A few memories that stand out from my childhood: my mom sitting at the piano, playing hymns and a bouncy tune about an ice cream cone she learned as a little girl; my dad blasting soundtracks from movies and musicals on the stereo in our den; choir practice on Wednesday nights; wearing out Elton John, The Beatles and Billy Joel greatest hits CDs on the way to school. Music has become an accompaniment for the many and varied seasons of my life and a soundtrack for the trips and adventures I’ve gone on. Music has taught me truths, helped me process emotion, drawn me near to Creator and creation, and so much more. Music has seeped into nearly every crack and groove of my life, like a forever faithful sidekick.
And as I a stood in Christ Chapel’s Musikgarten classroom a few weeks ago, surrounded by sunshine and instruments made for tiny hands, all these musical memories came back to me.
Truth is, you probably have your own stories of music impacting and weaving through your life. That’s because music has a profound effect on human growth and development. Science has confirmed it with countless studies: exposure in early childhood provides numerous benefits including improved language development, focus and memory development and fundamental math skills. Group musical activities in early childhood have shown to improve self-confidence, self-esteem, discipline and teamwork. Studies have proved that music can have profound, long-term effects like high-level language skills, higher standardized test scores in math, improved graduation rates, and even decreased likelihood of drug and alcohol use.
For all these reasons and more, Musikgarten at Christ Chapel provides weekly, 30-minute music classes for children ages 1 month through 4 years. The program expands semester after semester so that children can not only develop a love for music but grow socially, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
Musikgarten does this by providing a fun, inviting environment for young children to experience and explore music with age-specific curriculum. The youngest age groups begin by singing, moving and exploring with rhythm instruments. They learn cadence and beat as they bounce and sway in the lap of their parent or grandparent, tapping rhythm sticks and shaking rattles.
As children grow, the program expands to include song, dance and larger instruments — drums, xylophones and play microphones. Musikgarten doesn’t keep to one style of music to teach children, choosing to expose kids to styles and instruments from around the world — country banjos, folk songs, classical strings, African drumbeats, French melodies and more.
These classes are designed for children to experience alongside a parent, grandparent or another adult in their life. “It’s person to person interaction,” Linda Dupont, Musikgarten’s director, explained, “and an escape from screens. It’s active for the kids and educational as it helps prepare them for the classroom with listening and participation activities.”
“I love that Christ Chapel will support a program like this,” she continued, “because it’s so good for creating community in our church and outside of it. Through Musikgarten we get to create a safe place for parents to gather with their children.”
After class lets out, class participants are invited to stay and venture over to Christ Chapel’s nearby playground, providing the adults a chance to hang out while the kids play. Linda admitted that one of the benefits of the class is for the parents who attend to make friends as well — anything to help break down the feeling of isolation that new parents often experience.
Musikgarten classes are kept small by design so that a sense of community can build among the group. Classes are offered throughout the week during the day, with a few “pajama” and Saturday classes as well to allow parents who work to be a part of the fun too.
Enrollment for fall classes is open now and, I’d like to think, waiting to start a lifetime of memories for a new crop of kiddos in Fort Worth and Parker County.
Looking for a fall music class for your kids? Try Musikgarten at Christ Chapel! Enrollment for fall classes is open now and available for ages 0 to 4. The weekly class is a chance for children to develop a love of music while growing socially, mentally and emotionally. Click here to see the fall schedule and register.