Frequently Asked Questions
What can I expect from class?
Music Together® is designed for children ages birth through kindergarten. At Music Together we believe that music ability is as much a basic life skill as walking and talking, and that all children can learn to sing in tune, keep a beat, and participate with pleasure and confidence in the music of their culture. Music Together classes nurture the child’s natural enthusiasm for music and movement as we sing, dance, chant, and play instruments in an informal setting that will enrich her musical environment and guide her towards a lifetime of music-making enjoyment.
Why aren’t there separate classes for different age groups?
In the 1980s, Music Together pioneered the development of the mixed-age approach in early childhood music. In each class we strive to create a musically rich, developmentally appropriate environment where the whole family can enjoy music and nurture skills at the level right for each child. Mixed-age classes also provide a rich learning environment because children of different ages thrive when they interact with each other: the babies are often fascinated by the older child, and the “big” children enjoy helping and sharing with the “little” ones. This approach is based on research from music education, early childhood development, and family relationships, as well as our 20 years experience in the field.
As a parent, what is my role in class?
Enhance your child's experience in class by remembering to sing, sing, sing and move, move, move your body. Your active participation is the key to your children learning and growing musically. Support the creation of a music only environment while in class by not talking to your children or other adults during the 45 minutes. Since it is difficult for a young child to mask out adult conversation please wait to socialize till after class, and instead contribute to the creation of a musical environment for the children to absorb.
Try not to give verbal directions. It can be tough to restrain the impulse to give your child directives such as "Do what she is doing, hold your instrument this way” but children respond best by just seeing and hearing you doing (and enjoying) it yourself! Wandering toddlers is fine, but If you want your child to come back to you, avoid calling to him from across the room. If necessary, redirect your child physically back to you or the circle. Of course watch out for your child’s safety, but mostly your job is to just relax, and have fun!
How should we use the Music Together CD, Songbook and Family Zone at MusicTogether.com?
Play the music at home and in the car as frequently as possible, especially during the first few weeks of class. Make it available to your child to listen to while she is playing or before nap or bedtime. Use the songbook to help you remember the songs or to play along if you play an instrument. Try using the songbook at story time instead of a regular book, and sing through the songs as you go along. Looking at the printed notes on the page will help children understand that music is something that can be read, like words. Familiarization with notation will help them when they are more ready for formal music instruction, typically when they are school aged.
Log on to the Music Together Family Zone using the code in your CD booklet. There are lots of activities to try relating to the songs, colouring pages to download as well as information for parents about music development.
New Music Together parents receive our introductory DVD “Music Together at Home: Helping Your Child Grow Musically”. During class your teacher will refer to topics and point out examples of things covered in the video. We are also happy to discuss your child's individual progress in obtaining musical competence at any time outside of class. If you are a returning student and it has been months or years since you have read the Parent Guide or seen the new DVD, reread it or ask for a copy of the DVD today! You may be surprised how valuable it is, especially after having personal experience observing your child's music development.
How I can make music at home with my child?
One great place to find ideas about playing with your child musically at home is in your songbook. There are lots of ideas listed under each song with activities about how to use the songs at home. Other fun things to try are:
• Make up new words to tunes you know already and include your child’s name in the song – could be about what you see around you or related to activities like getting ready for bed.
• Have a play along jam in the kitchen with all of the pots and pans and big spoons and whisks etc. Put on the Music Together CD and jam along or choose one of your favourite bands and introduce some new music to your child.
• Pick at time of day and create a ritual moment where you make music with your child. Perhaps it’s a lullaby before bed, a song during bath time, a dance jam when mom and dad get home from work, a brushing teeth song, or a wake-up and get ready song.
• Sing in the car! This is a great place to play with part singing and rounds or singing along with your favourite music.
• Use props like bouncing balls, scarves or sheets to play with the rhythm and form of the music.
• Invite your child up on your lap and sing your way through a horsey ride, a crazy car ride or and airplane ride.
What is the class size?
Each class has 6- 12 registered children plus their primary caregiver(s).
Can I bring my un-registered older sibling to class?
Throughout the semester, Music Together classes may be in session when older children have a school holiday. Older siblings of registered students may occasionally visit provided the older sibling is HEALTHY and that the visit is prearranged with the office or the teacher (2 visits max per term). Visitation spots are limited to two per class and are available on a first come, first serve basis. These spots must be booked through our office or your teacher. Tips for bringing older siblings:
• Please make your best effort to arrive on time with older sibs so they have a chance to say hello to the teacher and adjust to the class instead of arriving to a large group already singing adults they haven't met yet.
• Let older sibs know they are welcome in the class and we are looking forward to making music with them in the circle. From past experience I've found that it doesn't work very well when older children read, colour or play with toys on the side while we are all making music in the circle. Little kids LOVE to know what big kids are doing!
• Help older children to feel welcome by letting them know this is a family music making experience and everyone is welcome and participates to their own ability. The less they feel like they are being dragged their little brother/sister’s class, the better. ;)
Can we eat in class?
Please feel comfortable to nurse your child in class, but we ask that you refrain from eating at Music Together. If your child must have a snack, please enjoy it off to the side. Absolutely no food in the music making circle.
Is it OK for more than one adult to come to class?
Yes!! Both or either parent, grandparents or caregivers are welcome to attend class at any time – no need to ask. Whole family music making in your home is extremely valuable to your child's musical development, and attending class occasionally helps the other family members to join in at home.
What if I miss a class during the semester?
Up to four make-up classes can be booked at any of West Side Music Together's locations each term by clicking on ‘Make-Up Classes’ under the Classes heading. Make-up classes can be booked due to illness, holidays or medical appointments. Make-up classes are a bonus but are not guaranteed. If you miss your scheduled make-up class without canceling it on the website, it will count as a booked make-up class. Make-up classes are offered on a space-available basis and MUST be booked within the current term.
Please note that there are a limited number of make-up spots available in each class date. Please schedule your make-ups earlier in the semester, if at all possible, in order to get your first choice of dates.
What is the Make-up Code?
Make-up codes are listed on the paper handout that comes with your CD and Songbook each term. If you have lost this paper, please email us with your current class time and location and we will send you the code.
Can I switch to a different class?
In the first three weeks, changes can be requested by contacting the office and depend on class availability.
What is your refund policy?
When registering on this website:
• More than two weeks prior to classes start -full refund minus $10 admin fee.
• Less than two weeks prior to classes starting – refund minus $75.
• No refunds after the first class.
When registering through the Vancouver or West Vancouver Parks Board websites:
• Music Together licensing fee is non-refundable after the first class at all City of Vancouver and West Vancouver Community Centres.
• Registration, transfers, and refunds close after the 2nd class.
Non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal and all tuition fees are forfeited if the office or community centre is not informed of your withdrawal before classes start. If circumstances necessitate withdrawal from class, please call the school office.
Are class cancelled due to bad weather?
If the City of Vancouver or West Vancouver schools are closed, then we are closed too. If the kids are going to school in the snow/sleet/rain/hail etc. etc., our classes are running.
What if my class is cancelled?
West Side Music Together reserves the right to cancel classes if they are under enrolled. We will do our best to move families to other classes with availability. If this is not possible, families will be given a full refund.
Do you offer gift certificates?
Gift certificates for any amount towards Music Together classes can be purchased at any time. It makes a nice baby shower or birthday gift. Grandparents love to buy these for holiday gifts. Let us know if you would like it sent directly to the recipient or to the purchaser.