Early Childhood Music & Movement

Fall and Winter Class Info

  • Number of Classes per Semester: 12
  • Start Date for the Fall Semester: September 16. Start Date for the Winter Semester: January 20.
  • Curriculum Cost: None (students are encouraged to purchase recordings)
  • Tuition per Semester: $69

Class Offerings for Fall and Winter

Music Now I’m an Infant and Toddler 

  • Time: Tuesdays 4:40-5:10
  • Room: Dining Commons Classroom on Lower Level

Music Now I’m 4 and 5

  • Time: Tuesdays 4:40-5:10
  • Room: Dining Commons Classroom on Lower Level

Family Music Class (ages 5 and younger)

  • Time: Tuesdays 4:40-5:10
  • Room: Dining Commons Classroom on Lower Level

Musicianship Class (ages: see below)

  • Time: Tuesdays 4:40-5:10
  • Room: Century House Piano Lab

Note: Musicianship Class is for students taking their first year of private music lessons ages 7 and younger, or students who are 5 and have successfully mastered the skills from “Music Now I’m 4 and 5″ course.

Making Music with Piano (SPRING SEMESTER ONLY – Ages 5+)

  • Time: Tuesdays 4:40-5:10
  • Room: Century House Piano Lab
  • Making Music with Piano s a pre-piano class introducing foundational concepts to learn before starting private lessons

New Student Registration

Current Student Registration

Early Childhood Music Class - Course Content

Students ages 7 and younger are taught from a curriculum developed based on a combination of philosophies by Dr. Edwin Gordon in Music Play, Dr. John Feierabend in First Steps in Music, and other similiar early childhood programs.  The early childhood curriculum of Gordon, Feierabend, and others is research-based curriculum and consists of high-quality literature providing the needed resources for children to have an exceptional musical experience early on!

Early Childhood Music Classes…

  • Focus on developing tuneful, beatful, and artful children.
  • Inspire children to listen, feel and move to music of all kinds.
  • Develop a child’s imagination through songs and movement.
  • Encourage constructive social interactions with other children.
  • Are fun for kids and parents alike!

Activities for the classes include the following at varying degrees of difficulty:

  • pitch exploration—helps children discover the sensation of singing voice by engaging the vocal muscles used to sing in the head voice.
  • song fragments (echo songs and call-and-response songs)—develop the children’s musical skills by providing an opportunity to sing a short phrase alone.
  • simple songs—encourage independent singing from children while they assimilate the whole song.
  • arioso (child created tunes)—the more tunes and songs the children have learned and the more opportunities they have to make up tunes and songs, the better their original music thinking attempts will become.
  • movement exploration—prepares the body coordination children need to develop expressive musical sensitivity through movement.
  • movement for form and expression—helps the children experience the expressive qualities in music through movement while also experiencing the musical form/structure through organized movement.
  • movement with the beat—develops the ability to feel beat, and eventually feel beat in groups of two and three.

(descriptions from “First Steps in Music” curriculum)

Students who develop their tuneful, beatful, and artful skills will be able to intuitively do the following:

  • Sing with the correct vocal placement-head voice (tuneful).
  • Sing with accuracy in solo situations and within a group (tuneful).
  • Sing with expression (tuneful).
  • Maintain beat motion in coordination with a rhyme, song, or recorded example (beatful).
  • Demonstrate a feeling of how beats are grouped by two and three with beat motions (beatful).
  • Move expressively to reflect the expressive elements in recorded music (artful).
  • Have feelingful responses when listening to music (artful).

(descriptions from “First Steps in Music” curriculum)

Early Childhood Piano Class - Course Content

Making Music with the Piano:

Students taking “Making Music with the Piano” learn how to express music with the piano using an engaging sound before sight approach developed by John Feierabend called Conversational Solfege. The simple premise on which this method is based is the same one which is advocated for the teaching of language—language skills are developed by the ear before reading and/or writing of language is introduced. In other words, conversational skills are developed prior to reading and writing.

Why do we teach using a sound before sight approach? Well, think about the traditional piano lesson in terms of Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences. Students are working on their spatial intelligence (the piano keys), their logical/mathematical intelligence (the note values and names), their linguistic intelligence (the teacher talk), and their bodily kinesthetic intelligence (movement on keyboard). What part of the lesson is really working on developing musical intelligence? Students learning the sound before sight approach to music will use the piano to express music as opposed to simply hearing music through the piano. Thus, this is a 4 semester music program helping students learn to proficiently sing, play the piano, read, write, and create music. Using a 12 step music literacy method, students will participate in engaging activities to develop their musical and pianistic skills.

Students should not learn the piano until they are first tuneful, beatful, and artful. In other words, students need to have developed accurate and expressive singing voices and be able to maintain a steady beat.

Developing Musical Intelligence Before Musical Achievement

Imagine that lumps of clay represent the multiple intelligences. When we are conceived, we have a lump of clay varying in size for each intelligence (referring to the multiple intelligences researched by Howard Gardner). According to research, these lumps of clay are moldable into pots until approximately the age of seven, at which time the clay becomes hardened. From conception to age seven, some lumps will receive more molding than others meaning some intelligences will develop more aptitude than others. So, what if a child has a large lump of musical intelligence, but nothing is done with that lump of clay from birth until the age of seven? Or, what if a child has a small lump of musical intelligence, but the lump is shaped and molded from birth until the age of seven? Who would have more musical aptitude to achieve musically? According to research completed by John Feierabend, Jane Healy, and others, the child with the small lump that was shaped and molded will likely have more musical aptitude or ability than the child whose large lump of clay was ignored.

Because children’s lumps of clay are moldable until the age of seven, children’s musical education should be focusing on developing their musical intelligence, singing skills, sensitivity to beat and beat groups, expressive movement, musical memory, preferences, and neurological connections. When children reach the age of seven and the clay hardens, they can begin filling their pot by working on musical achievement (reading and writing music, expressing music using an instrument). But, if the clay was neglected from conception to age seven, the child cannot accomplish or achieve as much.

What happens when parents reverse this process by focusing on the student’s achievement instead of their aptitude before age seven? Well, two farmers were planting their crops in the spring. The one farmer decided he would plant his crops in May, even though he wasn’t able to prepare the soil by cultivating and fertilizing, etc. The other farmer decided to wait until June so that he could properly prepare the soil first. Who ended up with the better crops? In other words, the child who focuses on achievement as opposed to aptitude before age seven will be easily passed up by the child who focuses on aptitude as opposed to achievement before age seven. Thus, all of the music classes at Maranatha for children ages seven and under, including “Making Music with Piano” are designed to prepare children for the development of accurate rhythmic skills, accurate singing skills, and sensitivity to the expressive qualities in music.

For more information, please read the articles “Music and Intelligence in the Early Years” and “Developing Music Literacy: An Aural Approach for an Aural Art.”

(Info adapted for use from John Feierabend workshop “First Steps in Music”)

Early Childhood Music - Class Policies

  • Please be on time (5 minutes before the class begins).
  • Depending on personality and comfort level, some children will be quiet in class, others will be active. Even if your child is just quietly observing, caregivers need to participate in the class activities. Please do not worry about your musical competence, but rather demonstrate respect for and enjoyment of music through your focus and attention.
  • Understand that all children learn at different rates and in different ways. Do not compare one child’s accomplishments with another’s. Later development is sometimes better! Children are often unresponsive in class and participate more freely at home between classes—this is normal. The caregiver should learn the activities and repeat them at home during receptive moments.
  • If your child is having a bad day, feel free to step out of the class for a while, and rejoin the class later. We all have bad days now and then! Wandering during class activities is perfectly fine. However, if at any time, the child’s behavior becomes distracting to other children, it is the caregiver’s responsibility to correct the behavior.
  • Try not to talk to other adults during class activities. Focus on your child and the activity. During class, I am not primarily teaching the children; I am teaching you what to do with your child at home! Repetition is the mother of knowledge.
  • Please keep all food and drinks out of the classroom, and please keep personal items such as toys, blankets, stuffed animals, or other “distractions” out of the activity area. Socks are required.
  • Missed classes will not be made up. If you need to miss, please notify the teacher in advance if possible.
  • Please communicate if you have concerns or fun observations to share about the class or your child!

Early Childhood Music - Lead Teachers

Dr. Rick Townsend has years of experience teaching early childhood classes as well as early childhood education collegiate courses. Dr. Townsend also serves as managing director of the national Early Childhood Music and Movement Association.

Janet Tschida has successfully completed Dr. Feierabend’s graduate level courses “First Steps in Music” and “Conversational Solfege” at Silver Lake College in Manitowoc and has also completed various levels of Musikgarten certifications. Janet is a member of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association.

Upper level students who have completed the early childhood music coursework with Dr. Townsend and have taught at least one year at Kiddie Kampus teach early childhood courses as well.

Please email Janet Tschida with any questions or concerns.