Gymboree Carl Orff and Kodaly oh my!
June 22, 2010 8:42 PM   Subscribe

Is Kindermusik/gymboree infant music education worthwhile?

I've a six-month old nappy-clad napoleon (pic) who I'd like to encourage into music. Looking around, there seem to be a few structured ways to do this (eg Gymboree, Kindermusik), but I honestly have no idea how to compare them, or determine whether they provide value apart from socialising. Are they worthwhile, or could I start my wee darling's musical education off at home and achieve the same effect? If so, where to start?

I do have significant musical training (classically-trained cellist) but very little early-learning knowledge.
posted by coriolisdave to Education (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
This isn't precisely an answer but it's what I experienced: We did Kindermusik from the time my son was about six-months old, till about 18 months. It was wonderful, he enjoyed it a lot, and he is a very musical kid now at age seven, very into dance and movement. I don't know that any of it came from Kindermusik, though. The main benefit was that we met several other stay-at-home moms with kids the very same age. So now my son has a circle of six friends that he's know literally almost all his life.

I think you could achieve pretty much the same thing by having music around in your life, getting basic instruments, etc. But kindermusik was FUN.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:11 PM on June 22, 2010

(Okay, first, OMG SUPERSQUEEEEEEEE! Cutest baby ever!)

I take my son to Music Together, which is along the same lines as Kindermusic, et al. I really enjoy it. It gives me a chance to get out of the house, it gives him a chance to socialize, etc. But also, with my six month old, he would sit wide-eyed and rigid and watch all the other kids (Music Together is a 0-5 inclusive program) and take it all in, then often imitate when he got home. Several of his "firsts" were from imitating other kids -- shaking shaker eggs, mimicking a particular motion for a song, etc.

I don't know that it's making him a musical genius, but it's exposing him to a lot of different music, exposing me to more music, and exposing him to OTHER KIDS making music (Music Together does a "play along" song where they play with various shakers and drums and bells and whatnot), which he DESPERATELY wants to imitate! He is now 13 months old and is interested in "singing" the songs as well as imitating whatever the big kids do.

I also have significant musical training and have really enjoyed the Music Together program. (We also chose a daytime class fairly close to my husband's work, so now and then daddy gets to come to class, which is pretty much THE PINNACLE OF BABY EXISTENCE, daddy being currently much cooler than mommy.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:11 PM on June 22, 2010

My child really enjoyed Kindermusik. If you can afford it, I would definitely do it! We did it from about 6-18 months as well. My daughter loves to sing and was very vocal even as a wee little babe. It worked out well.
posted by Ostara at 10:07 PM on June 22, 2010

We have lots of instruments that Elliot Mason can touch and play with. It's not structured but might be a good supplement.

Also we do lots of singing in general. And listen to lots of music.
posted by gomichild at 10:35 PM on June 22, 2010

Our daughter has recently started Colourstrings, which is another Kodaly-based teaching method, originating in Finland. Although it's called 'strings' the method works for any instrument. You can read more about it here.

She is absolutely loving the Kindergarten classes. They are play-based and fun but very structured and it is clear to me that she has rapidly picked up the concepts of loud/soft fast/slow low/high.

I notice that the only classes in Australia are in North Lakes, Queensland, which isn't too far from you I think? Please do consider checking them out - I can't recommend it highly enough.
posted by dogsbody at 1:54 AM on June 23, 2010

Oops, forgot the link to your local classes: La Di Dah
posted by dogsbody at 1:55 AM on June 23, 2010

I have several friends who teach for Music Together and who take their own kids there. These are people who take music very seriously and have significant musical training and expertise.
posted by OmieWise at 5:40 AM on June 23, 2010

Both of my kiddos have done Kindermusik from about 12 months. The older one (he's 4 now) didn't seem to get as much out of the younger classes, but is really into it now. (He's definitely my child, and the idea of doing what everyone else is doing was kind of a hard concept to grasp. :-> ) The younger one (she just turned 2) seemed to jump in and pick things up right away. I don't know how much they're truly learning musically (besides potentially an appreciation for it), but the structure of the class has seemed to be very good for them. Make sure you scope out the class thoroughly, some Kindermusik teachers seem to be much better than others.
posted by jferg at 6:18 AM on June 23, 2010

Any time you spend with your kid is Good, with a capital 'g.' If that takes the form of structured music classes, then go for it. My kids are both incredibly musical. My son plays string bass in three orchestras during the school year and my daughter plays piano and has begun playing viola. I never took them to structured music classes but music is a very important part of our family; my husband and I both come from musical families. I visited a couple of different Kindermusik/Gymboree-type classes and personally couldn't stand the music (YMMV) so we didn't go back. We just always have music on in the house and the car and things progressed from there.

Socialization is important, too, and I think that's mostly what you'll get out of these classes, at least right now. We found that through other things like sports and playgroups, so there are other options.

The bottom line is if you can afford the classes and your kid seems to enjoy it? Have at it!
posted by cooker girl at 7:28 AM on June 23, 2010

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