A - P - P - L - E
Teaching the basic elements to be memorized. Perhaps you remember this approach in your own childhood?
Some music education takes a different approach, showing you the whole picture:
But musikgarten is more like offering you a taste of applesauce, or a slice of apple to enjoy!
Starting from birth, we follow a carefully planned pathway (we call it the Pathway to Musical Literacy) that gives you and your child an engaging taste of music from the first moment, and builds on that first pleasure to lead toward a goal - the ability, benefit, and enjoyment of making music throughout your life.
To illustrate the Musikgarten progression, let's consider listening skills first (since these are crucial to development and learning from the earliest age). For a baby, listening is a continuation of the experience in the womb - which is why our baby class focuses on the bond between parent and baby as much as possible). In the toddler class, we ask the child to focus on a familiar sound, developing individual focused listening. Then in Seasons, we nurture the auditory discrimination skills of the 3-year old by challenging him/her to discern between the voices of four different animals or insects. This prepares him/her for discriminating among the four instruments of the string family in Home Environments and World Travelers. These activities ultimately prepare the child for the careful listening required in figuring out a melody line or chord structure of a song in our Piano classes.
The progression is not just in listening; let's consider movement too. Our babies enjoy rocking and other movements which promote vestibular development and crossing the midline, both essential to healthy growth. Then our toddlers learn finger plays and enjoy free dances; the curriculum encourages each toddler to explore movement through jumping, swaying and spinning. These skills are refined and practiced when the child is challenged to move to the recorded movement stories and imagined journeys in Seasons. This in turn lays the physical groundwork for the concepts of sequence and self-control experienced in the following years, when we introduce formalized movement games and group dances. These experiences give children the dexterity and grace needed to play the piano musically and rhythmically.
A third area of progression is in patterns. We introduce rhythm and tonal patterns from the start: neutral Ba Ba for babies and toddlers (first listening, then singing) leading to the use of Gordon's Rhythm Language (Du-de du, and Du-da-di du) in the Seasons classes, onward into more complex rhythm and tonal recognition games and song pages in Home Environments and Around the World, and into reading music in Piano. These patterns are the building blocks of music. Learning comes easily as the patterns repeat and build from class to class, preparing your child to read music, compose, and improvise with confidence.
As we begin this new semester, I wanted to remind you of this carefully designed progression, and say how much I am looking forward to seeing your child's growth this semester with Musikgarten!