Music Together® History & Curriculum

 "I'm amazed at how much he absorbs from class! As soon as we get home he plays 'music class' and re-creates most of the class activities."
                                                                                                                                                                                             ---Music Together Parent

 

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 song collections, as well as special applications of the Music Together program such as infant, preschool, and "Big Kids Family Music®" classes. Both coauthors continue to teach Music Together classes, and they remain actively involved in training others to do this important and delightful work.

Music Together teachers now serve over 2000 communities in the United States, Canada, and 25 other countries around the world. 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 more information, visit http://www.musictogether.com/.

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.