Music Classes for Kids 5-11
Berkeley Parents Network >
Classes & Lessons >
Music Classes for Kids 5-11
Music classes for distractable 5-year-old?
I'm looking for music classes for a 5-year-old. I'm interested in
classes that develop music appreciation and listening skills (to learn
a song by ear, sing in tune, stay on the beat, hear melody and
harmony, etc.). My child is a bit distractible and seems to do better
in calm, structured environments that set clear, consistent
expectations up front and offer gentle guidance. I'd like to hear
opinions on Crowden's Orff and Kodaly classes, Jingle Jamboree, and
Jon's School of Music. Which musical concepts do they emphasize? Also,
in my experience, negative reviews have often been especially helpful
to me because they tell me different details that I might have missed
otherwise. Can you tell me what you have *NOT* liked about any of
Check out http://www.simplymusic.com/Teachers/KristinFairfield
Kristin has a program she does with young children. She's a great teacher.
Simply Music is a different kind of music program where you don't learn to
read music until you are well into the program.
I read your post about wanting to hear what we do not like about the classes.
I have attended Jon's music school for two years and I have a 41/2 year old. I
don't like the one thing you are looking for... the firm structure and
discipline that Jon's expects and gets from the children. He has no problem
telling your kid or yourself how things are. Sometimes I even get a little
nervous. My family members and I take turns taking our son and my sister said
she can't do it anymore...too much pressure!! lol I LOVE this school for so
many reasons and I have really come to appreciate the passion and creative
learning Jon has. My child is learning to recognize keys on piano, exposure to
sooo many intruments and amazing music knowledge. I think your son would
really get alot out of this class plus I think it helps that Jon is a strong
male and my son normally only has female teachers. sgh
I know you requested negative reviews, but I am compelled to give you our 100%
positive review of Jingle Jamboree Elementary Music Club and its director,
Jeff Luna-Sparks. Our 2 daughters have been members of the after-school music
club for the past 2 years, and will continue this year. They recently began
piano and violin lessons, and both of their instructors have been amazed by
their grasp of the fundamental music skills you are seeking for your son. One
of our daughters is quite distractible as well, and ''Jingle Jeff'' has
provided a great balance of firm boundaries enforced with great love. We have
also participated in Jingle Jeff's summer camps, which are amazing as well!
My children, ages 4 and 7, have between them done almost all the music classes
you mention. We have had the most success so far with Jingle Jamboree. Since
you wanted to hear the negative aspects I'll start with the others first
(though we haven't had a truly negative experience with any of them). My son
did Jon's School of Music at age 3. It was fun and he liked it, but Jon was a
bit rigid about the rules in the class and seemed to connect with the
outgoing, gregarious kids more than the shy ones, who sometimes had a harder
time in class. I wouldn't categorize his teaching style as ''gentle
guidance,'' (too strict and rigid) and they are definitely not calm - it works
for some kids but not all. At age 4 my son took the Orff class at Crowden, but
he didn't enjoy it. The class seemed fine to me, and that was a calm,
structured environment but I was never very clear on what or how exactly they
were learning; there seemed to be a lot of repetition from week to week with
no clear progression. The teacher also didn't work to engage students who were
shy or hesitant about joining in. (That was several years ago so there may be
a new teacher now.)
''Jingle Jeff'' (of Jingle Jamboree) runs the music program at my son's
elementary school (Shu Ren International School) and he does an amazing job.
The children all adore him and scream for joy when they see him. All the ages,
from pre-k through 4th grade, learn a lot in his weekly classes and he
includes all students in an annual all-school musical where they all
participate at an age-appropriate level and have a great time. My son (now 7)
recently started taking piano lessons at Crowden and his teacher was amazed by
how quickly he picked up reading music, and I attribute it to the Kodaly style
Jeff teaches, which lays a solid foundation for reading and writing music. My
preschooler also took a class at Jingle Jamboree and loved it. It is a gentle,
structured environment where kids (and parents) quickly learn the procedures
and expectations for each class. So I don't really have any negative comments
about it (sorry).
Good luck in your search.
- musical mama
I would be surprised if you received any negative feedback about Jingle
Jamboree. Jeff Luna-Sparks has been terrific over the past year with our 6
old daughter and has had a very positive impact on her musical development.
Additionally, we have heard nothing but positives from the parents of other
students (and the students themselves) at her school.
Jingle Jeff Fan
My 5 year old son, who did about 2 years of Music Together and goes to a very
musical preschool, is now taking a focused keyboard & drum class at Jon's
School of Music. Jon's classes definitely develop music appreciation and
listening skills, particularly how to stay on beat, listen to and follow along
with music, play simple songs, read music and, most uniquely, play *with*
other musicians as a team. The children always take turns leading and
following, so it's really a band-like experience. The class is extremely
structured and also zany and fun-- Jon really knows how to get and keep a
child's attention and the kids spend a lot of time laughing as they learn.
Virtually all instructions are sung (in fact, many of the lyrics to the songs
the kids learn contain musical knowledge) and Jon introduces a wide variety of
musical concepts through playing songs and musical games together. I'm
actually amazed that my kid is learning to read music so easily; Jon manages
to turns it into a fun game, and my kid loves to practice reading music at
home. Jon often comes across as a big, goofy kid himself, but that belies a
deep musical knowledge and excellent pedagogical skills-- in fact, I think the
goofiness is an essential component of getting a bunch of five year olds to
commit their focused participation for a full hour per class. That being
said, the kids also do some serious learning, including identifying and
dealing with mistakes. Failure is not a taboo; instead the kids learn about
''early flubs'', ''late flubs'', etc. and how to correct the mistake by trying
again and working together. I really like that Jon treats the children as
capable little people who can benefit from honest feedback, including both
correction and praise where appropriate. My son is thriving in the class and
loves practicing at home as well. He's learning a ton and having fun. I
recommend Jon's School of Music highly!
Rockin' On With Jon's School of Music
I saw your posting about music classes for a 5-year-old and had to respond. My
5-year-old son has been a student at Jingle Jamboree since he was an infant
I can't recommend it highly enough. Jeff is an amazing teacher who is highly
educated/credentialed in the Kodaly philosophy and he is also incredibly
patient, good-humored and loving but firm with his students. My son is very
energetic and tough to rein in at times but he has fallen in love with music
under Jeff's tutelage. He sings all day (in tune!) and people comment on how
lovely his singing voice is as we grocery shop, at CostCo, at the park, he
literally sings all day. He is also excited about learning to read music and
try all different musical instruments thanks to Jeff, who makes it fun and low
pressure. I have started my 2-year-old twins with Jingle Jamboree now as well,
and they are loving learning rhythm, playing drums, etc. Jingle Jamboree has
been a gift to our family--I don't have endless amounts of money to spend on
classes, etc. but I have treasured the time I have spent watching my kids
to love music and I am so happy I found this class.
My grandsons are 4.5 and 2.5 years old, and we have been going to Jingle
Jamboree Music since the older one was 1.5. They both love music class! Jeff
Luna-Sparks teaches the classes using the Kodaly method. Before you go to the
studio to try it out, read up on the Kodaly method (http://kodaly.hnu.edu).
What you see in the classes is kids having fun, singing, dancing, playing
instruments, listening to stories, and learning songs. But what you may not
see is that underlying everything Jeff does is the Kodaly method, which is a
developmentally appropriate and musically sophisticated system of music
education. Furthermore, Jeff is a masterful teacher. I was a teacher for many
years and I'm continually struck by the way in which he uses pacing,
engagement, and fun to keep things both lively and orderly. Some kids learn by
listening, some learn by moving, and Jeff creates a place where every child is
recognized for her or his unique way of learning. Every child is encouraged to
be creative, and every child sees that other children learn in different ways.
Saw some recent negative reviews of Jon's School of Music and just wanted
to say that our experience has been quite positive. My son, who will be 5
at the end of the month, is enthusiastic about going every week and sings
the different practice songs all the time. The class is lively and Jon
really keeps the children's attention. I think the blend of activities
and music theory works well for the kids, particularly the consistent
focus on rhythm.
Just responding to some of the postings regarding Jon's School of
Music. We participated in Jon's East Bay class a number of years ago
and it was actually a highlight of our week. My son loved Jon's class
and what I recall is all of the kids flocking to him like magnets. My
son is now a pretty serious musician and I attribute this partly to
Jon's early inspiration. Part of what I loved about Jon's group was
that the kids were exposed to so many different instruments and had
the opportunity to actually try them out. I also thought it was great
that Jon was teaching them actual technical aspects of music in the
context of a very fun and playful environment. For me personally it
was a pleasure because it was a time when I could be silly and march
around the room playing music feeling young and full of life. I
understand that for someone more reserved this may not have been such
a great experience, but for me it felt like a license to have fun. -
Music class for 5 y.o., after music together?
My now 5 y.o. took MT classes from 4 months until 4 years, but now what? I
don't have a musical background and wish I'd learned more about reading,
playing, and paying attention to music as a child. What do you suggest? We
can't drive to Crowden regularly (we live in Montclair area). Also my
child is a bit on the shy side and might resist instruction that's not
playful. Probably too young for an instrument. Maybe too shy for chorus.
Not sure. Are there big kid music classes that your child has loved? A
summer class suggestion? Thanks.
We have a 5 year old taking a Jon's School of Music class in Berkeley
right now, and it has been a great step up from Music Together. The
class explores a variety of instruments each week, and Jon has
introduced a number of basic elements of music theory to the kids in a
hands on way. My daughter has absorbed it all, and I hear her singing
the songs to herself all the time.
My 5 year old LOVED music together, and we did all 9 sessions, and so
I've been really pleased that she's not only enjoyed Jon's class, but
is building on all the great things she learned early on. I totally
I highly recommend Jon's School of Music (jsom.com).
Jon's classes are a genius combination of Jon's musical talent with
his understanding of childhood development. He's figured out a way to
teach music concepts in a way that's fun and entertaining to kids.
The classes are hands-on with many instruments ranging from drums,
strings, brass instruments and even a kid-sized electric guitar. He
also has CDs with songs that teach about music, and videos online for
practicing at home.
When our son first started at Jon's school he was a reluctant
participator (ie. shy). Jon was extremely patient with our son,
understanding that there are many ways to learn. Gradually, in his own
time, our son felt compelled to join in. It's been remarkable to see
his both his confidence and music skills develop under Jon's teaching.
Jon's School of Music has sessions in Berkeley for kids in different
I think you should try Jon's School of Music. My son did his classes
from age 18 months until almost 6,
and my daughter attended the classes when she was 4 until 6. In Jon's
classes kids use a large variety of
cool instruments, but they are not being instructed how to play
particular instruments. Rather, they learn a
lot about music through structured play with the instruments (and their
voices). My kids loved the classes,
and learned so much about rhythm, pitch, timing, etc. just through
having fun. They are older now, and
both entrenched in their chosen musical pursuits. Get more info at
My son has been going to Jon's School of Music in Berkeley since he was
three and now as a six year old. It's great fun for children and
wonderful exposure to music, musical knowledge, and rythym. Highly
recommend it. Happy with class
Go for Jon's School of Music. Jon is truly great and connects with kids through
his sheer goofiness. One of my kids is very shy and the other is outgoing. Jon
appealed to both, and kept them both learning.
On top of that, he is a good musician and knows a lot about music, which means
he emphasizes the skills you need to play music with others. The kids play on
real, mostly kid-sized, instruments. The songs he teaches the kids, which both
we and the kids love to hear and sing, actually remind the kids about important
aspects of performance. I sang one to my boss the other day to help him use a
microphone, and he actually remembered the lesson.
In short, I feel like Jon has helped us towards my goal of having a family band.
I can strongly recommend you check out Jon's School of Music- jsom.com-
He teaches in Berkeley and SF at lots of varied times during the week/weekend.
I have had my two children in his classes for about 3 1/2 years now-(taking breaks for
I have a musical background and one of the things I love about the class is that the
kids learn lots of musical theory WITHOUT actually knowing they are learning it! ( I
was always so bored with that stuff in music class!)
They get to play real instruments- drums, trombone, cello, piano, trumpet, guitar, etc
and they are truly learning music - but most important, is that they are learning that
music is FUN! You have to be ready to participate and let it hang out and have fun too!
My kids talk about his class and the things they have learned and my older child (6 1/2)
still wanted to do this instead of an individual lesson. Good luck!
Hi, Jon's School of Music is the best choice for you. jsom.com!! Jon's program is the
best one around. My son who is four, loves this class. It is fast moving, educational,
and they are exposed to such a variety of instruments. Jon has real instruments not just
shakers and ribbons. Yesterday, my son played the guiter, drums, piano, violin plus
some. He is also learning notes and can tell you where D is on the keyboard, after Jon's
very creative and fun way of teaching. Even my husband enjoys going to this class with
our son. Jon lets you try the first class for free, so check him out and I am sure you
will all enjoy it. I am even learning. Please feel free to email me if you need more
info or have trouble finding the website. Signed: Sarah
We've had a great experience with Jon Merker of Jon's school of music:
Jon is very engaging and funny. You sit around in a circle and everyone takes
turns using different instruments which is great. He uses some theory too. At
first my son was a little shy, but now, in his second round of classes, he asks
every day, ''How many days until music class?'' and can't wait to go. Jon also
asks that parents get involved too which can be pretty hilarious. You can start
anytime which is nice and I believe you can drop in for one free class, which a
great way to check it out. We started in the middle of the last session and so
we're ending in the middle of the current one...very convenient! We go to the
Berkeley class which is easy to get to...on Shattuck close to the Cheesboard
(great to taking home for dinner after class!). Feel free to contact me with any
Affordable Music lessons for African-American boy
I'd love to get my 5.5 son playing/exposed to playing an instrument...but we
don't have much extra money to spend. Are there any music scholarship programs
for kids out there? We're African-American, if that makes a difference. Thanks!
My son wants to play the flute
Musically Minded Academy has a scholarship/sponsorship
program. People from the community donate to a general fund
or to a specific students. Let us know what you can afford
and we will try to see if we can cover the difference
through one of these programs. www.musicallyminded.com, 510
610 5700. Anna
My sons have been going to drumming/percussion class with Tacuma King
for several years. They practice music from Haiti, Brazil, New Orleans
and all over the world. Tacuma is a very special teacher. The class is
truly diverse with a variety of ages, abilities/disabilities, languages
and cultures. Tacuma has high expectations for all students, fosters a
love for music and a variety of instruments, and has done this work for
decades. Classes are Saturdays from 12-2 at the Malonga Center in
Oakland. Classes are donation based and organized as a parent coop. We
ask a donation of $5 per child per class.
Dear mama looking for music for and by people of color:
Please check out the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts in
Richmond, they have a Diploma Program for young adults, and individual
lessons in different performing arts. They have scholarships and
support specifically for youth of color.
http://www.eastbaycenter.org/. They do great work. Check them out.
All the best to you and son. Peace, LPV
Try Harps Etc in Walnut Creek for affordable private and small group harp
lessons for all ages. They have harps of all sizes for rent or purchase,
lessons 7 days a week and teachers who travel to your home. 925-937-
Music Instruction for 3 & 6 year olds
I am searching for a high quality but fun music class for
both my three year old and six year old. We have done Music
Together and enjoyed it but now would like something that is
more instructive, will teach notes, basic theory (at their
level), and individual instruments. My kids do not need to
be in the same class but I would prefer somewhere that can
teach both ages if possible. I am open either to individual
instrument instruction or a group class. In particular my
son has expressed an interest in learning guitar but we are
also open to other instruments. Most importantly I want it
to be a fun, engaging experience and not a high-pressure
environment with too much emphasis on scale practice and
drills. I have already tried Jon's School of Music and the
Orff class at Crowden (a few years ago with a different
teacher than is there currently, so recent reviews of that
class or other Crowden classes would be welcome). What other
options are there?
music loving mama
You can try group music classes for kids at Albany Music
School (510-528-4047, email@example.com). They
teach all instruments and accept kids 3-5. Kids love it and
they learn a lot. At the end of the program they have an
ensemble class in which they teach kids how to play
''Twinkle, Twinkle'' as a band (piano, violin, drums, etc.)!
They also have individual classes if you prefer that.
I am in the same position as you so will be curious to hear
the responses as I am also looking for a new music class for
my kids who love music. They are also getting old for Music
Together and we most recently (spring 2011) tried Jon's
School of music. I put this
out there as some sort of balance to all the glowing reviews
he has received because it was because of all the great
reviews on the BPN we signed up for his classes. I
witnessed him several times bark at other parents and
children and also my own. I have zero problem with all his rules and
structure - my problem is that at no time does he make his
expectations and rules clear. At the beginning of class, he
should clearly tell parents what the rules are so we can
help our kids enforce them. When a child gets up and wanders
over to another instrument or parent in the middle of the
class (this was fine by me and was always ok in Music
Together), that child does not deserve to be barked at. Jon
never made the rules clear.We felt we could have bought a bunch of the instruments for
the same price, looked up some youtube videos and done our
own version of his class. For what it's worth, we are HUGE fans of
Music Together and had a wonderful experience with it.
We just started music classes with Jon's School of Music which we found
on BPN. After a few sessions of Music Together, I can say that Jon has
such a different and more upbeat, kid-friendly style and we are really
happy. Our son is now about 2 years old and Jon keeps him fully
engaged and captivated during the class. The kids get to try out a
bazillion different instruments all in one hour, and Jon treats the
class like it is a band, so they all have roles. Kids range from 1-6
or so and the older kids get to lead the ''band'' from time to time.
We are learning a lot too and he's a great teacher and actually puts
some real technical knowledge in there. Highly recommend!
I recommend Jon's school of music (jsom.com) for parents wanting to
get their kids involved in music while still young. We liked Music
Together but my 3 year old son really responds to Jon's program even
more. I think the main value is that the class gets the kids actively
participating in the music. They are exposed to ~ 5 different
instruments which change each class and then through games, they learn
music theory without knowing it - should be valuable in the future. Jon developed this amazing curriculum
himself and has such a way with the kids - they adore him. Even without
all the research on how music activates areas in the brain only when
exposed at a young age, this class would be worth it for the sheer fun
we all have. -committed to music education
Summer music opportunities for kids
Where can I take preschool and elementary aged kids to hear or make
music during the summer? I'm not looking for camps but rather
concerts and/or classes where kids are welcome, during the week or
on weekends. For example, if anyone has found a great lunchtime
outdoor concert series in the past, we would love to know about it.
Thanks for sharing information.
Our fabulous piano teacher has a couple of openings in her
home studio. We've been with her for 6 years. Recently she
has integrated Apple's Garage Band into her lessons and the
kids LOVE it! Contact: Joyce McBride 548-3111
Both of my kids have gone to Jon's School of Music and have
really enjoyed his classes. They love the fact that they
get to play real instruments, like drum kits, electric
guitars, cellos etc... I love that and also that Jon keeps
them so engaged. Check out his website for more info- a
great summer music activity! http://www.jsom.com/
Music classes for 6 year-old
I am looking for music classes for a 6 year old. More fun
than structure... Any recommendations?
Crowden Music Center in North Berkeley offers several
classes for children of all ages. I would suggest Songbirds
Chorus, Kodaly for Kids, or Music Fundamentals in the Orff
Tradition. All of these classes are aimed toward 4-7 year
old students, and are quite delightful. Check
www.crowden.org for more details. Best of luck! Eugene
The method is fun and children friendly.The school won the
best of Berkeley in Music lessons in 2008, 2009 and 2010!
Music Lessons for 5 and 7 yr olds
We are new to the area and I am looking to start my boys off
with some kind of music lessons. I'm not so interested in
rigid lessons where I will need to hound them to practice
during the week. I had that and it turned me off pretty
quickly. Instead I am hoping to find someone to encourage
and inspire them musically, while having fun. We are in
Oakland. thanks... greenzebra
Michele Voilleque is a fabulous music teacher with a LOT of
experience working with kids. She will strive to make the
lessons like play for your 5 and 7 year old. Her
pedagogical philosophy: 'If it's not play, it's not
See her website at http://mvmusik.com/mvmusik.com/Home.html
, email firstname.lastname@example.org , or phone 510.522.8160.
Sallie Hanna-Rhyne, 510-843-1963, (Berkeley) is very
experienced, and great with all ages. She mixes basic
classical with some blues/boogie woogie type material so
it's fun for the kids. laura
For fun piano lessons check Golden Key Piano School. The
curriculum is fun and very professional at the same time.
www.goldenkeypianoschool.com 510-710-0995 Katrin
We have been very happy with Connie Tyler as a piano teacher
(849-0788, near Rosa Parks school) for our kids. From day 1,
she encourages composition and includes music games as part
of the lessons. She's a skilled teacher who can respond to
the strengths and interests of each child. She hosts
quarterly music playdates for groups of kids, and the
recitals are inspiring. A lovely person, too. Katia
Music lessons for kids 4 and 9 in Albany?
I have two kids - 4 and 9 - who are very musically inclined.
The little one loves the drum set he got at Christmas and
the older one sings all the time and plays simple tunes on
our 10 year old Yamaha piano. I would like for them to get
some formal training from an experienced musician who also
knows how to work with kids, someone who can nourish their
enthusiasm for music. If you have some good experience with
such a person, please let me know. I would prefer someone
local in Albany, but if the teacher is really exceptional I
would consider even someone non local (say up to Oakland).
Definitely try Albany Music School (on San Pablo, just
opposite El Cerrito Plaza).
I have known the director for several years. She's
incredibly sweet/patient with kids and she's very prepared
My kids simply love her: she has a wonderful way to
communicate music theory and teach practice to children,
while holding their attention in a fun way (so progress is
fast and effortless).
They teach piano, voice, flute, violin, guitar and drums and
they offer group classes for small kids (age 3-5) and
private lessons for everybody else (including adults).
9825 San Pablo Ave, 2nd floor (opposite El Cerrito Plaza)
El Cerrito, CA 94530
Orff Music Teacher for 6-year-old
My 6 year old daughter very much wants to learn an instrument, and is not
interested in a general little kid's music class without instruments
anymore (she is very musical, has a good singing voice and a good ear, but
no training as of yet with instruments). She is open about which
instrument, although she is taken with both the cello and recorder (and
flute, but I understand 6 is to young to be successful at the flute). The
orff method has been recommended, and I looked into the Crowden school, but
the group classes for her age group also require private lessons (which
gets expensive with the group class fees) , and the ones that don't do not
allow 6 year olds. Can anyone recommend an orff method teacher for small
group or private lessons, or a good group class somewhere based on this
method that offers instrument training for a 6 year old? I am open to
other methods as well as long as they are fun and low-pressure. Thanks for
Music Together is now offering Orff based classes for 'big kids'. You can
contact Julie at (510) 843-8641 or juiesmt AT aol DOT com
Claudia Mills teaches music at Hillcrest in Oakland. Both my kids (K and 3rd
last year) really enjoyed it, particulary my shy, sensitive younger daughter.
She is offering Sat. classes for 6 to 8 year olds beginning in Oct. She can
be contacted at Orffschulwerk AT hotmaill DOT com or (510) 652-7782.
this page was last updated: Mar 1, 2013
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network