Best toddler-focused music program: Music Together
By By Kit Waskom Pollard
For The Baltimore Sun|
Oct 27, 2014 at 6:01 PM
Pretty much everyone — from the tiniest babies to charming nonagenarians — lights up when music fills a room. Music Together, which caters to children from birth to age 5, is all about the love of the tune. The program teaches children (and their parents) about music that features a variety of styles and instruments; it's educational but also a lot of fun.
"We sing, dance, play rhythm instruments, make up verses, get silly and simply enjoy ourselves musically," says Music Together of Charm City director and teacher Miriam Hack.
Kids have a blast, says Hack, and so do their parents. "The kids are delighted when they see their moms or other caregivers have fun, too," she says.
And during all that fun, the children are learning and developing.
"Children have a natural affinity for expressing themselves through music," explains Hack. "They thrive in an environment in which they are free to play, explore and experiment."
Music Together classes provide this environment, she says, and offer the added benefit of allowing kids to bond with their parents, strengthening their relationships as they sing.
Hack explains that music is a life skill, like learning to walk or talk. When children are exposed to music, they can learn how to play instruments and sing well. Music "engages our voices, our listening skills, our motor skills, spatial reasoning, language skills and our emotions," she says.
Early childhood is an ideal time to begin music appreciation and to learn musical skills.
"The most critical period for developing musical aptitude is prior to age 5," says Hack. "At the same time children are learning to use language to express themselves, they can also learn how to sing in tune and in rhythm."
Children can carry those skills – and the love of music – throughout their lives, until they are the boogying 90-year-olds making everyone smile on the dance floor.
"Participating in music activities enriches our life experience," says Hack. "It creates bonds with others and help us become happier and more fulfilled human beings. There is no better reason than that to give our children the gift of music."