Sunday, September 30, 2012

Music Together (Review)

I was first introduced to Music Together as a college student attending the Kentucky Music Educator's Association Conference.  With grand ideas of teaching in a music classroom, I strolled the exhibit hall imagining how each of the vendors could serve my program.  Music Together struck a cord with me because it was a music and movement program not necessarily bound to the confines of a classroom, but instead was actually designed to involve the whole family.  Parents and children from birth to age 7 would be able to enjoy and create music together. 
I remember taking information on the Teaching Music Together Training Program.  To become a teacher, you must complete the training program, demonstrate the ability to sing on pitch and keep accurate rhythm, and be able to lead a group.  Teacher trainings are offered in 50 locations worldwide and continual workshops and support are made available throughout the year.  Music Together could become your new career or provide some supplemental income for your family.  If you may be interested in becoming a Music Together Teacher, you can learn more about the available training here.  Not interested in teaching but want to join a family class?  Visit the class locator to find one in your area.
Most likely, you are simply interested in providing a positive, fun, research-based, innovative music experience for your family, your homeschool co-op, enrichment class, etc.  Well, you are in luck because Music Together is committed to helping families rediscover the pleasure and educational value of informal music experiences.  A few years removed from the music classroom, and I'm finally enjoying the Music Together music and movement program, but I'm at home with my three precious kiddos.  What fun!!!!


My little ones and I were able to review the award-winning Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers and CD.  Not only does the CD features nineteen of the best-loved songs from the nine Music Together song collections, it has won eleven awards including a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor award.  It includes a 32-page booklet with fun music-making activity suggestions for every song for use at home, in the car, or in the preschool classroom.

Especially helpful for the homeschool parent or early childhood teacher is the Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers.  This songbook details how to establish a music-friendly environment where children are free to move rhythmically, experiment with their voice through song, improvise, and hone listening skills.  Following the vocal score for each song, there are teacher pages that specifically outline activities that can be used in various settings.  The activities are engaging and age-appropriate for the developing young musician.  There are many accommodations made and tips for teaching students with special needs as well as notes for how to teach both preschool and older children.

The Wells' kiddos had a few favorite songs.  They enjoyed I've Been Working on the Railroad partially because they were already familiar with it, and because they loved the vocal vamps and being able to do the train associated large movements. Splishing and Splashing was a hit because they latched onto the catchy chant even recognizing the change in meter and had the best time composing their own silly chants. Finally, Spin and Stop was lots of fun because they found the nonsense syllables entertaining as well as the spinning motions using scarves.

I truly believe that instruments are magnets to which children gravitate.  My children don't veer from this norm at all and gratefully embrace any opportunity they have to improvise and create.  They were thrilled that each of the lessons included time for instrument exploration and play.  Whether you have a stash of children's instruments or choose to create your own, I'm confident that your kids will also be ecstatic to truly "play" music.  Actually, I'd venture to guess that you are going to want to join in.  I mean - it's not fair for them to have all the fun :-)

Listen to the songs on the "Family Favorites" CD now.  Hear something you like?  You can buy digital downloads of the album and songs.  If you prefer to have the Songbook and CD, it is most advantageous to purchase the combo kit as you save $5.  Actually, if you purchase the combo from the Music Together online store and enter the coupon code "Schoolhouse" at check-out you will save an additional $2.  This makes the combo $37.95.

While previewing the songs online, why don't you read what other Schoolhouse Review Crew members are saying about their experience with Music Together?  I always recommend getting multiple opinions before making a purchase, and it is easy to do.  Simply click the button below.

Disclaimer:  I received a complimentary Family Favorites CD & Songbook Combo in exchange for my honest review.

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