As the mother of a 2 1/2-year-old daughter, music is a significant part of our lives.
The CD player in our car has a constant stream of nursery rhymes and popular children's music blaring from the speakers. Samantha can be seen bopping around in her car seat, singing along with her favorite tunes. At home, new dances are performed daily for her daddy when he returns home from work.
To cultivate her love of music, Samantha attended a local Kindermusik class. Kindermusik offers music and movement programs for children ages newborn to 7. The class, led by Tiffany McNeely, 35 of Cornelius, along with her business partner Kate Stables, helps toddlers to develop literacy and language skills through music and story time. McNeely and Stables own the Music Tree, offering programs that encourage and reinforce children's love and understanding of music. They are licensed to teach Kindermusik programs.
Samantha is enrolled in the "ABC Music & Me" class, which is geared for toddlers.
The class includes songs and rhymes that develop early reading skills. Playing with rhythm instruments improves hand-eye coordination and strengthens fine motor skills. Samantha loves to play the bongos along with the music. Imaginative play, taking turns and storytelling are also emphasized in the class.
One of Samantha's favorite activities is playing with the silk-like scarves. She loves to twirl them around, put them on her head and tickle Mommy with them. Toddlers learn to follow directions while having fun.
At home, Samantha now sings "toys away, toys away, time to put the toys away," when we are cleaning up the playroom. It has turned a challenge into a fun, positive activity in our household. She has learned numerous songs, loves playing with her musical instruments at home and reads storybooks to us daily.
McNeely and Stables started the Music Tree because of their mutual love of music. They were already sharing this passion with their own children and wanted to spread the joy to others. McNeely has a daughter, Molly, 3, and son, Wil, 2; and Stables has a son, Elliott, 3, and is expecting her second child. Their children will have the benefit of attending the classes as well.
They chose to name their company the Music Tree so that they had the opportunity to offer not only Kindermusik classes, but also to branch out into other forms of music. McNeely would like to teach a folk music class later next year. She said that her goal is to teach classes that "grow mind, body and spirit through music."
In addition to "ABC Music & Me," McNeely and Stables are also licensed to teach the "Kindermusik Village" program, which targets newborns to 18 months. Samantha's little brother, Barry, 8 months, will be starting this class early next year. The curriculum includes music, instrument play and dance. In addition, the Village program focuses on together time between parent and baby. Parent-child bonding is an important focus.