NORMAN—Most people know that children love music, but not everyone knows that the earliest years of life are the best time to develop core musical skills. Lauren Sonder, owner of music and arts school Sonder Music, Dance & Art in Norman, wants to change that. Sonder Music, Dance & Art has been offering the internationally recognized Music Together program to children ages birth through kindergarten and their families for over two years. Sonder admits that even she didn’t realize the enormous capacity of babies and toddlers to learn musical skills until the studio started offering these classes. Class activities including singing, chanting, moving and playing music instruments. Both adults and children sit in a circle and participate, led by the teacher, Anne-Valerie Brittan. Brittan, who is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in musiccomposition at the University of Oklahoma, says “it’s so rewarding as a musician and a mom to watch children develop musically at such a young age.”
Children have many opportunities to create and to play in class—making up rhythm patterns, new words to songs, or movements to express a sound. Some children simply stare and study the activity as they absorb the musically rich environment. Others sing, play, and dance freely as they learn the songs and chants from the songbook and recording families take home. The national Music Together program was developed in Princeton by coauthors Kenneth K. Guilmartin and Dr. Lili M. Levinowitz. Guilmartin is active nationally in research and teacher training. He composes and arranges many of the songs and instrumental pieces for the Music Together song collections. “We believe that every child is musical, and that each child needs a stimulating, supportive music environment to enjoy the wonderful human capacity for music-making,” Guilmartin explains. “Parents may be surprised to find that they can support their child’s music development regardless of their own background in music.”
Sonder’s Music Together classes are offered on Wednesdays evenings at 5:45 p.m. and Saturday mornings at 10:30 a.m. The studio is currently offering a free trial from July 11-July 21; reservations are required. For more information, visitwww.sondermusic.com or email email@example.com.