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  Why Musikgarten


Photo by Eileen Molony
Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I pursue early childhood music education for my child?
Music awakens and stimulates neural pathways in the brain that are associated with higher forms of intelligence, such as abstract thinking, empathy, mathematics and science. Music's melodic and rhythmic patterns provide exercise for the brain and help develop memory. Remember singing the ABC song to learn your ABC's? Studying music helps children establish good listening habits, which are essential for achievement in school. Overall, music activities are perfect for child development. Music immerses the child in language, evokes movement, stimulates the brain and fosters physical coordination - all in a group setting that builds community - a holistic experience.

What does it mean when you say Musikgarten has a 9 year developmental plan for my child?
Only Musikgarten has a program that addresses the unique developmental needs of children at each age. Each of the classes are interrelated, as they were written for children to grow-up with Musikgarten. This sequential planning also makes it easier for the students to grow in their musical competence and graduate to instrument playing.

Should Parents attend and participate in the classes?
Parents are an integral part of class in the younger years. As students get older they participate by themselves, but parents take part in the classes towards the end of each lesson. For all classes, parents are asked to include active music making in their child’s life. Sing along with the CD. Play echo games, making up patterns, as we do in class. Put the picture cards or notation games on your refrigerator and play identification games with them as you get ready for dinner. More structured practice is required when the children get to Music Makers: At the Keyboard.

Does Musikgarten today better prepare students for piano lessons?
Musikgarten classes develop students aural senses more than other pre-piano methods. The Music Makers: At the Keyboard classes are taught in a small group session, so that children learn from each other and grow in their comfort of playing with and in front of one another.

When is the right time to pursue piano lessons?
Many people believe that children are ready to start piano lesson when they start elementary school.  Still others believe lessons should start earlier.  However, research indicates that the best time to start lessons is after a solid musical foundation is in place.  Being in Musikgarten classes will help establish that foundation and secure your child's musical future.  If it is your hope that your child will some day take piano lessons, or join the school band or chorus, staying involved in Musikgarten classes is the right thing to do.  

What is unique about Musikgarten's approach to piano lessions?
Piano is a wonderful foundation for the musical education you value for your child.  The Musikgarten philosophy is reflected in our goals: To awaken and nurture the musician inside of your child (and you!), to develop a positive relationship between your family and music, to lead every child to become musically literate.  This philosophy is also evident in the structure of our curriculum.  We value the advantages of group teaching only the beginning of which is more time and experience with concepts.  Peer interaction encourages students to teach each other as they learn how to teach themselves.  A “master class” style helps children learn how to articulate direct, positive, and thoughtful criticism, and more motivation to continue as part of “the band”.  

Musikgarten’s sequential and comprehensive approach to piano instruction includes: 
  • Singing to increase repertoire and form positive associations with repertoire through games and group song. 
  • Listening to important beginning piano repertoire by major composers in a variety of styles.
  • Moving in complex dances with accuracy.  This leads toward an innate understanding of rhythm, phrasing, and form.
  • Echoing, reading, and composing with tonal and rhythmic patterns in duple, triple, major and minor in a variety of keys.
  • Learning songs at the piano through familiarity with these patterns, and transposing the songs into a variety of keys.  Previous musical experiences with this repertoire results in more expressive and accurate playing.
  • Continuing to develop more complex and challenging ensembles which develop listening and coordination.   Many piano students lack the opportunity to practice playing with other musicians
  • Improvisation within different keys, meter, and styles.
  • Music history and theory.
  • These are exciting and challenging musical goals and to develop them we need your time and patience.  Please contact us with any questions regarding the curriculum.  We hope your child will join us on this exciting next step on the pathway to music literacy and musicianship!
Why do the students get Home Materials? Are we supposed to practice at home?
Children and parents can have so much fun at home and in the car with Musikgarten songs and dances. In class you learn the songs, but at home is where you really have fun with the songs and dances. It's a great family bonding time. Try it and you won't have to ask this question ever again!

What if I can't make it one week due to a vacation or other conflict?
 There will be no reduction in fees for missed classes.  Please note: due to the full programming during the Fall & Winter session, we are not always able to accommodate make up classes for the Family Music Toddler classes. (If space permits, exceptions may be made the first week of the session when materials are being handed out. We sometimes offer a special make-up day at the end of the session.)  This policy is in place to maintain the highest quality of classes.  Exceptions can be made for medical/emergency situations or other extenuating circumstances.  Please contact Katy Lineberry at:  musikgartenoakpark@gmail.com   Families in the Baby Class,  Cycle of Seasons & Music Makers at Home and Music Makers Around the World & Keyboard  class are allowed two make ups per session.   

How do you determine your tuition price?   
Musikgarten involves the whole family in a rewarding and life-enhancing musical education.  The benefits of this education are priceless. The rewards you reap will last forever.  The parent or caregiver is participating fully in the class. Indeed, we often think the parent, grandparent or caregivers are the most important students in the class.  When you consider the actual cost of the class, you are getting a two-for-one deal.  And, when possible, we do allow both parents to attend the class. The teachers meet with you once a week.  But parents are with their children day in and day out.  By particpating as enthusiastic students in the class, the parents are equipped with the repetoire, skills, and know-how to integrate musical activities into the daily life of their children.  At the Keyboard level the parents are invited to particpate in the entire class at no extra cost.  Many parents are receiving a first rate piano education alongside their child. Private piano lessons in the Oak Park River Forest area range in fees from $25 - $45 for a half hour lesson.  Our small group classes have 3 - 6 students.  The lesson lasts 60 - 70 minutes.  The cost per class = $26  If you break down the per minute cost of the keyboard class and the Family Music toddler class, you will see that the rates are proportinal. The cost also includes the recital/gala event at the end of the year. 

What is your refund policy?
The registration fee is not refundable. A student who withdraws before the start of the session is entitled to a refund of the total fees minus the registration fee.  A student who withdraws before the fourth week of class is entitled to a 50% refund of tuition only.  There will be no reduction in fees for missed classes.  

Do you have a class that would allow me to bring several of my children of different ages to at the same time?
You are able to attend any Family Music class. Unless a sibling is 6 and over, they need to be signed up for the class. Cycle of Seasons classes involve very specific listening and focusing activities that may be more difficult for children younger than Cycles age (3-5). Therefore, we don't encourage younger siblings to come to Cycle of Seasons classes, except for those classes specifically designated as "mixed age" classes in the schedule.

As my child gets older there seem to be more and more activities for him/her to do? Why should I continue with music and movement training? 
After being in the program for a while, you can see the benefits your child is getting from class. It is our view that the singing, dancing , storytelling and playing (in class and at home) is the best for your child's wholistic development: language, movement, math skills, and physical coordination - all in a group setting that builds community.  Musikgarten keeps the whole family together; you pursue a wondrous musical journey that spans the first half of your child's life.  When techngology and cultural pressures are driving wedges between children and their parents, musikgarten keeps you tightly knit in nurturing, joyful, educationally rich ways.  

Benefits of Music & Movement

Today we know more about how children learn and grow than ever before. Today we have data to confirm our hunch that "Music is vital to life." Read what experts in their fields think about the benefits of music and movement:

"Music brings people together. Through music, children take an inner experience and move it into a shared creative experience. Group music-making releases energy which can be channeled in creative, productive directions. Children learn about themselves and others by playing music together and by listening to each other - tapping into hidden courage that can be played out by singing together or discovering the inner resources to listen quietly to another child's playing."
- Judi Bosco
Board Certified Music Therapist

"Resiliency - to bounce back after a disturbing event - is not something we are born with; it must be learned and sometimes that takes many years. There is no vehicle more joyful and playful for providing such training than early childhood music and movement."
- Dee Joy Coulter, Ed.D.
Neuroscience Educator

"A rich voice opens the ear and gives energy to the nervous system. Not only does it help children process and memorize the message, but it also increases their desire to listen more, learn more, and know more. A good voice fills the cognitive and emotional brain."
- Paul Madaule
The Listening Centre
Founder and Director

"Speech and music have a number of shared processing systems. Musical experiences which enhance processing can therefore impact on the perception of language which in turn impacts on learning to read."
- Susan Hallam
Institute of Education
University of London

Noted author and neuroscience educator Jane Healy speaks about children whose parents have chosen more "academic" pursuits for their children:

"Studies show that 4, 5, and 6-year-olds in heavily "academic" classes tend to become less creative and more anxious - without gaining significant advantages over their peers."
- Jane M. Healy
Your Child's Growing Mind

And, if everything else were not convincing enough...

A 2007 poll found that 88% of all post-graduate students in college and 83% of all people earning $150,000 or more had extensive music training.
- Poll, November 14, 2007
Reuters, Ltd.


Why Music and Movement are Vital for Children

Peanut butter and jelly, socks and shoes, bats and balls, hide and seek, music and children — are all elements of childhood. Children are naturally interested in music, and music is naturally good for children. Why is music so attractive to children and why is music so well suited to children?


Music is a language, and children are oriented toward learning 



Music evokes movement, and children delight in and require 

movement for their development and growth.         


Music engages the brain while stimulating neural pathways 

associated with such higher forms of intelligence as abstract 

thinking, empathy, and mathematics.         


Music's melodic and rhythmic patterns provide exercise for the 

brain and help develop memory. Who among us learned the ABC's 

without the ABC song?


Music is an aural art and young children are aural learners. Since 

ears are fully mature before birth, infants begin learning from the 

sounds of their environment before birth.

Music is perfectly designed for training children's listening skills. 

Good listening skills and school achievement go hand in hand.         


Developmentally appropriate music activities involve the whole 

child-the child's desire for language, the body's urge to move, the 

brain's attention to patterns, the ear's lead in initiating 

communication, the voice's response to sounds, as well as the eye-

hand coordination associated with playing musical instruments.


Music is a creative experience which involves expression of feelings. 

Children often do not have the words to express themselves and 

need positive ways to release their emotions.


Music transmits culture and is an avenue by which beloved songs, 

rhymes, and dances can be passed down from one generation to 



Music is a social activity which involves family and community

participation. Children love to sing and dance at home, school, and 

at church.

As published in Early Childhood Connections.