After the dismal failure of sending Gavin to Kindermusik when he was around about 19 months, I had some reservations about trying Musikgarten which apparently has a similar origin to Kindermusik (it was started by the same person who introduced Kindermusik in the US). I finally decided to give it a go since Gareth is so keen to attend classes. He loved going to TweedleWink (he would run to his classroom when I put him down at the center) and when we’re in Midvalley, he would run towards the lift that we take to get to his Heguru class. When I took him to check out a few preschools, he happily joined in the group and started playing blocks alongside the other children. With such a contrasting difference in his reception to classes compared to his brother at the same age, I figured it was worth a try especially since Gareth loves music.
So we took a trial class yesterday at the Bentley Music Academy and it did not go quite as I expected. Gareth reacted similarly to Gavin in his response to Kindermusik but with muted severity. He didn’t want to participate (preferring to climb the chairs and bang on the keyboards instead) and he kept wanting to nurse (which made me wonder if he was tired but when we got out of the classroom, he was happily running up and down the corridor pointing to the numbers beside the doors and counting them). Even the offer of props (new toys) did little to attract his participation. He didn’t cry or insist on being let out of the room like Gavin did, but he did not appear to enjoy himself.
For a child who generally takes things in stride, this is unusual behaviour. I do not attribute it to the class because he has been going through a new phase of development – the most obvious one being the terrible twos – because he has been more clingy than usual, always wanting to nurse, flying into tantrums whenever he is denied anything, and generally becoming more willful where previously he has been quite cooperative. With this fresh perspective, it has occurred to me that when I first introduced Gavin to the world of classes, I couldn’t have picked a worse time in his development to start something new. Even Gareth with his generally sunny disposition towards classes is thrown by the introduction of a class in a subject he enjoys, what more my sensitive Gavin who takes the world around him so seriously?
I guess, for the time being, there will be no new classes for Gareth. Since he generally enjoys music, the last thing I want to do is turn him off music by traumatising him with classes he doesn’t want. That said, I hope you do not take this as disparaging of Musikgarten in any way. I do think the negative reaction to the class has more to do with wrong timing than anything inherently to do with the class. Now that I have Gareth as a comparison, I am sure of it.
There are 5 parts to the Musikgarten program, each building upon the foundation of the classes before:
- Family Music for Babies (Newborn to 18 months) – parents learn to play musically with their children.
- Family Music for Toddlers (16 months to 3½ years) – parents encourage budding musical development in their children.
- Preschoolers : Cycle of Seasons for Preschoolers (ages 3 to 5) – children develop self-expression.
- Ages 4-7 : Music Makers (from age 4) – children learn to make music in the world they live in and around the world.
- Group Keyboard : Music Makers: At the Keyboard (from age 5) – children learn to play the keyboard.
The first two parts require parents to be present with their children.