JACKSON, Tenn. – July 30, 2004 – Enriching a child’s life with music is only one benefit of the Kindermusik program offered by the Community Music Center at Union University, according to Kim Graves, Kindermusik instructor.
Kindermusik focuses on the development of the whole child through music and movement classes for children from birth to age 7 and their parents or caregivers. The fall semester begins Aug. 16. The 15-week program consists of 45-minute weekly sessions for newborns up to age 4. For older children, ages 5-7, class sessions are an hour long.
Using music as a tool, children build the foundations of structured learning by watching, listening and carrying out instruction with the help of a caregiver or parent. Other non-musical benefits are language development, motor skills and group participation.
"Those are invaluable skills to develop in a young child,” said Graves. “Even if you were not interested in the musical qualities, those skills are worth taking the class.”
The program also introduces children to basic music skills such as rhythm and tonality, which is the ability to match pitch. According to Graves, studies show that if basic music skills are developed by age 2, they remain lifelong skills. She equates it to learning to ride a bike.
“I may not have ridden a bike in six years,” Graves said, “but if I got on one today, I could still ride. Same goes for musical abilities that are introduced at a young age."
Opportunities for bonding between the caregiver and child are also a unique part of Kindermusik.
"A lot of parents tell me – especially with their second or third child – the time they spend in Kindermusik is priceless because of the quality,” she said. "The child is not competing with other siblings for the parent or caregiver’s attention.”
Neither musical abilities on the part of the caregiver nor a desire for the child to progress to musical performance are required for Kindermusik.
"Music becomes a part of everyone’s life whether they participate or just listen,” Graves said. "It’s a part of social activity and culture. We want to foster an appreciation and awareness for all types of music.”
The Community Music Center has been partially funded by a grant from Target for the past two years. The Target grant enables the purchase of instruments for Kindermusik. If the grant is renewed this year, Graves plans to buy hand puppets to be used by the children for speech development and interaction.
Group or private lessons in piano or string are also available for ages 6 through adult. For more information about Kindermusik or other programs, call the Community Music Center (731) 661-5234.
Due to worsening weather conditions, the Jackson campus will close at 3:30 p.m. today.
Evening classes at Germantown are canceled for tonight.