Music a hit with toddlers

CARROLL COUNTY DIVERSIONS

January 08, 1993|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,Staff Writer

Their fingers might be too small to hold down a chord, but toddlers' ears can still appreciate music, said a woman who teaches "Kindermusik," a program to develop that appreciation.

At one session Chris Kane, just shy of 2 years old, toddled over to the box of "jingle bells." He and eight other preschoolers bumped heads as they reached for the leather straps with bells attached.

As the strains of "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" came from a tape player, the children and their parents shook their bells to the beat. The children, from 20 months to 3 years old, grinned from ear to ear as they sang along with their mothers.

The next selection was peaceful, Japanese-sounding music, inspiring the group to wave scarves in a free-form dance.

"He loves it. He has really come out," said Chris' mother, Jeannie Kane of Westminster. "He was very clingy to me. Now, he's made friends with everybody."

Mrs. Kane originally was drawn to the class while looking for a program that would allow her son to meet other children.

"This was the first program I could find that I could bring him at a young age," Mrs. Kane said.

Debbie Henning of Westminster teaches the class in conjunction with Coffey Music at 15 E. Main St. She has a degree in music education from West Chester University in Pennsylvania and chose to work with Kindermusik because it allowed her flexibility to be at home with her three children, ages 7, 5 and 3.

"It's basically a general music education course," Mrs. Henning said. "The program is based around singing, moving. We do a lot of ear training, listening. A lot of games are used. Kids love games.

"For the younger ones, it's mostly seeing that their parents can enjoy music," she said.

Kindermusik has been taught around the country for about 13 years, Mrs. Henning said. She was accredited this summer. Children come once a week for a 30-minute class. The beginner class is for children 18 months to 3 years old. The young-child class is for ages 4 to 6.

The fee and materials are $100 for beginners and $156 for the young-child class. New classes start next month with registration through Jan. 20.

"We're trying to instill in them at an early age what music can do for them," Mrs. Henning said. "Even if they don't play an instrument or sing, they can enjoy it."

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