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<p>I've been taking DS to Music Together (MT) since he was 8 months old. He'll be three years old on Jan 9th. He's pretty shy, but warms up to certain people (there have been a couple phenomenal MT teachers he loved!) pretty quickly. If asked a direct question by the teacher in class, he'll turn away. (With that said, he loves the teacher right now and talks with her before class.) In class, he won't participate in most exercises, like dancing around the room (he wants to be carried), or playing music with the instruments (he just recently started going into the center and grabbing instruments when they are laid out). If there are rambunctious kids running around, he'll do the same thing they are but he doesn't really play with them, just imitates them. And lately he's been making up reasons to leave class while it's in session. Last week his excuse was that he needed to go potty, though when my dh took him to the bathroom, he didn't need to go. And this morning the excuse was something unintelligible (my dh couldn't make it out while ds was running to the door), and then when they got out the door, ds just wanted to walk around and then ran back to the MT room. On their way home from class, dh asked ds whether he had fun in class, and the answer was NO. And when they arrived home and I saw ds, I asked him the same thing and he said NO again.</p>
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<p>On the mornings of class, ds seems to not care whether he goes. He doesn't NOT want to go, but he doesn't seem all that excited about it either. It's just something he does.</p>
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<p>Musically, he seems to be picking stuff up. He sings songs from class and makes up his own words sometimes. He plays his drum and invents musical instruments when he's at home. He also seems to know which songs he like and which he doesn't. I appreciate the classes we have attended and find that we've gotten something out of them. But now I'm not sure if we should continue with Music Together.</p>
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<p>This MT session is coming to a close and I am wondering if we should enroll next session. Any thoughts? Is this apathy a phase? How can I figure out whether he really wants to go to class or even likes it? (And we will ask him, but I don't trust his answer at this point; he's at that stage where he says he wants something and then when it's put in front of him -- like this morning it was freshly juiced carrot juice -- he'll say he doesn't like it even though he (1) just asked for it, and (2) has had it dozens of times before.)</p>
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<p>Thanks for any insight!</p>
 

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<p>I'd skip the upcoming session. Maybe he's bored by it. My DD loved our MT classes and then she started doing the same things your DS is doing but seemed to enjoy the benefits at home. I'd play the CD at home and have a faux class there.</p>
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<p>I would check out the events and classes at your local library. They're free and so much fun. If you're interested in another kind of class, most places will offer you a couple of free trial classes before she decided to sign up.</p>
 

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<p>I would def skip it.</p>
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<p>Speaking as a professional musician who has taught early music classes - they are fun, but they don't really enhance your child's musical education. We don't do them and I don't think we will until DD is older. Little Gym, free library classes etc will do just the same. Basically until age 4 or so they are really just learning to sit still, follow instructions and be in a group. You can get this from a variety of settings.</p>
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<p>Keep on singing songs at home (learn some new ones too). You can get CDs from the library and there are good resources on youtube and the web in general.</p>
 

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Your ds sounds somewhat similar to mine. Mine turned three at the end of August, we've been going to MT since he was 15mo. My ds rarely participates in class, is very reserved and doesn't seem to care for being around other kids. He will frequently say that he doesn't want to go or doesn't have fun. However, I know that he loves it because of what I see him doing at home. He has just in the last 4-5 months started singing the songs, he plays various instruments at home and I can only say positive things about our program.<br><br>
I know it feels difficult when your child isn't participating as eagerly as the other children do- I spent the first session with him clinging to me unwilling to sit on my lap and face into the circle. Sometimes he still does that, but usually he'll face the circle. It is only in the last few weeks that I have not had to carry him for every single standing/dancing activity. It seems like the thing that made a difference was being given the ribbon wands as a prop- the teacher relayed to me after class that she had found that many children felt more comfortable standing without their parent if they had something in their hands- I have certainly seen that in my child- but again really only in the last few weeks. Sometimes this past summer during the play along we had to sit away from the group because it just felt too loud for him. And he never goes by himself to pick out his instruments- I always accompany him.<br><br>
We've had the same teacher since our second session and she's fabulous. What I have noticed though, is the makeup of the group seems to matter. We've been in the same class time with roughly the same other families since we moved to this teacher. (she's very popular and all her classes are always full) This summer, for some strange reason, none of the regular families came at the regular class time. The class consisted of mostly younger children and about 5 infants. It was a much more comfortable environment for my ds. I actually saw him begin to sing in class and do hand movements in class(neither of which he'd done before). When the fall session started, I was hoping the class would be comprised of the same group, unfortunately, it went back to the normal class group we had had before. I noticed a big difference in his willingness to participate. He was back to really needing to be very close to me and seeming anxious about the other kids. He seems to have relaxed a bit now, but I still haven't seen him singing along or doing hand movements like I did this summer and, honestly that makes me sad. It was such a big difference that I'm strongly considering talking with the teacher to find a better class group for us for next session.<br><br>
I tell you all of this because I'm going through similar things as you. It may feel like your child is the only one reacting this way, but he's not! I can't tell you whether you should continue or not. For us, it's the best thing that we've done with him by far and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Even though it's expensive, we think it's so good for him and so important, that we won't stop. My suggestion is to talk with the teacher you and he prefer to see what advice she might have and to see if there's another class group that she feels might suit his temperament better. Perhaps a simple change like that would help. Also, perhaps the class time just isn't a great time for him. And talk with your husband about what you feel like he's getting out of the program. You've been in the program long enough to know that the purpose of it is so much different than getting kids used to sitting still and following directions or being in a group. Maybe it's not for him, but I've seen so much in my child that is good from this program that it's worth it to us to continue.<br><br>
Good luck with your choice, I imagine it's hard to justify the expense if it doesn't appear that he's enjoying it. There's a lot more to it than just what goes on during class time.
 

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<p>Wow! Such insightful things.</p>
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<p><span class="pmenuShow on" id="user_pMenu-111303"><a href="/community/user/angelandmisha" id="user_poster_16045985">angelandmisha</a></span> - Many of the things you brought up resonated with me. I talked with dh on Saturday, after class, about the makeup of the class and whether that could play a roll (older kids vs younger, mostly girls vs boys, well-behaved vs loud/rambunctious). In fact, last week, the teacher asked ds to turn off the light and another girl ran up and turned it off. Then the teacher turned to ds and told him that he could turn the light on after the song, and what do you know, once the song was over, the girl ran up and turn the light on before ds could.(and you ask where mom was in all of this? Didn't say a peep!) So, yea, I think the energy of the class has a lot to do with it. Also, I agree with your point about the time of the class. We actually switched from an afternoon class to a morning class for just that reason. *sigh*  Still don't know if we'll enroll him this next session, but we have a little time to decide.</p>
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<p>Thanks everyone for your input! :)</p>
 

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<p><span lang="en">It is sometimes hard to know what is best for your child as they enter various stages of development. It sounds to me as if his seeming apathy IS a phase which has been documented as a normal (and even important) stage in his musical life. Has your Music Together center given you a music growth chart called “Growing and Learning with Music Together”? This chart is a great tool in helping to decide where your child is in his music development. Under Maturing, the Music Together research team says that in a third year of classes, “Your child may temporarily observe more and participate less in class. He’s noticing that his own singing and moving doesn’t always match what he hears and sees around him. By carefully evaluating what he hears, he learns to adjust and refine his own musical expression.” And this statement: “This important developmental period often comes just before a child ‘breaks through’ and achieves basic music competence.”  So, in addition to where he may be in his social/cognitive/physical development, he may also be entering a critical phase in his music development.</span></p>
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<p><span lang="en">All children need a period of primary music development just as they have primary language development. As a culture, we understand instinctively how to reinforce language - celebrating their first verbal attempts, repeating words and phrases back to them with refinement, initiating dialogues, and of course, immersing them in language during their whole lives! But much of our culture doesn’t know how to give this same kind of support to primary music development or understand it‘s necessity. Providing you with that awareness and with tools for that support is one of the goals of Music Together. Your teachers have probably modeled this reinforcement of music behaviors for you in class and you are obviously enjoying supporting your child’s development by making music with him at home.</span></p>
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<p><span lang="en">The most important measure of how your child is developing musically is seen in what he does at home. This is his comfort zone and where he can experiment and express in safety. But the value in the classes remains as a supportive tool for you and as stimulation of music activities for both of you as he makes this journey to basic music competence.</span></p>
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<p><span lang="en">I believe you are correct that at a little under three, he doesn’t know if he wants to continue with class or not. If he started at eight months, it’s always been a part of his consciousness and routine. So, it has to be your decision and evaluation of the benefits of not just the time in class but also his music activity outside of that 45 minutes each week.</span></p>
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<p><span lang="en">I hope your center is able to work with you in finding a class which is socially comfortable; I can tell from your post that he is right where he needs to be for his music development! And I love that you are asking the right questions about where he is. Happy music making for you and your family.</span></p>
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<p><span lang="en">Director</span></p>
<p><span lang="en">Pied Piper Academy of Music & the Arts</span></p>
<p><span lang="en">Mason, Ohio</span></p>
 

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<p>I've been doing MT since 1994- first as a mom, then as a teaching director.  You are so tuned into your child, it's a pleasure to read your observations.  Interesting how he continues to grow musically and how you've noticed that growth. </p>
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<p>While I'm a big fan of taking a break AND COMING BACK (that's key), I wouldn't give up on the program unless you feel that your child has attained Basic Music Competence.  The time to move on from Music Together should be when the educational objectives of the program have been met, don't you think?  The goal here is to get your child to Basic Music Competence: singing on key and keeping a steady and accurate beat.  That's the foundation for further music learning, right?  Once you're there, and if he's there now, you can pick up instruments and learn to sing on a more sophisticated level (part singing, harmonies, improvisation, breathing etc.)  Your child can enroll in dance classes when he's ready to learn new moves, or in chorus.  I had a three-year-old today who had picked up some impressive moves from a show on Nickelodeon.  He is so ready for a dance class.  My suggestion to you is to observe your son and consider whether he really is on key and if he is moving accurately to the beat.  You might also ask your teacher if she's in a position to evaluate where your child is at and whether he's ready to take things to the next level, or if he's still working on some basic skills and should stick around for a few more semesters. </p>
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<p>It's also important that YOU are having fun and challenging YOURSELF and being goofy together.  Maybe now is a good time to try to make up rhymes with your child- play fill in the blank games, bang on some pots, dance around the house together... get Dad involved!   etc.  As your child grows, all sorts of new possibilities emerge about how the two of you can play musically together.  My kids are 11, 12, 15, and 17 now.  We still do MT songs!  Sometimes our lyrics get inappropriate for the 0-5 set, but that's what works for us at this moment.  And, as I said, I've been doing this for 16 years now, and it's still fun for me.  You wouldn't give up on your French class just before he gets to fluency, right?  Maybe you should consider hanging in there just a little longer in order to get him over the hump and to the place where the world of music is completely available to him and the sky is the limit!</p>
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<p>Good luck.  You are clearly a caring and invested mom.  No doubt you have done a lot already to support your child's music development and that he will continue to grow musically in the years to come because of you.</p>
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<p>-N</p>
 

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<p>Hi, there. Some thoughts occurred to me as I read your post that I haven't seen a response to, so I'm jumping in. :)</p>
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<p>I noticed that a few of your observations have to do with your son's interactions with other people (responsiveness to the teacher, "warming up" to certain people, imitating but not playing with other children, wanting to be held (instead of...)), and I just wanted to remind you that Music Together is primarily about the relationship between your child and his beloved primary caretaker. A child playing with another child -- as wonderful to witness as it is -- is not getting the same kind of benefit as a child being held by his mother or father, so if your son is wanting to be carried, that doesn't mean he isn't as "successful" at music class as a boy who is running around on his own or with other children. Music Together believes (along with plenty of parenting experts) that we parents are the models for everything we want our children to become, so I would think about what you want and what you and DH are getting from -- and putting into -- the experience, too.</p>
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<p>While it's true that children learn social skills simply by being in a thoughtful social setting, Music Together isn't a class where you're supposed to learn how to sit in a circle and listen to the teacher. Huh-uh. That's what LAUSD is for (ha ha). :) So I would actually quite strongly disagree with the mama who said that early music classes don't enhance a child's musical development. The ages before 5 are when the brain is absolutely primed to make connections and to learn language and music; I wish I had known more about that when my DD was younger. Music Together does not expect any child to sit in the the circle the whole time and listen and participate; only the parents are expected to participate because their happy musical disposition is a model for the child, who is hard-wired to hear his or her beloved mother's voice.</p>
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<p>Is there a particular part of the class that your DS might be avoiding? Is there another child (or parent) who makes him uncomfortable? Or, is he able to articulate why it's not fun or what would make it more fun? If you "catch" him having fun in class and bring that up later, you might find out what isn't fun in comparison. "I really had fun playing the sticks in class today. I noticed you were playing right on the beat (or right along) with Teacher So&So; that was so cool!" "I wish we could do that more often. What's your favorite part of music class?" You said he can tell which songs he doesn't like; is he trying to leave when it's a song he doesn't like? If so, you can empathize with that and help him focus on the part of the song that might be fun in class but not as fun when you're just listening passively. I'm sure if you talked to your teacher about an idea that he had for the song, s/he would be happy to incorporate it!</p>
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<p>I have always been a big believer in underbooking our time to allow for more child-led exploration, and whenever a fun activity turned into a have-to, that was pretty much it for that, so I know you're making a difficult decision and really trying to listen to your son. Since Music Together has been such a constant, it's hard to know whether taking a break would be of benefit or detriment, especially if he's just beginning to do anything (reaching for the instruments), so I wish you all the best in this decision! </p>
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<p>~Deborah</p>
<p>Yep, I'm a Music Together teacher</p>
<p>(and professional musician)</p>
 

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<p>You've had some really great responses on this thread and I thought that I would post again to clarify/elaborate my statement that I didn't think that early music classes enhance musical development. Perhaps I didn't express exactly what i wanted to say.</p>
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<p>Being a musician, *of course* I believe that early exposure to music is VERY important in the development of your child's musical ability. That said, I don't think that it need be in a class setting. Singing together, exploring sounds and rhythms, making and playing instruments can be done at home.</p>
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<p>I am familiar with the Music Together program and although I do think it is a good program (and one that I would choose, should we decide to do group classes) I think that if your child doesn't really care about going, that skipping a session or two wouldn't hurt.</p>
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<p>You are your child's most important musical influence. If *you* feel that the classes are good support for you (learning new songs and activites for example) then you should keep attending. Just keep singing at home. I understand that the support materials are some of the most valuable aspect of MT.</p>
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<p>Also, please bear in mind that there are other approaches to early music education such as the Kodaly method and Dalcroze Euryhthmics. Perhaps your son might prefer one of those classes to change things up.</p>
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<p>I hope that I didn't make it sound like you shouldn't expose your child to music at an early age - that is not at all what I meant - but that there are other options and that the skills learnt in a group setting aren't purely musical.</p>
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<p>What also does concern me about Music Together in particular is that the teachers aren't necessarily trained in music education or indeed music. This is from their website:<br>
"You do not need any formal musical or educational background in order to successfully complete our training. You do need to be able to sing in tune with accurate rhythm."</p>
<p>Of course (knowing several MT teachers myuself) there are many, many excellent MT teachers. It sounds like the OP's one is excellent, but these franchised type of music programs can really differ in that quality of teaching, IME.</p>
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<p>Was this thread referred to on a Music Together forum?</p>
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<p>I think that your best answer lies in your comments about what your child is doing at home. Sounds like there is still alot of learning going on musically!</p>
<p>Having taught Music Together for the last 12 years, I can tell you that most of the children in our classes do about a hundred times more at home than they do in class!</p>
<p>Class is where they are taking the music in,- and they do it in a multi-layered way,- through their eyes, through their ears, through touch, through moving, subconsciously when they look like they are not paying attention, and they also do it by moving AWAY from the group and taking time to process what they are taking in.</p>
<p>Lots of times when the children move away from the group it is because they have noticed that there is a discrepancy between what they are taking in and what they are able to acheive.</p>
<p>So they move out and take a moment to process what is going on.</p>
<p>Then they move back in again.</p>
<p>From some of the behavior that you mentioned, - where he asks for certain things and then decides he doesn't want them,- it also sounds like your child is discovering the power of making different choices,-and is enjoying making choices simply because he can make them, and  then finding himself unsure that he made the right choice.</p>
<p>That may remind us of the important point that he still, while he likes making choices, needs your guidance about what good choices are that he can make.</p>
<p>Choosing to remain in Music Together, especially at this new stage in his learning can be a key piece in his musical development. Think how different his experience is now that he is 3 years old, as opposed to when he was an infant. When he started out,- the music came to him simply as melody and probably the feel of you rocking him, and the sound of your voice. He undoubtedly sensed when you were having fun with the music.  Now as a 3 year old, he will be understanding the meaning of the words, probably tuning in to different instruments as they play, possibly picking out a bass line or harmonies layering the music.  It's a much deeper experience for him. He can revisit what he already knows and it gives him an opportunity to gain confidence in what he knows as well as to expand his knowledge.  It is also an arena where he can show others what he can do if he chooses to do so or to feel a little bit like a "leader".  Maybe your teacher might gently enlist him as her "helper" in passing out instruments, etc. </p>
<p>If your child is really unhappy, I'm sure you don't want to force him,-- but if it seems more like he is just exploring choices and not sure what he really wants,- before you decide to stop attending class,- you might want to consider what would happen if just as our children were gaining confidence walking and talking,- we stopped supporting them expanding on what they know.</p>
<p>Just as our vocabularies expand our whole lives,- so is musical development a life-long ongoing unfoldment of learning.</p>
<p>Hope any of these ideas might be helpful!</p>
 

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<p>We aren't signing up for the next session of MT. I signed my daughter (14 months) and son (3) up... she LOVED the class, but my 3 year old hated it. We listened to the music at home and they both sing and dance to the songs (as well as other music)... but for whatever reason he hated the class. It was sooooo hard to take him there that I stopped going mid session-- unless I had childcare for him so I could JUST take my daughter.</p>
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<p>Anyway, music is important to me, I was really disappointed that this class didn't work out. We still go to local (and free) music and story time sessions around town, he likes those settings better, I really don't know why he doesn't like the MT classes.</p>
 
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