Music Together review

Does the thought of story time make you break into a sweat because yours will be "that kid" who wants nothing to do with it and everything to do with running around or getting into "teacher space"?

Have you been looking for a way to get your toddler started with structured activities in a non-threatening way?

Hey, even if yours sits in your lap and follows expectations at story time, you will still love Music Together. Everyone will. 
My expectation of everything we try.

After several hellish attempts at story times and a disastrous go at Tumble Tots (don't advertise for 2 year olds if you aren't ready for them, Upper Arlington Parks and Rec), I was at a loss for what to do with my "active" toddler. Most structured activities do not start until age 3, so our choices were few. Lucky for me, I have an emergency phone line straight to my niece whenever these situations arise.
The reality of everything we have tried. Larkyn must be talking to Jeremiah. #trainwreck

After agreeing with me that toddlers need some special consideration to help them learn boundaries while still accommodating their exploration and short patience, she suggested a Music Together class. She was recently trained and hired to teach it in NYC. After looking up our closest location (only 3 miles away!) and seeing the reasonable cost ($95 for our location), I signed up with a friend and her daughter.

When the day finally arrived 2 weeks ago, I was so nervous!! It was going to be 45 minutes long, and I was bracing for it to end with her over my shoulder and both of us in tears. Signing up with my friend made all the difference, as we could commiserate together if things went down in flames.

The room was a nice, EMPTY room. Supplies were in sealed tubs up high, cabinets were locked, and I didn't have to worry about Larkyn rifling through all the tempting scarves and instruments. Next, the class wasn't overbooked. I am so used to going to story time and having to squeeze in between 74 yoga-pantsed nannies with their perfect charges sitting in their laps while I run around Duck Duck Goose-style after my own.

The teacher was welcoming and friendly, and began by telling us the philosophy of the class (AKA: the sweetest words my mama ears have ever heard)  Kids will do what kids will do. Grown ups do what I do.  If your child is in a corner laying down or running in circles, so be it. But instead of chasing them and insisting that they follow along, adults are to keep going along as if nothing is happening. Awesome.

Now I should remind you that I teach kindergarten, so singing songs and doing movements is not a big deal to me. The songs for the day were listed on a marker board so that we could keep track of where we were in the class. These are not your run-of-the-mill childrens songs, but are research-based, world music selections that are perfect for kids' voices and movement. You can read more about that here.

I will say that, just like the radio, there are some that you suffer through (or change the station) but most are fun and upbeat. They alternate between songs that are energetic and songs that are relaxing.

All songs have a movement component. It might be motions we do with the kids, might be dancing around with scarves, using the instrument tub (jackpot!), or using one specific instrument to explore rhythm. I personally LOVE when the instruments come out, because that lures my little fish back in if she is off doing her own thing. She is learning to sit in my lap for (very) short periods of time, putting instruments back when asked, and doing what the rest of the group is doing. This may not sound like much, but it is HUGE. This lays the foundation for preschool.

It is a challenge for us. She spends about 60% of the time doing what the group is doing and the rest is spent running back and forth with friends, crying for her binky, or asking for a snack. I try to avoid the snacks, but our instructor doesn't seem to mind if I slip a few goldfish in when times get rough. In other words, we are probably having the roughest time out of our groups of 7 kids and we still want to go back. She threw a huge fit this week and when I asked if we should leave, our teacher encouraged me to tough it out and then picked an engaging song to get Larkyn back from the dark side.

You receive a packet with information about the program, ideas for home extentions, a song book, and 2 CDs to help the kids remember the songs. There are 9 song cycles, so you can pick up the class any time you want and not have to worry about it being out of sequence or repeating (for another 9 semesters at least). 

She looks forward to going, and I think that she is honestly worn out about 3/4 of the way through. I am so happy to have found a place for us to work on skills and behavior without coming home with PTSD. Music Together is all over the world, so I encourage you to look up your closest location and sign up!

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