Early Childhood Classes

Early Childhood
Jennifer Garr, Department Head

Newborn–8 years


Offerings at the Conservatory

The early childhood department specializes in bringing developmentally appropriate music instruction to children from birth to 8 years of age. As of September 2013, we are pleased to begin our association with Musikgarten, an internationally recognized music and movement curriculum.  Our department’s philosophy is to provide child-centered instruction while nurturing natural ability, curiosity, and love of music. Children enrolled in Musikgarten classes experience a rich aural/auditory base of learning that prepares them for synthesizing musical elements as they mature. Musikgarten classes invite children and families to sing, move, listen, and play in response to activities facilitated by our faculty.  A carefully sequenced and progressive curriculum guides children’s music learning toward beginning instrumental study while fostering the love of music and the world around them.

Fall early childhood classes begin September 16, 2013. Spring early childhood classes begin on February 1, 2014.

Class length is based upon minimum enrollment. Some classes may be offered with a smaller enrollment by reducing the class length. In this case, the tuition remains the same.

Questions about early childhood offerings may be directed to Jennifer Garr at the main Conservatory office at 609-921-7104 or by e-mail at jgarr@rider.edu.

Demonstration classes will be held in Princeton on Saturday, September 7 at the following times: 10:00 a.m. (Family Music for Babies, Family Music for Toddlers, Stepping Tones), 11:30 a.m. (Cycle of Seasons, Musical Gateways). The early childhood faculty will present overviews of the programs, along with sample activities. Enrolled and prospective families are encouraged to attend.

A parents-only information session will be held on Wednesday, July 31, at 7:30 p.m. in Princeton.

New students will be accepted in Family Music for Babies, Family Music for Toddlers, Cycle of Seasons, Stepping Tones, and Musical Gateways through March 2014 at a pro-rated tuition.

  • Family Music for Babies
    Newborn–18 months
    This class offers adults the opportunity to play with their babies in a musical setting, experiencing music and movement activities designed to delight the child and awaken his or her curiosity about music. Through singing, dancing, bouncing, and rocking, the child's music aptitude is being carefully nurtured, thus laying the foundation for beat awareness, vocal production, and aural discrimination. Activities also include finger plays, body awareness games, and echoes. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes:  30
    Class length:  30 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition:  $330
    Materials fee:  $75
  • Family Music for Toddlers
    Age 16 months–3 years
    This class is designed to bring the joy of music and movement to toddlers and their caregivers. Activities include singing, dancing, focused listening, and simple instrument playing, thus creating an environment in which the child's music aptitude is nurtured and skills are developed. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes:  30
    Class length:  45 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition:  $501
    Materials fee:  $65
  • The Cycle of Seasons
    Age 3–4
    This class is designed to nurture the emergent independence of the 3- and young 4-year old. Activities include songs and vocalization, chants and rhymes, listening games, echoing tonal and rhythmic patterns, and movement games, all of which nurture the child's musical development while satisfying the child's need to learn in a holistic environment. While caregivers stay for the class, some of the activities are designed to have the children participate independently of their adult partners. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes:  30
    Class length:  45 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition:  $501
    Materials fee:  $75
  • Stepping Tones
    Age 3½–4½
    This class presents various activities to foster children’s independent musical development. Children will combine movement with instruments and song to create simple ensembles and musical stories. Children’s literature is a key component, and classes incorporate folk songs and repertoire from the United States and other cultures. Each week the students are invited to bring an item from home relating to that week’s theme; these items are then incorporated into the day’s musical experiences. Books and music will be recommended for families to continue the weekly themes at home. Children attend the class on their own, with families returning for the last few minutes of each session to share in group music making. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes:  30
    Class length:  45 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition:  $501
    Materials fee:  $50
  • Musical Gateways
    Age 4½–6
    (Levels 1-2 birthdate: 1/1/08-1/1/09;
    Levels 3-4: returning students)
    This class is for children who enjoy making music but are waiting to begin traditional formal instruction. Through attention to the child’s singing voice, listening skills, and motor development, this class provides opportunities for students to make music in a creative setting while developing entry-level musical concepts and skills. Written by the Conservatory’s early childhood faculty, the curricula have been updated to reflect current philosophy and practice. Level 1: Stories and Song; Level 2: Music and You; Level 3: Global Music; Level 4: Music through Time. Students complete two levels per academic year (15 classes per level). Levels 1-2 must be completed before entering Levels 3-4. New students entering kindergarten may be admitted to Level 3-4 on approval from the department head.
    Number of classes:  30
    Class length:  60 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition:  $600
    Materials fee:  $80
  • Musical Explorations
    Grades 1–2
    In this group class children will learn musical skills and theory needed to play an instrument. Recorders and choir chimes are used to introduce beginning note reading. Each class includes singing, movement, folk dances, and speech/instrumental ensembles. Children will experience different musical genres from classical to jazz. While the approach and philosophy draw primarily on that of Carl Orff, other music education philosophies are evident throughout the program. This class is appropriate for children who love to make music in a group setting before moving on to private instruction. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes:  30
    Class length:  60 minutes (4-person minimum)
    Tuition: $600
    Materials fee:  $30
  • Pianos and Pizzicati
    Grades 1–2 (beginners only)
    This class will introduce students to keyboard, strings, and beginning music theory. Using a group-class format, students will spend 8 weeks exploring each type of instrument and setting practice goals for reinforcement at home. The instructors will divide the class into 2 groups which will meet at the same time each week, but in separate rooms for each instrument. At the mid-point of the fall term, students will switch instruments—for example, piano for 8 weeks and then cello for 8 weeks. In the spring term, students will continue with more advanced activities in their rotation, and the violin will replace the cello. Princeton location only.
    Number of classes:  32
    Class length:  55 minutes (8-person minimum)
    Tuition: $640
    Materials fee:  $30 plus applicable instrument rental fees

Early Childhood Faculty
Ellen Fisher Deerberg
Jennifer Garr
Mary Elizabeth Latorre
Dawn Lemasney
Teresa Lim
Sandra Reedy
Kathy Shanklin
Jessica Updegraff
Carol Vizzini

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