Childhood is a magical time of wonder, and the Musikgarten curriculum is so good at helping adult caretakers slow down and enter that magical world with a child. Following the joyful movement of Toddler class, and the exploration and creativity of Cycles class, the next steps are At Home and World. This is a turning point in a child’s musical growth where they are first introduced to writing and reading music, as well as beginning to develop the ability to play music with other people – like a duet.
Music Makers HOME and WORLD
Up until now, our music classes have tuned in to the sounds children will hear around their home and yard or on a farm. Now, through the Music Makers classes, we will expand a child’s world from the comfort of their home out to the world around them and the world at large, learning about the homes of other creatures/animals and about the homes of other people and their cultures in the world. The “Home” class develops the awareness that people are not the only ones with homes. Birds have homes, squirrels have homes, bugs have homes, and so do many other animals that live in the woods, meadow, and marsh. By learning about these creatures children begin to gain a respect for the world around them. Then in the World class that respect is expanded to different cultures around the world such as British, American Indian, German, and African-American.
But Wait! I thought this was a music class!
Yes! We are learning all of this through music while expanding musical education. So, here is what we are learning musically:
A Holistic Approach
Musikgarten uses a holistic approach to learning, which leads to a total musical experience. In each class we involve the voice, the ear, instruments, and movement.
The Voice is used not only for singing, but in mimicking the animal sounds and in chanting the rhythms. The Music Makers curriculum builds on the rhythm and pitch patterns learned in the foundation classes and adds language to them; much like giving alphabet letter names to the sounds a child has been speaking.
The Ear is further trained to listen closely, not only to the animal sounds, but also to the detailed differences in similar instruments.
Instrument Exploration provides many benefits. With drums, we explore what it feels and sounds like to play it in different ways: loud or soft, fast or slow, smooth or bouncy, on the carpet or in the air, or with different parts of our hands.
Movement is a child’s favorite way to learn. In the Musikgarten setting, many magical things happen through the fun movement of dance and animal imitations. First, children are speaking the movements they are performing which develops their inner speech. Second, children are learning to control their body; to make it stop and go at their command. They are better able to do this because of the inner speech that has developed. Third, their ear is developing superior listening skills which are required as they continue their music education. Fourth, their body is becoming an instrument; a way to express music and a way for them to express what they are feeling inside. And fifth, as they experience what it feels like to scamper like a mouse, stalk like a cat, blow like the wind, or creep like a bug, then when they begin playing the piano or other instrument they naturally are able to put that feeling into the music they are playing.
Ensemble Development. The other area of music ability that we begin to develop in the music makers classes is the ability to play together with other musicians. Each child is learning to hear his/her own part, match it with others who are also playing that part and then learning to fit their part with others who are playing something different, thus working as a team to create a more complex musical performance. This is such a powerful skill to learn at such a young age and the effects are more far reaching than just music class.
So, enter this magical world with your child, deepen the musical experience in your home and come, be a Music Maker with us!
Watch for future articles about our through-planned Music Learning Sequence where you will learn why our approach to Music Literacy works so well!