Monday, October 1, 2012

Music is For ALL Ages - A New TOS Review!!

Music as I am sure I have mentioned before, is kinda 'in the blood' of my kiddos.  They've been listening and singing music since in the womb and all of them love to sing and dance whenever they hear a tune - whether it's a catchy commercial, a worshipful song at church, or a new song on the radio.  I love to help them explore their creativity when it comes to music and really express themselves whether in dance or song or movement so when I saw that the Crew was going to be reviewing some items from Music Together, I was intrigued.
The Product:
Music Together Family Favorites CD as well as their companion Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers
have a collection of 19 of their most loved songs on the CD with a 32 page booklet that gives you a little information about the song and then tells you some activities you can do while listening to that track.
These songs have been used over the last 25 years at the Music Together classes, which were designed for children  of all ages stating that all children have musical ability and can be taught to sing in tune, recognize a particular beat, and be able to participate in the music of their own culture. Feel free to listen to some samples and hear a bit of all the songs of this collection. The CD can be purchased for $14.95 (or downloaded for $9.95). You can also purchase (as a download) the songs individually for just $.99 per song.
The corresponding songbook is over 100 pages that includes sections on how to use the book, the philosophy of Music Together classes along with their principles, information on the different types of songs along with their activities, how to work with instruments and props and a special section that shows you how to apply the philosophy of this program for children with special needs.

There is also a list of all 19 songs along with the sheet music, most being at least a 2 page spread.  The first page will give a little information about how the song was created along with what types of activities will be a good complement.  It then goes on to tell you the musical instruments that are used on the CD as well as the type of music (the key, starting pitch, and the rhythm/meter.)  It may also go on to tell you some substitutions you can use in the song, different activities based on the age of the children participating and a special section focused on helping children with special needs.  The Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers can be purchased for $29.95.  However, you can purchase the CD and songbook together as a combo for just $39.95 (a $5 savings!) AND if you enter this coupon code at checkout - "Schoolhouse" - you will save an additional $2 on your purchase!

Music Together also offers classes all around the country and there are a ton of resources to help you do your own "classes" at home.  The songs and 'lessons' are created for children from birth through about 7 years old.  However, if you have older children and they know how to play an instrument (or maybe you do) you could have the older children 'play' the songs from the sheet music that way everyone is involved.  If I did it that way I'd still have everyone listen to the way the song was 'created' before we went out on our own.  You can also purchase other items on their site like some instruments and props.

Our Experience:
As I said earlier, music runs in the blood of my kiddos.  The girls LOVE to sing and dance, and Seanan is very into the music of items whether that be our ottoman, a bowl and spoon, or his drum.  He'd rather be the one making the music then singing to the music.  So I knew that they would all really enjoy this program.  I also knew that when we set aside a specific time to work on music that they would be anticipating it throughout their school day (which in turn would make them work just a teensy bit faster ;) - good side effect for mom.)

So on our first class, I had planned to just sit and listen to the songs and just let the kiddos move, sing, dance, do whatever they liked since most of these songs they (nor I) had ever heard.  Some of the songs that were favorites in our house include the following:
Hello Song
Biddy Biddy
Splishing and Splashing
Playin' in the Kitchen
John the Rabbit
Spin and Stop
Dancing with Teddy
Goodbye, So Long, Farewell

The first quarter of the book gave very detailed information on how a class was run, the philosophy of the program, the principles of the program - including the Silly Quotient - which is highly important during a 'class/lesson' (I'll explain that in a minute).  They also explained that you would need some instruments or props, some of which I already had on hand - egg shakers, maracas, drums, tambourines, scarves, and rhythm sticks.  You also might need some other items like some bells or other ringing instruments, parachutes (or a large sheet) and balls.

So let me explain the Silly Quotient to you.  Basically it says that you the teacher/parent need to let go and let loose and be silly ... really get into the song, do the motions, and be playful.  Allowing yourself to be free in this area will allow your children to respond with their innate ability to respond to the music that they hear.

We had a lot of fun to say the least.  The kids loved finding their props and using things instead of the exact item (like bowls and spoons to be rhythm sticks or drums).  Here are some pictures of them in one of our 'classes'.  I tried to get a picture that included me, but I couldn't figure out how to do that while taking the picture too.  ;)
Keeping rhythm while "Playin' in the Kitchen"

Drinking like a dog (from Splishing and Splashing)

Playing a homemade triangle.
My Thoughts:
I totally agree with the philosophy of  Music Together.  I believe that ALL children (and adults) are musical and have it in their DNA.  That is how God created us ... to worship him - and that includes with singing and dance.  I also believe that when you set aside a specified time to be musical with your children you will build strong bonds that will last a lifetime.

Music is a gift from God and we all need to learn how to use that gift for HIS glory.  So why not start as early as possible and show your children that they can be free to worship Him in any way they see fit.

 I encourage you to take some time and read how other Crew members used the Music Together CD and Songbook and created their own 'classes' by clicking on the banner below.  If you'd like you can subscribe to their email newsletter.  You can email them if you have any further questions.


*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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