Music school for infants? Yes! It’s good for their brains! Almost all brain development happens before the age of five. That’s why the Music Together program in Flagstaff encourages parents to show their babies and toddlers how to make joyful, noisy music—even before they’re ready to talk. The program helps every kid in a different way. For KNAU’s latest installment of Eats and Beats, stories about food and music, we hear the teacher and parents share their stories.
Click on the audio link above to hear the music.
My name is Rhea Stevenson and I’m the director of Music Together, Flagstaff. A typical class, parents come in, and they sit in a circle, and we start with a hello song, where every child’s name is sung. We believe it’s their birthright just as much as breathing, walking, talking, that music should be a part of their life.
I’m Kimberly Trotta-Holmes, I’m the mom of Okean Holmes and Isabella Homes, who have both been through program since they were infants. The kids are learning drumbeats from Africa, and fun little songs from Louisiana, it’s cool like that. Some of them seem hokey and funny at first, but then you hear the song, and you hear the cadence and rhythms, and you realize this is part of our culture. And now my son has a bit of a speech delay, and we’re finding he’s finding his words through music. At home and in the car he’s singing “you get a line I get a pole honey.” It’s adorable. I’m mean how can you not enjoy when your kids burst into song spontaneously?
Hello, good morning, my name is Agnes. I am French and we just moved to Flagstaff. This is Evan. I think the kids love when we take all the music instrument and we get a chance to explore the sound of each one of them. The more noise the better, the louder the better. At that point we probably were not following the music very well, but he was definitely having a big smile on his face and having a wonderful time. Even daddy’s coming now.
My name is Emily Bannon, this is my son Max, he’s four. This is such a good opportunity for him to socialize with other kids, because he actually had a heart transplant when he was five days old—yeah, as a result, he’s on a bunch of medication. He doesn’t always get to go out and do a lot of stuff with other kids, so this was a great way for him to socialize with other kids, and play, and just have a really good time. He really, really loves all the music. One of the songs we do at the end, one of the lullaby songs, there have been times when he’s been in the hospital for tests and stuff like that, and they’ll help calm him down. It’s been really comforting for him when he has to go through some of the medical stuff he does.
My name is Allie Cole. Our little guy, our son, he was two and a half-ish and very quiet, really didn’t say much. I was hoping he would respond to the classes and he totally did, because we found out, or he found out, singing is way more fun than talking. And now it’s funny he loves music so much, so now we do musical theater. The last production, he walked up to the director, and said, “My name is Bennett, I want to be in your show, I want to be a fish, a bubble or a rock.” And he did awesome! So music and especially Music Together just opened it up for him, which I’m so grateful. So grateful.