Music Together of the Fraser Valley Feature & Review
Kids love music. It’s one of those things we grow up with and it offers so many learning opportunities. As parents we often play the same music for our kids that we loved growing up, mixed with new favourites. But a love of music goes so much farther than singing along to the tunes. It’s an opportunity to move and dance, to learn about rhythm, and to bring people- families- together.
Erin leading the class
Earlier this year I featured a post with Erin Parr from Music Together of the Fraser Valley, an organization that encourages musical learning from a young age. The idea behind the classes is to nurture a child’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement through interactive activities that include singing, dancing, and introducing them to instruments. What really makes these classes unique is that all members of the family are encouraged to participate.
Erin recently contacted me and invited me to one of her classes to see how Ariana would like it. It was perfect timing since several of my friends and I had been discussing different activities we were interested in for our kids, and music was right up there with swimming and gymnastics.
The class I attended was tailored for kids between the ages of 0- 5 years, making it perfect for Ari, and it allowed her to interact with kids both older and younger than her (new classes tailored specifically for babies are now being offered, click here for more information). It was great to see her observing how the older kids participated in the class and she seemed to feed off their energy and enthusiasm. The older kids also seemed to enjoy helping the younger ones with their instruments- this interaction is encouraged and is one of the goals of the classes to offer a rich learning environment.
The materials provided to parents
When I arrived with Ari, Erin explained the goals of the class and what parents are provided with to encourage musical activities beyond the class. At the beginning of the course parents are given a package that includes a CD that they are encouraged to play for their kids in the car and at home, and a songbook to help them and their kids remember the songs that will be sung in class. It’s suggested that the songbook be included in bedtime reading to help them become more familiar with the songs and so they can see that music notes can be read just like words. This is noted to help them when they are ready for more formal music instruction when they reach school age. Each class allows for 6- 12 registered children plus their caregivers, and throughout the semester older siblings of registered kids are allowed to attend once so they can participate.
The class was 45 minutes with a variety of songs that included sounds and noises, dancing, and keeping a rhythm, with many of them including different instruments for the parents and kids to play. Erin led the class in a warm & friendly manner, interacting with the kids and leading songs with her guitar. Her passion and enthusiasm for what she does really shines through.
Some of the instruments for the kids
For some of the songs, the kids could choose instruments to play and it was cute watching the kids select their instruments and help put them away at the end of songs; the kids were encouraged to take responsibility for the instruments, and the older kids were excited to help Erin with them (a great bonus is that you can purchase the instruments used in class from the MTFV Store, and gift certificates are available in any denomination to be used towards class enrolment). A cute finishing touch came at the end of the class, when the kids were invited up to strum Erin’s guitar- Ari even got to pluck the strings. The kids were all excited to try out her instrument and were instructed how to do so carefully.
We really enjoyed the class and I would encourage any parents who are interested in introducing their kids to music to look into those offered by MTFV. While it can be hard to choose between activities, especially when you have a budget in mind, music is such an important thing to introduce our kids to from a young age, and offers so many learning opportunities. When you register, each 45 minute class works out to $15, which is a great value considering the quality of the class and the material that families receive.
Ari moving around to the beat!
Here is the breakdown of cost for the classes:
$150 for the first child
$100 for each additional sibling
10 weeks, 45 minute, fun-filled music, movement and singing classes
2 copies of professionally mastered CD recording of class activities to use in home or in your car
An illustrated song book filled with musical notations and activity suggestions
Music and Your Child, a parent’s guide for families that are new to Music Together
If you’re trying to decide what activities to enrol your youngster in, here are the top 5 reasons music is important in early childhood development:
1. Music can increase and improve early language skills
2. Music aids in gross motor development. Music evokes movement which allows children to develop and grow their motor skills
3. Music engages the brain. Music stimulates neural pathways associated with such higher forms of intelligence as abstract thinking, empathy, and mathematics
4. Promotes social and emotional skills music groups allow children to interact with peers and relate to others in a complex way, leading to school readiness.
5. Music promotes creativity that allow freedom to explore and experiment within a structured environment allow children to develop their creativity.
If you would like more information about MTFV, including upcoming classes, go to their website & find them on Facebook.
A big thank you to Erin from MTFV for inviting us, and to the other lovely Moms & kids who were so welcoming & friendly.
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