We all know that Music Together is a music education program, but you may not have realized that it's a language immersion program, too!
Yes, music is a language--a critical form of human communication deeply rooted in all of us. In his theory of multiple intelligences, Dr. Howard Gardener cites "musical intelligence" as one of the eight intelligences by which we know the world around us. According to him, musical intelligence runs in an almost structural parallel to linguistic intelligence.
One of our important goals in class is to help our little ones begin the development of their musical intelligence in a meaningful way. Since little children learn from watching and imitating their important grown-ups, while you are in class, it is the most profound kind of music learning for your child if YOU stay musical for the whole 45 minutes! We ask you to put your talking voices on hold and use your singing voices, so that the children can have an "immersion" experience. Speaking directly to children during the types of activities we do can interrupt important musical processing in their brains. Between songs, please don't talk to your child or another adult. Instead, use non-verbal communication--smiles, gestures, etc.
ALSO, the quiet spaces are very important. The pauses in songs, the quiet spaces before and after songs, the moments when we are all breathing together before singing--during these quiet moments we often hear the children humming or singing softly. We can miss that chance if we're not listening for it.
Remember we are modeling--the children are paying careful attention to what we do. When we model focus, we teach our children how to focus. Singing the BUM! bum! when we put instruments away is the whole group's job, not just the teacher's! In classes where the adults really participate and practice these important parts of our program, the musical progress made by children is stunning!
If you must say something to your child in class, try singing it! It's fun, and your child will like it, too!
(Thanks to Center Director Ginger Parish for her contributions to these thoughts!)