I’d like to talk to you about the idea that is fundamental to the Music Together approach—that parents and caregivers are a child’s most important teachers. Children learn music by seeing people they love model how to be active music-makers. And, in turn, the adults become more and more adept at interacting with their kids in musical ways. By modeling musical behaviors, you become your child’s most important music teacher and help them develop the disposition to be a music-maker. That’s why we call it Music Together: the Together is You.
Of course for many adults, this is easier said than done. If you are a parent who doesn’t consider yourself to be musical, the notion of active participation probably seems pretty unnerving—“You mean you want me to sing and dance? In front of other people?” But parents discover it’s a lot easier than they think to become a music-making family. Regardless of your own musical ability, just by singing along, dancing along, or joining your child in instrument play, you are helping him gain the desire to be a music-maker. And somewhere along the way, you’re likely to discover or reclaim your inner music-maker, too.
In fact, to some parents, it can seem that they like coming to class even more than their kids do! I love it when I hear parents confess that they listen to Music Together songs in the car even when the kids aren’t there. And I love to watch them gradually shift from trying to supervise their child’s learning or behavior in class to having fun making music themselves—that’s success! Not only has another adult reclaimed her musical birthright, she’s also become a better role model for her child. She’ll be better able to follow through on what was sparked in the classroom, just by singing and enjoying music at home. It’s what all our Music Together teachers all around the world work so hard to achieve—encouraging parents to enjoy being music-makers, so they, in turn, can “teach” their children to love making music, too.
So if you’ve attended Music Together classes, how was your first experience? Were you nervous, or worried that you’d be “flunked” for singing out-of-tune? Did that change over time? Do you spontaneously hum or sing or tap the beat more than before as you go through your day? How has the Music Together experience become a part of your family’s daily life?
Kenneth K. Guilmartin
Founder/Director, Music Together LLC