Indie Ogden Spotlight: Wasatch Music Together

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First tell our readers a bit about YOU
When I was growing up I was the oldest kid on the block. I’d get all the neighbor kids together and organize stuff for them to do. One day we’d put on a play, a lot of times we’d just play make-believe, but I was always the organizer of the fun stuff. I’m still doing that today! Nothing brings me more happiness than immersing myself in the world of play. It’s the work of children, it’s developmentally necessary for them, and it’s so often overlooked. Also, it’s kind of meditative… it’s my way to “be here now”.

I enjoyed playing with kids so much that I got my BA in Child Developmen and went on to get my MS in Library Science so I could be a children’s librarian. I do a killer story time! Between getting my BA and my MS, I was living in San Francisco as a nanny… that’s when I got introduced to Music Together. The minute class started I knew it was something I wanted to do. That was 2005 (I think)… I held onto that dream for about 8 years before getting certified and opening Wasatch Music Together in 2013.

What is Music Together?
Music Together is a class for babies to children five years old where we sing and play in ways that give young children a foundation in tone and rhythm. Research shows that this foundation, called Basic Music Competency, helps school aged children move on to formal music learning, and depending on the child it can take about 3 years to establish the foundation.

A lot of families come to Music Together just to try something new as a family. It’s great for bonding with your child or grandchild. It’s also a safe environment for children to learn to share, socialize, work on motor skills and speaking skills. The developmental skills kids gain from being part of class are off the charts!

Music is so great for child development, what kinds of activities do you do in class to encourage that growth?
Great question! We wiggle a lot, which may sound like nothing but we use our wiggles to work on gross and fine motor development by wiggling something as small as our fingers or as large as our whole bodies. And of course, we’re wiggling to the rhythm of the song using the macro beat, micro beat, elongations and diminutions of the beat… there’s a LOT of learning (and planning) that goes into our play! Depending on the class, we might also focus on social skills by playing a pass-the-instrument game. Last semester sharing was HARD for one of my classes, so I developed a few activities to help us get more practice. As kids become more verbal in class, their interests and ideas become part of what we do in class… for example last night we were singing a song about an oak tree and I asked the kids what they wanted to put in the tree… we ended up with snakes, monkeys, and blue whales in our tree!

What are the age groups?
Music Together is a mixed-age class, so at any time you’ll find a mix of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. It’s healthy for children to be in a mixed-age classroom… it allows for peer-to-peer learning, so it’s the only type of class I offer.

What can kids and parents expect in a class?
During class I model for the caregiver and they model for the kids. The sole expectation I have is that caregivers participate and continue to model to their kids. As long as the kids are behaving in safe ways and not distracting the learning environment, they get free reign of the classroom. Music Together is not the kind of class where kids are expected to sit in the circle and “behave”… their job is to play, and I honor that. Even when they are running in circles around us adults, they are still having an important musical experience. They can still see what we’re doing, hear what we’re singing, and feel the rhythm through the floor (and often their running matches the beat of the song)!

Being in a Music Together class is fascinating, because you’ll have a kid who has been running around the room for 10 minutes stop what s/he is doing and perfectly match the rhythm or movement we’re doing (or sometimes one we did much earlier in class)! I love those moments because it re-affirms to the parents that their children are absorbing EVERYTHING, even when it looks like they’re off in their own world!

Bottom line: Music Together is a permission slip to let your kids be kids and join in on the fun of it!

Anything else you’d like to add?
Last year Danielle Smith reviewed my class for your blog (and liked it so much she ended up joining)! You should check out her review, which does a great job of letting caregivers know what to expect from class. Also, you can always try your first class FREE, so what are you waiting for? Bring a friend or two with you!

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Mikaela is a transplant from Portland, fell in love with Ogden her first day in town and created Indie Ogden the next week. She enjoys outdoor adventures with her husband, 2 kiddos and fur baby and making a mess crafting. You can find her at a local cafe or cycling around town with her family.