Music Classes for Babies: 4 Things to Consider BEFORE You Sign Up!
May 7, 2016
Participating in music classes for babies is one of the many ways in which we can stimulate brain development through musical exposure…and getting together regularly with a group of other caregivers and babies can benefit you both in so many other ways.
Before joining a class, it’s important to be informed about the different styles and types of music groups–and, as with everything else in the world of parenting, you’ll likely want to choose an experience that will aligns with your goals/ambitions/values as a parent.
The most important question to ask yourself when deciding what kind of music class you will join is: “What do I expect?” Join my FB group here to ask questions and share opinions!
Different types of teachers/instructors, personalities, agendas, program goals, strategies and varying degrees of complexity in programming present a wide range of “class climates”. Considering both parent and teacher point of view carefully before joining a class will help ensure both your child’s and your overall enjoyment and fulfillment.
Babies can learn SO much in a music group that nurtures their cognitive growth!
4 Tips for Finding the right Baby Music Class for You:
TIP #1: Decide what kind of baby music class suits YOUR taste!
It sounds simple, but joining a class without concrete expectations is like buying groceries blindfolded. You’ll want to get what you are paying for, and avoid paying for something that wasn’t what you originally expected!
What kind of stimulation are you seeking? Socialization-focused for adults/music in the background? A simple sing-a-long? Gross/Fine motor exercise through rhythm exploration? Cognitive stimulation and language development? Building comprehension of social cues through music? There are varying degrees of entertainment, creativity, complexity and energy–make sure you find what you want.
TIP #2: Ask other parents, whose values and goals reflect yours, what they have heard/tried/what they know!
You’ll discover useful, helpful and current information based on others’ experiences–what to try and what to avoid–and find opportunities to connect with people at a similar stage of parenting to yours.
Ask more experienced parents, whose children are older than yours, what they did. You’ll get a wider range of ideas and hear others’ stories and experiences to help narrow down some of the options (as well as prepare yourself for what you may encounter as a participant in a music group/class).
TIP #3: Know your music teacher.
No matter what program you choose, all teachers are different. Parenting forums are a good information resource. Ask about the teacher’s energy level, flexibility, group management methods, diversity of the program, whether there are instruments, and what kind of music is played.
TIP #4: Find out WHO will be in the group!
Are you looking for a caregiver – only, grandparent-only, parent-only or a mixed group? If one of your goals is to meet other parents/caregivers/grandparents with whom you can connect/network, this is an especially important thing to consider.
If your goal is for your baby/toddler to socialize, consider how much opportunity there will be for this in the class you are looking into. Caregiver-focussed groups (a group of friends looking to enjoy being together with their babies) might have a different dynamic for your child than child-focussed groups (a group of caregivers who are looking to focus solely on the children’s experience).
If program variety is limited in your area, you may want to start off by joining a baby music class with someone whose company you genuinely enjoy .
You can also have your own private music class experience together if you subscribe to my YouTube channel, where you will find plenty of instructional, interactive videos for caregivers and babies to enjoy together!
From The Teacher’s Perspective: What does the Teacher Want from a Group?
A baby music class is among your child’s first group learning experiences. Whether or not you actively participate in class models for your child how he/she will conduct him/herself during his/her first independent group learning experiences (daycare, preschool).
Learning to focus starts with you…your child absorbs everything he/she sees, so set the stage early for how you hope your child will participate in future group instructional settings.
Although many baby music class teachers/instructors recognize the importance of establishing relationships among parents (and that chatting is natural when people get together), it can become challenging to maintain children’s attention when the overall sound of adult conversation is louder than the teacher’s voice.
If you keep the volume of your voice in check, it will help the teacher to focus on your child’s overall music class experience.
Share your observations in a productive way with your teacher. If you are noticing growth outside of music class that can be attributed to class experiences, teachers feel encouraged and inspired by this type of positive feedback. Send a friendly email, photo or video!
Similarly, if you would like to see something different explored in class, ask questions about the teacher’s plans. It benefits your child right from the start to work as a team with an educator, and can only have positive effects on your child, when expressed with respect.
Sharing Photos/Opinions Online
Acknowledge your music program/instructor on social media. Follow on Twitter, like a FB page–you’ll discover valuable information about future music class-related opportunities, and you’ll be supporting your teacher. All music class instructors/teachers/businesses rely on word of mouth to share the effectiveness of the program they are working hard to offer.
Sharing your experiences means that you’ll also be helping other parents choose a successful program for their children! You might want to ask permission to post photos first.
That said, if you are enjoying MY music, you can “like” my Facebook Page here to join my community of parents and educators who appreciate music as a means to teach, follow me on Twitter (@musicwithnancy), Instagram (@musicwithnancy) and subscribe to my YouTube Channel–and sing along with me!
Teaching a music circle yourself? Click here to read my recommendations for circle time songs that teach, which features some of my educational music for children, educators, parents and caregivers.