Music Together was founded in 1987 by Kenneth K. Guilmartin in Princeton, New Jersey. In the 1980s, Ken was a working theatre composer and music educator who was drawn to the field of early childhood music education while working as an associate editor for his uncle’s music publishing business, Birch Tree Group. During this time, Ken observed that the music experiences of the children he knew and taught were usually limited to passive music listening; these children were growing up with little or no opportunity for live and playful music making. Subsequently, many sustained a delay in the development of their basic music skills, arriving at elementary school unable to sing in tune or move in a rhythmically accurate way.
Searching for a way to counteract this trend, Ken had the insight to apply what he learned from early childhood education experts to music education for the very young. In 1985, he founded the Center for Music and Young Children (CMYC) to conduct the early childhood music development research which later spawned the Music Together program. Interestingly, this research was funded by the Birch Tree Group using the royalties from the "Happy Birthday" song.
While attending a 1986 Edwin Gordon seminar on music learning in children, Ken met Lili Levinowitz, Ph.D., then director of the Children's Music Development Program at Temple University and an experienced researcher. Lili was a like-minded advocate for non-formal music experiences for the very young, and soon the two began to develop the unique, musically-rich curriculum that would become known as Music Together.
The first Music Together classes were offered to the public in 1987. Since then, Ken and Lili have researched and developed nine Music Together parent-child song collections, as well as additional curriculums such as Babies, Music Together In-school and Music Together Big Kids®. Both coauthors continue to teach Music Together classes, and they remain actively involved in training others to do this important and delightful work.
The Music Together program is offered in over 2,500 communities in over 40 countries worldwide. Through its parent-child, preschool, and outreach programs, both at home and abroad, Music Together is dedicated to offering the benefits and joys of music making to as many families as possible.
For hundreds of thousands of families worldwide, Music Together is children and their grownups joyfully sharing songs, rhymes, movement, and instrument play, both in music class and in their daily lives. A pioneer in early childhood music and movement education, Music Together offers classes for children from birth through kindergarten, in which parents and caregivers actively participate.
All children are sounders and movers, and their natural aptitude for music blossoms in a sufficiently rich music environment. In fact, when given a supportive music environment, children learn to sing and dance as naturally as they learn to walk and talk.
How is this possible? Children learn differently than adults. They learn instinctively and constantly. They teach themselves through imitation and play, through being immersed in their environment, and through every interaction with adults and older children. The family-like setting of Music Together's mixed-age classes enables siblings to attend together, creating an ideal learning environment where infants, toddlers, and preschoolers can freely participate at their own levels.
Music Learning Supports All Learning®
Wiggling, singing, and laughing with your child is so much fun—it’s easy to forget how much learning is taking place! Our research-based curriculum not only develops music skills, it nurtures creativity, self-expression, and confidence while also supporting social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Because these benefits build over time, children enjoy the fullest growth in each of these areas when they participate as consistently as possible up through kindergarten.
Your Role Is Essential
Young children learn through play and experimentation and by watching and listening to the grownups they love. Setting an example as an enthusiastic participator in music activities is the best thing any parent or caregiver can do to help set a child on the road to a lifelong love of music. Parents don't need to have music skills—they just need a desire to play and have fun with their children! Our teachers are specially trained to create a safe atmosphere so you can happily join in, experiment, or even get silly—and feel closer to your child while doing so.
Music Together Classes
The Music Together curriculum includes a mix of original songs and traditional tunes from the folk, jazz, and world music traditions in a variety of tonalities and meters. By presenting a range of musical styles from lyrical to blues, from folk to boogie, Music Together provides children with a rich music experience that stimulates and supports their growing music skills and understanding.
Music Together's nine song collections—each identified by its own color, instrument name, and graphic—are presented in a three-year cycle of three semesters per year. They are non-sequential, so families may join at any semester and attend class for three full years before cycling back to re-experience the collections from their growing children’s ever-changing perspectives. Because music learning is cumulative, with children reaping developmental benefits that build over time, we encourage their participation for as many years as possible from infancy through kindergarten.
Music Together CDs have outstanding arrangements that are fun, sophisticated, and loved by children and grownups alike. The music is pitched in just the right range for children's voices and includes songs, rhythmic rhymes, tonal and rhythm patterns, and instrumental play-alongs. All of the songs are suitable for mixed-age groups, perfect for childcare centers or families with children of different ages.
Each semester, families receive two CDs—one for home and one for on-the-go—along with an illustrated songbook full of music-making ideas. In addition, families new to the program receive a parent guide DVD and booklet, "Music Together at Home: Helping Your Child Grow Musically."