I haven't blogged here for almost a year, but after this morning's classes, I decided it was time!
People come to Music Together® classes for all kinds of reasons. Some come because they feel they "should." Some come because a neighbor or family member said it was fun and decided to try it. Some come because they want to expose their young children to music. Some come because they believe that music is important. Some come because it is fun. Some think that involving their children in music will help with other kinds of learning. Some want the social experience. Most families come for a combination of these reasons.
A reason that often isn't on the initial list, but becomes more important over time is to engage musically with a community of friends!
I teach ten Family Music Together classes a week. Each one has it's own unique personality and most of the time that shifts from semester to semester as families drop out, add in, move to a different class, get older, add new babies etc... They evolve and change. Often a particular day and time will have some of the same families from semester to semester, but there are usually some changes.
This year, Wednesday 10:15 has been made up of the same families since September, and they are all coming back for the Spring. Don't try to register for it 'cause it's full! There is something magical about this particular combination of families. Don't get me wrong - I love ALL my classes and this one has it's share of tears, collisions, and all the other drama that can come from being with a group of young children, but this class isn't a CLASS. It's a community. It's a family. At this point in the year, grownups laps are interchangeable and other grown ups get as many hugs as I do! With the consistency of participants, there is no need to "get to know each other" before feeling safe and comfortable.
The MUSIC that is being expressed is icing on the cake for me, and boy is it delicious! See here is what happens. The more comfortable children are in any given environment, the more ready they are to share what is inside of them with that environment and the people in it. This is why it is not unusual for children to take in the music and activities in class and then go home and "play" them out. That is their comfort zone ~ that is where they feel safe to express what they have inside.
When families make the choice to continue semester to semester over time, they get comfy and familiar. The children who have been expressing only at home (which is typically many of them!) feel comfy in class and begin to express more there.
I often have families who will take a semester off and then return. Life happens and sometimes you just can't do everything. What this means though is that when you return, there is a natural need to re-acclimate to the class and the people and even me! Even a few short months can impact on a child's comfort level.
All this is simply to say two things... I love the community that making music together creates, and if you're not sure if you are going to register for the Spring semester, hop to it! This could be the one when your child says "ok, I'm ready to sing with my friends now!" Wouldn't you hate to miss it?