The Suzuki Piano Academy offers 2 group classes. Music Monkeys and Music Mind Games are designed for K-3rd graders and 4th-8th graders as fun music theory and music-making classes. Children learn about making dynamic turtles, cardboard keyboards, redlight-greenlight with music symbols, tempo walks, magic notes, group staff work, ear training and sight singing, but most of all get a chance to listen to and explore with voice, motion and instruments important units of music such as patriotic, Americana, chants, rounds, folk, world, musicals, Beatles, Disney, jazz and much more. Students use word charts to see new and unfamiliar words and each receive a CD to take home. These classes really help students hear a variety of important pieces of music and exercise their primary instrument as music makers by using their voices.
Music Monkeys and Music Mind Games pull together the best of music teaching into one fun music class full of opportunities to both make music and understand music. We use elements of the Dalcroze Eurhythmics method to exercise the left and right brain along with over 200 games on the floor to fire up young musicians' minds. Each class focuses on a specific set of songs that explore a musical style or genre with voice or rhythm instruments, (i.e. maracas, triangles, bells, drums, bean bags, eggs, rainbow scarves, streamers, octabands and stretchy bands.) We do simple dance movements, hand jives and play the games that children sang to these songs in history.
Children who identify with music early have a greater chance of becoming musical and passing it on as adults. Music making experiences specifically support children's listening skills and ability to audiate, composition and improvisation skills, motivation to be a part of music-making communities, movement and ensemble competence, language skills and social and emotional abilities.
Here's an excerpt from a PBS article, "What's the Right Age to Begin Music Lessons?" by Dr. Robert A. Cutietta who is the Dean of the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music: "There is a growing (and convincing) body of research that indicates a “window of opportunity” from birth to age nine for developing a musical sensibility within children. During this time, the mental structures and mechanisms associated with processing and understanding music are in the prime stages of development, making it of utmost importance to expose children in this age range to music." “What age should children begin music lessons?” Informal activities with music should start soon after birth, followed by more systematic classes around age three, and lessons with the goal of learning the instrument should start between six and nine. Keep in mind that these are only guidelines; exceptions will undoubtedly occur based on the child and/or teacher. Musical experience at an early age is extremely important in a child’s developmental process. Like riding a bike or learning a language, these skills can be learned later in life, but they will never be “natural” in the way that is so important for fluid musical performance."