This academic year (September 2012 to June 2013) marks the 25th anniversary of Music Together. First available to the public in 1987, Music Together pioneered the concept of research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music education that emphasizes caregiver involvement in a child’s musical growth, and the benefits it has on child development. Beloved by millions of children, parents, and early childhood educators, Music Together is now taught in 48 US states and in 40 other countries.
Music Together is based on the recognition that all children are musical: they can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate in the music of their culture, provided their early environment supports such learning. Music Together is the only program of its kind that cultivates such a rich music environment. The program’s millions of fans include celebrities—Chris Rock, Billy Joel, Amy Poehler, James Cameron, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Baldwin, Chynna Phillips, and Brooke Burke, among others, have enrolled their own children in Music Together classes over the years.
According to Kenneth K. Guilmartin, Founder/Director of Music Together, “Nurturing a child’s innate musicality as early as possible provides a foundation for later success in many areas. We introduce children to the pleasures of actively making music, which is critical for their music development. Children cannot learn about music by simply listening to it. The true power is in ‘doing the music.’ This happens quite naturally when children grow up with primary caregivers who actively bring music into the child’s everyday life. And it’s as simple as spending sing-along, dance-along, or play-along time with your child. Then, for older children, music education is more fun. Singing, playing instruments and performing come more naturally, and the joy of comfortable music participation turns into life-long appreciation and enjoyment of music.”
“Many parents may not realize that they are their child’s most important music teachers—even if they don’t consider themselves musical. It is not important that caregivers sing or move perfectly; what matters is that they model the enjoyment of making music,” Guilmartin explains.
Research shows the impact that early music education and participation can have not only on musical growth, but also on academic skill development and achievement. Some recent findings include: music instruction can promote key school readiness skills; music education in early childhood can have a profound impact on developing the areas of the brain integral to reading ability; and participation in music activities is associated with child and adolescent achievement outcomes in math and reading.
A Music Together class is an enriching, playful community of children and families sharing songs, playing instruments, chanting rhythms, and moving around in an uninhibited, relaxed, playful, non-performance-oriented setting that brings families back again and again. The award-winning music includes both original songs and arrangements of traditional, folk, jazz, and world music, presented in a wide variety of tonalities, meters, and musical styles.
With licensed Music Together centers around the globe (http://www.musictogether.com/
), the company continues to grow and now offers programs for children from birth through grade two. All classes include developmentally appropriate music and movement activities that support and respect the unique learning styles of young children.
In addition to programs for families, schools, at-risk populations, and children with special needs, Guilmartin and Music Together coauthor Rowan University Professor of Music Education, Dr. Lili M. Levinowitz, continually develop new applications of the program curriculum and conduct research in early childhood music.
Guilmartin explains, “We have been providing families with the tools to make music together for 25 years and proud to have impacted so many lives. As long as we can nurture children and their caregivers musically, we have accomplished our mission. ”