This program is based on the belief that music abilities are part of basic life skills like walking and talking, and that all children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with confidence and pleasure. Classes emphasize actual musical experiences instead of concepts about music, and introduce children to the pleasures of making music rather than passively listening to it from tapes, CDs, or television. And, just as children learn to talk by having adults that love them talk to them, they also learn to sing and make music from their parents and caregivers sharing with them. This is why adult participation is essential in Music Together.
All classes are mixed ages from birth through five. Activities focus on the adult/child interaction with the adults modeling, not instructing, so that everyone can participate at their own level and interest. The older children enjoy and benefit from being leaders and interacting with the younger children. And, in the case of siblings, music becomes an activity they can share together at home even when there is a big age difference. Adults will find that, regardless of their musical abilities or background, the music and activities are fun and there is no pressure because the process is what is important!
Early childhood educators recommend mixed-age groupings for social development as well, and the mixture of adults and children creates a family-style gathering where music making is shared through participation rather than performance. This environment facilitates children learning through play and immersion, and parents learn to recognize different stages of musical development and to foster their children's growth. There are nine different song collections, which means a family could take classes for three years without repeating a collection.
New families receive a parent guidebook, which discusses the philosophy behind Music Together in more detail, and describes various ways in which the parents or caregivers can enhance their child's musical experiences. There is also a parent education night each semester for more formal discussion about what goes on in class and at home.