To address this skill gap, Musikgarten places a great deal of emphasis on sharing, taking turns, and speaking up. We start every class in the younger ages with a welcome song that greets each child by name. Then small vocal and gestural cues from the children are picked up throughout the class, mirrored back, and become part of the musical activity. Gradually each child discovers that they are making an impact on the events of the class.
As the children grow, they begin to participate in discussions about the songs and musical activities in the class. Each child has opportunities to add new twists to the class experience, drawing the class together and preparing them to be part of a musical ensemble. The teacher is observing and adding new elements contributed by the children, so they develop a sense for nuance which strengthens their ability to attend well.
These developmental steps, and the experience of becoming part of a group are fundamental to our curriculum design.The folk songs and musical traditions we offer foster the sense of music-making as a community-building activity. This in turn gives each child a sense of value as they feel heard, imparting confidence they carry into life at school and beyond.
One way parents can foster these positive traits (beside bringing your child to Musikgarten each week!) is through deliberately building in small delays before responding to your child's desires, so she/he can develop the patience needed to take turns with others. Actively modeling compassion for others is another aspect of this cultivation of social skills, and often our classes provide a setting where this can happen.
Finally, joining in with the songs, rhythm patterns, and musical stories on your CD and in class will model communication for your child and help her/him to learn to communicate freely with others.
Have a great week off from classes, and we'll see you next week!