Musikgarten Musikgarten
Immanuel Valpo Musikgarten    
1700 Monticello Park    
Valparaiso, IN 46383    

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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 is mean when you say Musikgarten has a nine year developmental plan for my child?

Only Musikgarten has a program that addresses the unique developmental needs of children at each age up to age nine! 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.

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!

Which class should I choose for my child?

There will naturally be some overlap as young children move rapidly into new ages and stages over the course of the year.   If you are not sure which class would be the best fit, just speak to the teacher about visiting each class until you find the one that is right for your child. The following observations serve as general guidelines as you consider where your child would be most comfortable:

Mommy & Me: Babies is geared toward non-mobile or very newly mobile babies (6--18 months).  The activities are highly repetitive and the pace is slow and laid-back. Parents are introduced to many lullabies and rocking songs. Families bring their own instrument kits to class because we expect babies to put everthing in their mouths!
Mommy & Me: Toddlers (18 mon--3 years) is quite a bit more active by comparison. Children in this class usually aren't content to sit still for long, and we frequently switch gears between stationary activities and active movement. We begin to explore a greater range of classroom instruments and manipulatives.  Taking short attention spans into account, a half-hour class will typically feature more than a dozen separate separate activities! We begin and end each class in circle time.

The children in Mommy & Me: Big Kids (3--4 years) are becoming more independent.  Some of the activities will be performed without the assistance of the caregiver, though caregivers are still required to be present.  There is a new emphasis on focused attention, imagination, story telling, the rhythm of poetry, guided creative movement, self-expression, and purposeful movement transferred to instruments.  This class period is also longer (40-45 minutes.)
Immanuel Preschool students (ages 4-5) may enroll in an optional extended day music program.  Classes are conducted by a licensed/certified Musikgarten teacher and teacher aide; parents and other caregivers are not present.  Classes meet weekly when school is in session (October--April).  
Music Makers: At Home in the World (ages 5-6) 
Music Makers: Around the World (ages 6-7)  

At this stage, students are systematically introduced to the families of orchestral instruments (brass, percussion, woodwinds, and strings) and different styles of music (Great Britain, Germany, the Amerindians, and the African-American heritage.)  Also at this stage of development, the concept of musical notation is introduced (the association of visual graphics with the aural patterns they have come to recognize in previous classes). There is a new emphasis on ensemble development  (two-sections of instruments, duets, beginning rounds, borduns, ostinati, etc.)   Children receive their own notebook album for their compositions, flash cards, dictation activities, and instrument pages.

Music Makers: At the Keyboard. (Ages 6--9).  Group piano lessons.

Do you have a class that would allow me to bring several of my children of different ages to at the same time?

Babies (12 months and under) may accompany a big brother or sister to any class for children between the ages of 0-5 free of charge. Families registering more than one child may request a 10% sibling discount off the combined tuitions.

Why do parents attend and participate in the classes?

Parents are an integral part of class in the younger years.  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. As students get older they participate by themselves, but parents take part in the classes towards the end of each lesson.  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 (ages 6 and above).

My child is in preschool. Can he or she attend Musikgarten classes at school?

Yes.  Immanuel Lutheran Preschool is a licensed Musikgarten school taught by a licensed/certified Musikgarten teacher. The preschool program, "Music Keys," is uniquely designed for preschool aged children (4-5 years) without parents present. Families may choose to enroll their children in the weekly classes for a very modest additional fee.  The classes extend the preschool day by 30 minutes once a week.

Although the classes take place without parents present, it is crucial that parents get involved at home by listening to the two musical CDs and engaging in the family activites in the accompanying activity book. Families will also receive regular messages with information about our class activities and their child's musical development.

Does Musikgarten today better prepare students for piano lessons?

Yes, in most cases. Musikgarten classes develop students' aural senses more than other pre-piano methods. The Music Makers: At the Keyboard classes are taught in a group session, so that children learn from each other and grow in their comfort of playing with and in front of one another.

When should my child begin formal instrument lessons?

Musikgarten classes build a strong musical foundation in the most developmentally appropriate way. Young children are interested in singing, playing, dancing, moving, and experimenting with instruments--rather than being still and practicing for 30 minutes a day.  The skills and emerging literacy that students develop in Musikgarten usually propel them far ahead when they do begin to study an instrument around the recommended age of six or seven.

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 and playing (in class and at home) is the best for your child's holistic development: language, movement, math skills, and physical coordination - all in a group setting that builds community within the church and bridges to new friends outside of Immanuel. While other activities can be fun too, you will not regret making Musikgarten the primary building block of your child's early childhood development.