Monday, October 1, 2012

TOS Review: Music Together

Music Together is an early childhood music program that is based on much research and encourages young children and their adult loved ones to participate together in shared music-based experiences.  The first Music Together group was opened to the public in 1987.  The four tennants of the program are that 1) All children are musical, 2) All children can achieve basic music competence - learn to sing in tune and move with accurate rhythm, 3) Participation and modeling of parents and other caregivers is essential to a child's musical growth, and 4) Growth is best achieved in a playful, musically rich, and non-performance-oriented learning environment.  For over a year I have had an interest in starting an early childhood music program at our church, so when I received these materials to review, I was thrilled!  Not many of the review items I receive are suitable for my 3 year old, let alone my almost 14 month old - I think this has been the first thing the baby has been able to do!

The package I received consisted of the Music Together Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers and the Family Favorites cd, which also had a small booklet in it.  I popped the cd into my computer, and my two little ones were bouncing and dancing almost immediately.  They loved the music, and I can honestly say there were only a couple that were not so high on my appreciation scale, which I think is pretty good for a disc aimed at small children!  There were even several songs that I found quite lovely - "She Sells Sea Shells" and "Spin and Stop", for example.  Many of the songs were written for the program, while a few are traditional songs from world cultures.  Only one is a traditional American "kids song" - "I've Been Working on the Railroad."  Interestingly enough, that was one of the ones I didn't like as much.

The Music Together Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers first gives an overview of the program, including a section on working with children with special needs.  Following that, there is printed music and words for each song, as well as activity suggestions for infants, preschoolers, and children with special needs.  A selection of rhythm instruments is suggested, such as shaker eggs and rhythm sticks.  I was able to find items around my house to work as substitutions - plastic Easter eggs filled with rice, wooden spoons, etc.  Playing with objects in a new way was part of the fun!  

Even if I don't ever use the Music Together program at church, I will surely keep using it with my little ones.  It was great to see them so engaged in the music and what we were doing together.  Little Miss is always disappointed when I tell her that I have to stop playing with her, but it helps that I let the music continue to play.  Music Together is a welcome addition to our day, and my preschooler loves anything that she considers to be her "schoolwork", so I make sure we do it while her older brother and sister are doing their own schoolwork.

The Music Together Family Favorites can be found at Music Together.  If you choose to purchase Family Favorites, don't forget that you save $5 when you buy the cd/songbook combo.  Also, use the coupon code "Schoolhouse" at checkout, and save another $2, making your total $37.95 for the set!


***Disclaimer:  I received the Music Together Family Favorites set in exchange for my review through the Schoolhouse Review Crew.  All opinions are my own.

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