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Our family loves music in lots of different styles. The older boys are more likely to just listen to the piece while the younger boys still want to engage in singing along. Or, in the case of my preschooler, he loves to move with the music. I enjoy playing the piano and singing as well as testing my hand at lyric writing for educational purposes.
Given all this love of music, you would think we spend a lot of time on music studies in our homeschool.
Sadly, that isn’t the case.
I feel bad about it and vow to do better each year. Yet, between the breadth of grade levels in the house and the finite number of hours in each day, music is one of those subjects that gets set aside for ‘later’ when we ‘have time.’
When I saw Music Together on the upcoming vendor list for the Schoolhouse Crew, I knew that I NEEDED to review this product as it would force me to make the time for music exploration with the younger boys.
Music Together is an early childhood program (through grade 2) found around the world. The classes take the approach that ALL children are musical and emphasize the musical experience rather than actual music concepts. Parents or caregivers play a vital role as they actively participate in making music. (Ask any parent and they’ll admit that youngsters are more likely to catch what they see than what you say!)
The CD has 19 of their ‘top’ songs from multiple collections in the Music Together program. The CD case houses a small booklet that is chock full of suggestions to incorporate music into your day.
The Family Favorite’s Songbook for Teachers is a wonderful spiral bound book that begins with a fantastic introduction to the Music Together philosophy, teaching principles, types of songs and activities, working with the different props, and working with children that have special needs. I was blown away with the wealth of information contained in those pages and found myself both nodding in agreement on some points and wanting to go back and re-read others. It might just be that the musician in me needed to really dig deep on what was said rather than giving it a cursory glance.
Each song on the CD has several pages dedicated to it containing:
- Activities that work with the particular song
- What instruments you’ll hear in the recording (which is great for getting the kids to identify different instruments by sound)
- Song lyrics with music (which is sometimes just a beat pattern and other times a full piano score)
- Tips for working with the different ages and those children with special needs
Below you can see the first 2 pages of one of my favorite songs (as it is so catchy and makes you want to dance!), Palo, Palo:
I was so hoping to say that we have spent endless days utilizing this program. The reality is that a ton of power outages and a week of a nasty stomach bug working its way through the house this September hampered our hands on musical exploration. By that, I mean that we have had more limited use of the suggestions found in the Family Favorites Songbook for Teachers. (I was envisioning doing this as a break from schoolwork on a daily basis and it averaged out to about once or twice a week.)
The Playin’ in the Kitchen song was a fun and easy one to do as kitchen bands are easy to pull together on an impromptu music session. I just didn’t make sure to grab only the older wooden spoons before we started. (Sadly, J broke the brand new bamboo slotted spoon which had his dad a little bit upset.)
However, J absolutely LOVES the CD and asks to listen to it and dance along. His big brothers, who I hoped would embrace the program and help me foster J’s love of music, have been less enthusiastic about the repeated listening of the CD. Now I try to have him listen just at home rather than bringing it in the car every time we go somewhere.
More importantly, he is still eager to make music with mom (or a willing big brother) and we will most definitely be doing more with this program throughout this school year.
The Music Together Family Favorites CD and Songbook Combo is available for a special price of $39.95 (a $5 discount). If you use the coupon code “Schoolhouse” at checkout on the Music Together online store, you can save an additional $2 on your purchase!
Disclaimer ~ We were provided with the materials mentioned in this review to facilitate a review as a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. No monetary compensation occurred and all opinions are my own. You can see what other Crewmates had to say about this product and others by visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew website.