Written by Josh Kulla |
Wendy Reznicsek will lead Music Together instruction at Wilsonvilles Music Man Studios and at Hubbard Chapel .
Hey, new parents. Those off-kilter noises your new child is making? That’s probably music in progress. And Hubbard resident Wendy Reznicsek is hoping you’ll pay attention.
For those who do, Reznicsek is offering South Metro area residents the opportunity to take part in a new music program for babies, toddlers and children up to preschool age. Even better, parents or caregivers not only can take part in Music Together, an international program founded in 1987, their participation is an essential part of the curriculum.
“The whole program is based on the belief that all children are musical,” said Reznicsek, who plans to offer Music Together classes for children and parents in Wilsonville and other local communities. “When that is encouraged in a positive environment, they can develop those skills and they can learn it from the very first from their parents. It’s joyful to make music with your kids.”
A pair of demonstration classes will be held March 11 and 12, the first at Music Man Studios in Wilsonville, the second at the Hubbard Chapel off Highway 99 in Hubbard. These classes are free and open to the public and are aimed at showing firsthand the type of instruction the program offers.
Music Together has its roots on the East Coast. It is the brainchild of music professors Kenneth Guilmartin and Lili Levinowitz, who created the program at Princeton University in the mid-1980s. Guilmartin remains the company’s director of music and composes and arranges many of the songs and instrumental pieces for the Music Together song collections. He said he aims for music that helps bring parents closer to their children.
“Parents may be surprised to find that they can support their child’s music development regardless of their own background in music,” he said.
There are countless music education programs, Reznicsek said, but the level of parental involvement is what makes Music Together unique.
“There’s a difference between performing and having someone observe and participate in that quiet way,” she said. “And in the classroom they’re participating, they’re playing the music too. It’s really about community. It’s about creating that community through a shared joyful experience and instilling that in the little ones at young age.”
Classes for the youngest children typically are held once a week for 10 weeks. They are anchored primarily in rhythm and involve plenty of clapping, snapping and hand drumming, among other things. Vocals are a constant and include the basics of harmony and melody. The music itself is presented from various cultures around the world as well as less common keys and time signatures.
“There are a couple of things that anchor the class,” Reznicsek said. “We always have a jam session and we always have a lullaby. We work on harmonies sometimes, depending on the class and parents. Parents come in with all different background levels of music.”
Reznicsek said she was introduced to Music Together at her job with the Northwest Children’s Theater and School in Portland.
“I’d hear them singing songs with babies and playing drums and I was like, ‘I have to see this,’” she said. “It sounded like so much fun and I asked them to observe, and they said, ‘Only if you participate, there’s no observation in our classrooms.’ I found it really inspiring.”
Now, she added, she wants others to feel the same way.
“The parents were relaxed, they can go and spend time with their toddlers, 45 minutes of letting your hair down and letting things be,” she said. “Even parents that don’t have musical backgrounds can enjoy it. We just encourage them and remind them that singing to your child is one of the most beautiful sounds.”
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