Musikgarten Musikgarten

BETHA'S MUSIK
                    a MusikGarten Program
617 Berkshire Drive  State College, PA 16803

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FAQs

1) What if my child won’t sit still?
Young children are learning to move and moving to learn! Every class has a balance between sitting and moving and playing instruments, which meets the needs of most children. Some toddlers have just learned to walk, and they do it almost constantly and at a high speed! Other children may quietly watch, observing but not participating for weeks on end. All children are learning if they are in the room! As long as your child is not posing a major distraction to other children and is not destroying anything in the room, let them wander, but model for them the activity we are doing. Most children eventually join in when they see how much fun you are having!
 
2) Can your classes help my shy child?
Our classes offer a safe, nurturing environment where very shy children often flourish. We believe in the Montessori principle of “Follow the Child,” so your child is never forced into an activity they are not ready for. Many children come out of their shell over the course of the semester and enjoy the community music making our classes provide. Children are especially motivated if their accompanying adult is participating in a relaxed, pleasant manner. Forcing a child to participate may negatively color his perception of music and music class. With patience and understanding shy children flourish in music classes.

3) What do we do in music class?
A lot! Every activity has been carefully chosen for its musical, social, cognitive, aural, gross motor, fine motor and/or speech benefit to your child. Our classes use a lot of singing games, focused listening activities, simple instrument playing and movement to engage your child in the most beneficial way. The best part is, your child is having so much fun bouncing, dancing, singing, thinking and playing, they have no idea how many skills they are absorbing!

4) How much does it cost?
Classes are only $9 - $11 per class, depending on length. When compared to other classes in the area, we are highly competitive. When you consider that music classes work towards developing the whole child, not just teaching a single set of skills, and when you consider that birth to age five is a critical time in musical development, but not so much in other activities, our classes are a great value!

5) What is the difference between Musikgarten and Kindermusik, and other programs in the area?
I love the Musikgarten curriculum and did a lot of research before deciding to receive my training through them. There are a number of benefits that make the Musikgarten curriculum unique. My favorites are:
  • The sequential approach to teaching children. A great deal of thought has gone into each level of Musikgarten classes, so that as a child goes through our program they continually add musical layers to familiar songs.
  • The Musikgarten curriculum uses folk, classical and traditional children’s music. The original curriculum was incredibly well thought out years ago, wonderful musical arrangements were made to complement it, and ever since then the founders have essentially left it alone. Musikgarten doesn’t pump out hundreds of new songs a year, but instead focuses on making sure the songs they do have are of a quality any professional musician would be proud to listen to and teach.
  • Musikgarten focuses on the natural world. All our instruments are made of beautiful, natural materials. Many of our songs and listening experiences help children experience birds, farm animals, the seasons, insects and other themes from nature that they will naturally encounter. Musikgarten is very proud to have been “green” before it was popular!
  • The quality of Musikgarten recordings cannot be matched. Every sound you hear on a Musikgarten CD is a natural sound. A flute is a flute, a violin is a violin, and a grasshopper is a grasshopper. The arrangements were done by a man named Howard Baer, an award-winning composer who really understands children. As a musician, I do not get tired of listening to Musikgarten CDs. I cannot say the same, unfortunately, about most children’s music I have encountered.
  • Finally, I have been so impressed by the passion the Musikgarten founders have for making sure your children receive music education of the highest possible quality. All the way up the ladder, Musikgarten teachers are so excited about the musical potential young children have. I hope you will take advantage of this brief time to make sure your children have musical skills they will keep for life!
 
6) What about siblings?
As a mom of three young children, I definitely understand childcare issues, and have therefore provided a lot of options for families when it comes to siblings. Generally, a younger sibling is welcome to “tag-along” to an older siblings class, as long as the younger child is not old enough to actually enroll in that class. Older siblings are generally discouraged from attending class with a younger sibling, although exceptions have been made. Often, I will have childcare available at no cost for certain classes. If this would help you, just ask! Sibling discounts are available.

7) How early can I tell if my child is musically talented?
Research shows that ALL children have musical potential, and that it is highest in very young children! Aptitude in rhythm and melody can both be significantly developed through musical pattern activities and through joyful singing, movement, and listening to high quality music in early childhood. Frequent musical interaction between parent and child at home is a key to developing the child’s potential. When you enroll your child in a music class, you are helping them to develop the musical potential they already have, instead of allowing it to gradually decline as they get older.

8) This class is fun, but when should my child start seriously studying music, such as taking violin or piano lessons?
I truly believe that children in these classes are building a strong musical foundation in the most developmentally appropriate way. Young children are much more interested in singing, dancing and trying out instruments than in intense, focused practicing 30 minutes a day. It is exciting to see them develop musical skills and literacy in this playful music environment. Usually they are far ahead when they do begin to study an instrument around the age of seven. Many children who complete the last level of Musikgarten instruction, the keyboard class, can play up to 20 songs with melody and chords, in several different keys, and can read song patterns in traditional music notation. A strong foundation has been laid, their ears have been trained, and the instrument is just another level to their musicality, which comes very naturally.

Do you have other questions? Send me an e-mail — I’d be happy to answer! I love finding out what people want to know about our program!