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Music programs for young children – Review

15 December, 2010

Sing and Grow

Sing and Grow is a theraputic music program for children aged up to three and their parents. Run by the Playgroup Association of Queensland, it is available also in all other states. Participation is by refferal only, through a community organisation liasing with Sing and Grow and is free to participants. The program runs weekly for ten weeks and comprises new and familiar songs. The children participate in finger plays, dancing, musical instruments and other movements and music-making. The program is designed to improve interactions between children and their parents and improving parental confidence in using musical activities in the home. The program runs from forty to sixty minutes, gradually getting longer as the program progresses.

I particpated in the program with my almost-one year old son and my two-and-a-half year old daughter, with my husband coming along to a few sessions also. My daughter eagerly anticipated each week, though participated at a minimal level during the sessions. While she was encouraged to participate, she was never pressured to do so. The program was pleasurable for all of us and piqued my children’s interest in musical activities. They enjoyed it so much that I enrolled my daughter in the Kindermusik program.

Kindermusik is an international body, conducting music classes for children from “newborn” to seven years. We participated in the “Our Time” program for children aged eighteen months to three years. My local Kindermusik teacher allowed me to bring my one year old (even though he was too young for the program) although this is not standard policy. It is reasonably expensive but included in the price is an instrument, two story books and two CDs.

The Kindermusik class incorporates musical instruments, vocal plays, free movement, dances and scripted movements and finger play. There is also a story time as part of the weekly routine. The children are exposed to a wide variety of music, culturally and stylistically. Both children really enjoyed the semester we spent at Kindermusik.

We decided not to continue Kindermusik after the first semester. While there were some contributing family issues, one of the main concerns was that next semester our daughter would need to attend the next level of Kindermusik which involved leaving the children with the teacher for 30 of the 45min class, which we didn’t feel was appropriate for our child.

As a result of attending these two music programs earlier this year we have incorporated musical activities into our lives more regularly. The children have a wide variety of instruments to play that they have access to, and we expose them to a wider variety of music than just the children’s CDs they like. Our family has benefited from the exposure to these music classes and our children will benefit for years to come.

An extract of this review was first published in Education Choices magazine

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