December 16, 2009,
A.S. asks from Bolingbrook, IL on December 13, 2009
Music Together Reviews
Our local park district is offering a Music Together class. I'm wondering if any of you have done this series of classes. I know it's rather commercialized and I've looked at their websites, etc. But I want real reviews... How does the whole age variation thing work? Also, my 14 month old son is not a lap-sitter AT ALL (can you blame him?!)- he is very much on the go...I wonder how this would fit with these classes. I've been places where they glared at me because he wouldn't sit still...come on, get real. For the cost, and I know when you break it out over so many weeks it's not as alarming, but still...I want to make sure it's something we'll enjoy. So just curious what you all might have to say. Thanks!
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K.A. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
It all depends on the instructor. We took the class in oakpark at oak-leyden developmental center and it was great. The teacher makes all the difference. Most places will let you sit in on a class and see if the mix of kids works for you. Just ask if you can try before you buy.
M.K. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
I LOVED our Music Together classes. And I'll be honest...I became very frustrated when my son preferred to play with the window shades in the room than sit with me and sing the songs. But then I saw that, once the kids got to toddler age, very few of them want to stay seated (and you really can't force them!) It's just part of the age.
Our instructor encouraged me not to be frustrated and to simply let my son move around as he wanted (the room was baby-proofed as best as possible). Forcing him to sit would have made him and me miserable -- and THAT would have been a waste of money. Her philosophy was that any positive exposure to music is a wonderful learning experience for the child. Now, in retrospect, I can see how much my son still loves hearing the music from those classes (Both kids still ask me to play the CDs in the car.) The class really had an impact on him -- and both kids remember and sing the songs.
Most of the class is spent with active play along to the music. You and your child may have a musical instrument to play, may have a scarf to throw in the air, may have a dance, may learn a game to the song, etc. These are the parts of class that even the highly active kids (like my son) were very involved.
For me, the best part of the class was the music. I'm not a huge fan of "silly" songs for kids. Music Together used real music from all over the world, as well as some American classics. My husband and I enjoy listening to the CDs and singing along with my kids when we are on road trips.
One last thought...the key to this class is singing along with the instructor. And your instructor will coach you: it doesn't matter that you don't have a professional singing voice (who does???) Your child loves hearing your voice and will be thrilled hearing you sing. It will encourage your child to use his own voice!
Sorry this was so long, but I hope this helps.
EDIT: This class is intended for the youngest of kids. Your son is the perfect age.
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A.H. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
We did Music Together classes last year when we lived in Colorado. My son loved them. The instructor welcomed children to explore, run around, dance, whatever they felt like. She told us the first day the policy was to follow your child's lead - if they want to sit and pay full attention do the same, if they want to wander around a listen from afar that is fine too b/c they are still absorbing the music. I do not know if that was a Music Together policy or her personal policy but the kids were free to roam - however mostly they paid attention b/c they were given instruments and encouraged to dance and move anyway. Obviously the older kids (my son was 12 mo.) caught on quicker than the younger ones but the younger ones still had a lot of fun (which is my mind is the whole point!)
S.Y. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
My 6 month old and I have been doing Music Together in the South Loop since he was 3 months old and we love it. He is so engaged by everything that's going on. Obviously he is still a lap-sitter, but we are in a class with toddlers and some of them sit, some of them run around and dance the whole class and all of that is fine. The teachers are very big on the kids enjoying the class in their own way so if that means they dance, great. If that means they sit in mom's lap, great. If that means they play in a corner by themselves, great. It's very relaxed and I think the kids get more out of it that way instead of being forced to sit still and "follow the rules." I can't wait for my little guy to be on the move to see how he acts in class.
Hope this helps. Let me know if you'd like more info.
M.M. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
I did not do this music class - but took a few classes with our park district. They were great - but my son was 3- 4 years old when we were taking music classes. I would suggest you wait - 14 mos. old is too young to enjoy and participate.
S.R. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
My daughter and my "non-lap sitting" 2 y/o grand daughter have been going to the classes in Lockport for about a year. My daughter seems to enjoy it and my grand-daughter really loves it. I can give you my daughter's e-mail address privately if you'd like to talk to her directly.
J.C. answers from Chicago on December 16, 2009
During those long winter days I think a tot class would be great for you and your child. We go to the Carol Stream Park Dist. They let you try a class and if it isn't for you and your child they will refund the rest of your money. It is great!
M.G. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
We did Music Together for several years in Naperville. My boys loved it. It is not a "must sit on your lap" kind of class by any means. The only rules are generally no running and if you are using something like music sticks the kids do have to sit. However, they can choose to not have the sticks and be up. It is VERY movement based. I definately felt that we got our money's worth. The nice part (I would assume that the class through the PD will be the same) is that if you have a second child they allow you to bring the sibling for free up until they are 8 months old.
C.J. answers from Chicago on December 14, 2009
We just finished our first session of Music Together in Skokie - www.harmonious-horizons.com - and plan to sign up again. Our kids are now 23 months and 7 months, so we attended as a family (and kids under 8 months are free). It's been great for all of us. The class has enough structure to prevent chaos, but offers the freedom to encourage creativity. You receive 2 CDs of all the songs and are encouraged to sing them at home. We sing the songs at home all the time - in the car, lullaby at bed time, clean up song, etc. Our kids love playing with the instruments and various stuff the teacher brings (balls, parachute, scarves, running sticks). Little kids learn from the bigger kids and the bigger kids can be role models for little kids. I highly recommend the Music Together program.