornings at our church in Alameda. Her instructor, Teresa Gacad, (who teaches piano lessons as the rest of her career) is a very gentle, effective teacher who will begin teaching Heather piano this summer when she is too old for Kindermusic. All of this has made Heather very open and excited about playing the piano. Teresa says she always prefers to teach piano to students who have had Kindermusic because they are so much better acquainted with concepts in music.
When my daughter was about 15 mos I called Kindermusik for info. They sent me a list of classes, including some that were in my area (San leandro). However, when I went to sign up, I discovered that the San Leandro teacher wasn't giving classes anymore. I ended up at St. John's in Berkeley (the same place that the Music Together courses are offered!). I've had some trouble getting the classes I want since then, and so far there are no classes for my daughter's age group in San Leandro. They keep promising "next semester".... On the plus side, though, the Kindermusik program is EXTENSIVE, and there are a LOT of classes to choose from, so if one turns out to be inconvenient, there's probably another one that will work for you. That's part of why I've stuck with it. And I have found a class that is relatively convenient for me, and has enough kids in it every week to make it work for Allegra. Also, they are very understanding about make-up classes, and will pro-rate your fees if you start late in the semester. PROGRAM: She loves it! We started her at just about 18 months, the youngest age for the Beginnings class. She's often unfocussed in class, but the teachers don't seem to mind, just saying that the kids will do whatever they need to do, and they still get stuff out of the class just by being there. I have found that having her in a class with more kids (5-7 rather than 2) works better, as the other kids help keep her on track. Also, for her, the classes at St. Johns are better than the ones in Alameda, because the room is very spare, with fewer distractions. But she really does love it, and she's started doing the rhythm and pitch matching excercises on her own. I have read somewhere that kids who are exposed to pitch matching and music-making (not just listening) are much more able to become competent at these things as adults. And if you miss the window (in EARLY childhood, like before age 6), there's much less ability to pick this up later. It's not impossible, but it's much harder, much in the way that it's harder to learn a foreign language the older you are. So anyhow, I'm a big fan of this approach to music (whether Kindermusik or MusicTogether--which I am told was started by former Kindermusik teachers), and my daughter (now 26 1/2 mos) really loves it. I hope you'll like as well, if you choose to try it.
[This is in response to a request for help with a music class for a "bouncy" guy i.e. active (normal) toddler] Do you still have the CD's/tapes from your previous class attempts? You can always institute a "music time" at home, listening to the CD's together and singing them with your child. The thing I like about the Kindermusik classes we attend is that most of the songs have motions or whole body activities to with them, which I find helps both my daughter and I remember the music. And of course, that's better for an active child, as well. Regarding asking questions and being "disruptive" in class: Did the teacher say that, or is that YOUR worry? I find my daughter to be very "unfocused" ;^) a lot of time in class, and I used to worry about her being disruptive. She does get up and run around the room, and not pay attention, and want to play the instruments and not share, etc. etc. But I also find it works OK if I just let her do what she wants to do (within reason), keep her from really bothering the other kids (enforcing sharing when appropriate, for instance), and occasionally do the excercise with her (so if the kids are supposed to be dancing to the music, I might pick her up and dance around the room with her in my arms, for instance). All the teachers I have had (4 different ones so far) have told me that this behavior is normal, and no one has ever given me any trouble about it. Within the same program, different teachers have different styles, so you might just try different teachers for a while till you find a better fit. (On the other hand, it has just occurred to me that by the time the kids are your son's age, the parents might not be in the room with them, in which case, you can't do any of this! It does work for us, but she's only 2.)
So far, so good, my 6-month-old enjoyed his first Kindermusik class, and we go to the next one tomorrow. We also visited a MusicTogether class this week (I first heard of it when it was advertised recently on this list), but we had already enrolled in Kindermusik. There is another 6-month-old in the KM class, and she seems to enjoy it also. There is a lot of play with movement, voices, high/low register, and textiles and rhythm instruments along with the music, so it seems to be a very engaging experience for them.
Kindermusik is an excellent program for infants on up. I've been taking my 14 month old since he was 6 months and it has been a great experience for both of us. He is becoming a very musical child and it helps increase my repertoire of songs and activities.
Kindermusik can be reached at 1-800-628-5687. They will let you attend a class for free. I signed up for one in Berkeley next week, and am looking forward to checking it out based on the postive feedback I got from this mail list.
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