Music is an important part of a child’s development. Dancing and playing instruments work their fine and gross motor functions. Listening to and making music builds pathways in the brain that improve intellect and social skills. And music brings joy—just look at a kid dancing around to their favorite song! All children have the potential to be musical, but it doesn’t just happen. As a parent, it’s up to you to encourage and nurture your children’s musical development. This is as simple as singing for them while they’re little, filling their lives with music, and singing along with them as they get older. You don’t need to pay to be musical. Music is something that everyone can have access to at any time. But if you want something a little more structured than singing together to Raffi or playing Disney songs on repeat, you should go check out Harmony Kids in downtown Fredericksburg.
My wife and I have been taking our 5-year-old son, Benny, to the 0-to-5-year-old “Sing With Me” music classes there for years. Our 2-year-old daughter, Lily, has been going for a year or so now too. We all love it! The classes are packed with singing, dancing, and fun, and come with music to listen to at home, too. The music that I’ve made together with my kids has really helped build my relationship with them. The kids have a blast in each class, but I’ve always had a lot of fun too. In fact, I liked it so much that in 2021, I took some training courses and became a teacher there myself! I’ve taught dozens of classes as “Mr. Matt” and am loving it. So yes, I’m tooting my own horn a little by pointing you to Harmony Kids. But the fact that I’m so invested in it just shows how great a program I think it is!
So, What Happens in Class?
Each class is 45 minutes long. It’s kids and parents all together; parents’ voices are the most important in their kids’ lives, so they’re encouraged to participate. We start with the hello song. This is a fun little song that the kids love and helps ease them into music class. When he was younger, my son insisted on listening to this one a lot! We go around the room and say hello to every child and parent who is there that day. Next, we do some silly warm-ups to stretch out our voices and bodies. From there, we do all kinds of things! We might sit our kids in our laps and clap along and sing to a song, or we might get up and dance around with scarves, or we might all gather in groups around big drums and keep the beat while we sing.
No matter what, we always get to do a free dance. This is where all the little ones can show off their moves and get all their wiggles out. Another fun fixture is the play-along, where the teacher dumps out a box full of percussion instruments and everyone plays along with the music. Nearing the end, we settle down with a lullaby, then wrap up with the goodbye song. The goodbye song is the same every class, just like the hello song. Those familiar songs are a good way for the kids to transition between music class and the rest of their day.
Sing with Your Kids!
Having fun together musically is a great activity for both moms and dads. But this is a fatherhood blog, so I want to specifically call out to all the dads out there—sing with your kids! Even if coming to Harmony Kids isn’t for you, you should encourage your kids to grow musically by singing to them and with them, and making your family a musical family. This is important even if you don’t think you’re good at singing. Trust me, your kids don’t care what you sound like, they just want to hear your voice. But if I’ve piqued your interest in this program, I would love to see you there and sing together with you.
Harmony Kids is at the Art Time for Kids studio at 101 Hanover St., Fredericksburg, VA 2240. Contact at 540-315-1093, or firstname.lastname@example.org