Megan has loved music ever since she was little and her mom and dad took her to family music classes! Her mother swears she is responsible for all musical talent because of singing to and playing music for Megan while she was in the womb. Growing up, life was full of fun as Megan sang and danced with her sisters, learned piano and guitar, discovered a love for theater, wrote poems and stories, and was active in the youth praise band at church. These rich experiences shaped her life and gave her confidence and courage to pursue a variety of passions! After two years at New York University studying journalism, Megan transferred to Northern Kentucky University. She graduated in 2009 with three Bachelor’s Degrees in Theater, English (Creative Writing Emphasis), and Spanish. From being a summer church camp counselor to a long-term substitute teacher, Megan has had a lot of different work experiences but they have all revolved around teaching and kids.
Megan has taught private music lessons and group drama classes at Bowman Music and Creative Outlet since 2009, and loved serving as middle school youth director at Hebron Lutheran Church from 2010-2014. Megan married her hunky husband Matthew Moss in September 2014 and they are having a blast being married and building their life! Megan loves teaching Musikgarten classes because it is a joy to partner with parents in helping their children discover their inherent musicality and build life-long memories.
Megan teaches a variety of classes throughout the week, but mainly focuses on toddlers and preschoolers.
What is your earliest memory? I remember watching my parents leave the house for a date, and being mad that I was left with a babysitter. I also remember the goldenrod yellow carpet of our first house, coming home to find my aunt had left a lollipop on our coffee table for me, and getting stung by a wasp. All of these events happened before I was four. Other than these vignettes, I can’t get too specific about my early childhood! Most of us don’t remember much, if anything, before the age of four. Feelings, however, last much longer than specific memories.
Imagine this: the first 3 years of your child’s life, you take your child to music class once a week. You focus your attention completely on her during this time. The phone, computer, TV, chores and cooking is all put aside for this precious half hour. During class you dance to great classical music, rock to soothing lullabies, jump enthusiastically like rabbits and cuddle while doing intimate finger plays.
When your child is 30, she will not remember music class. Sad, but true. The feelings she associates with class, however will persist. She may hear, “A Little Night Music” and smile without knowing why. The connection between loving mom and music will become blurred as she gets older, so a natural love for classical, traditional music will develop. Safe, warm feelings will be identified with music which will be identified with mom and family. It’s a beautiful thing!
Over the next few months, I will be explaining each of our individual classes in more detail. This is the third installment.
A preschooler’s imagination has taken off, and they are innately attuned to the world around them. Our preschool curriculum, “Cycle of Seasons” nurtures that developing creativity and independence. As its name suggests, the program cycles through the seasons of the year with songs and activities that explore dandelions, clouds, trees, birds, bugs, fish and so much more!
In the preschool curriculum, we allow children the opportunity to express their creativity through story-telling, musical stories they tell with their bodies, and by allowing them to help guide the class activities. Children experience more freedom from mom and begin to play very simple ensemble pieces.
One of the foundational parts of the “Cycle of Seasons” curriculum is the focused listening time. Children learn to listen to the subtle differences of sounds from nature, preparing their ears for further musical study. They also begin giving names to the different melodic and rhythm patterns we have been practicing since they were babies!
We are excited to be adding a Family Spotlight to our monthly eNewsletter. May’s spotlight is on the Southwick Family…
Jim and Julie have been married for 15 years and have three girls: Kaitlyn (10), Erin (4) and Audrey (2). They moved to Kentucky in 2010 just before Erin was born. Both Jim and Julie have worked in technology, though Julie now stays home with the girls. She grew up taking music lessons and she and Jim wanted to give their girls the opportunity to learn through music as well.
The Southwick family decided to try a Musikgarten class because they were looking for a class that would expose Erin and Audrey to music in a fun and positive environment. Musikgarten has exceeded their expectations in many ways! Each week has enough repetition to be familiar to the kids, yet there is plenty of new material to keep things interesting. Even when one of the girls isn’t in the mood to listen, Miss Elizabeth stays positive and tries to include her in the group.
Taking music classes has had a positive impact on their children -Julie said, “the girls have always looked forward to music class day! Participation is encouraged, but not pushed. I have noticed the girls’ participation increase every semester! They sing the songs in the car long after the semester is over and love to put on shows with the instruments we have acquired. I believe Muskgarten has instilled a love for music that will last a lifetime!”
What would you say to another family considering trying a class? “We have referred several friends to this program and not one has been disappointed! Try it! You will love the program!” (Julie and Jim Southwick)
Toddlers are such an adventure, aren’t they? Many parents are afraid to sign up for a formal class with their little ones because they worry their munchkin will either act very shy and reserved and not participate, or run around the room and not pay attention to anything! Please don’t let your fears for your child keep them from giving you the gift of music! Our curriculum is aurally based – if your child is in the room, she is receiving musical benefits.
Children listen and participate differently than adults. Children running around the room or hiding in a parent’s lap are still acutely aware of what is going on around them. Many parents are surprised to see the child who appears to be in their own little world during class go home and repeat music class activities with a circle of stuffed animals! So don’t worry! And please don’t feel like your two-year-old has to “sit down and listen” in order to benefit from our classes.
In fact, our music classes will help your “wild child” learn about the structure of a class, routines, sharing, taking turns and many other skills. Future kindergarten teachers will thank you. You will be so surprised one day when your shy child steps out of her shell to play a pattern on the drum or offer up a movement suggestion for the first time. Children love our classes because we meet them where they are and help them grow in a no-pressure, fun atmosphere. It may take a few weeks, but your child will settle in and have a blast!
Over the next few months, I will be explaining each of our individual classes in more detail. This is the second installment.
Musikgarten has a nine year plan for your child. When children start our toddler class, at around 18 months, most have a few words, very little impulse control, and LOVE to wander around and explore our room. By the time children finish the two years of toddler classes, music is just another part of their language. They sing, dance and chant very naturally. They are used to the routine of class and are well prepared for preschool. Most importantly, their ears and brains have been trained to think musically. This will affect the way they respond to music for the rest of their lives.
We have four unique semesters of toddler curriculum which help your child develop their musical voice at the exact same time their speaking voice is developing. Over these two years, children develop their sense of inner rhythm and beat at the same time their bodies are learning to move in coordinated ways. They learn to sing at the same time they learn to speak. In short, they are learning musical skills at the exact time in their development when they come the most naturally.
Once children have musical skills, they never lose them!
Don’t wait! Now is the perfect time to start your child in music!
I was recently at an early childhood development seminar, and learned a little bit more about the human brain. Did you know that when most animals are born, their brains are 95% developed? When a human baby is born, however, his brain is only 30% developed. Here’s the most amazing part, though! By the time a child is 3 years old, his/her brain is 80% developed. No wonder they tell us the first three years are the most important!
What types of connections are you helping your child make in those first three years? Much of the way children will relate to the world as adults is formed in this critical time. Being surrounded by love and security now will help them feel loved and secure their entire lives. Surrounding them with music now will help them develop musical skills they will keep for life! Elizabeth
Until a few years ago our church had a gentleman named Frank who would occasionally play the saxophone for our worship service. He was a very talented musician — he used to play professional jazz — In the 1950’s. When he was playing in our church he was more than 90 years old!
Frank probably started studying music in the 1920’s, maybe the 30’s. He had been playing music through the great depression, through WWII, through the cultural revolution, the technological revolution etc. etc.
When you think about your children as adults, do you wonder what you can give them now that they will keep for a lifetime? While there is a lot of value in sports teams, dance classes, and gymnastics, by their very nature they are limited. If you are lucky, they will still be playing in 10 years. If you are really lucky they will play in college. But music is a gift we can give our children which they can enjoy for life. My daughter will teach my grandchildren the songs I am teaching her today. Long after I’m gone, my children will be able to sit at the piano and enjoy a song that is special to our family today. In fact, there are many stories of alzheimer’s patients who can’t remember their children’s names, but are able to sing along to a hymn they grew up with, or are able to perfectly play a piano piece they practiced as a child.
When you put your children in music classes, they are not only benefiting today, but you are giving them a gift which they will keep their entire lives, and, in fact, will pass on to their children and grandchildren! Take advantage of this time to create a legacy of musicians!
One of my favorite parts of the Musikgarten curriculum is its sequential nature. Musikgarten has an eight year plan for your child, starting at birth, which can help them develop into musically minded people at a very young age. Because the curriculum is so stable, activities are repeated year to year, with new musical elements added on as children mature.
In the next few newsletters, I will explore the highlights of each of our different classes for you. But for today, I wanted you to have a general overview. Many parents don’t realize that you can go for a full eight years without repeating any particular class, and that everything we are doing culminates in a piano class once children reach grade school.
1. Music for Babies (0-1 year and walking well)
2. Music for Toddlers (1-2 years) 3. Music for Preschoolers (3-4 years) 4. Pre-Piano (Kindergarten or 1st Grade)
5. Music Makers at the Keyboard (1st-3rd grade)
These classes aren’t even including the special summer programs we run! Currently, at Little Songbird Music Studio in Florence we offer every level of class. Children can join anytime. It’s never too early! Children learn music the same way they learn language, so early education is critical! We really hope you will stick with the program. The cumulative effect is priceless!
If you would like even more information, or to get to the nitty gritty of the pedagogical process, please visit Musikgarten’s website!