Hi everyone! Our Westchester music series continues with Starlight Starbright Music, a music program that offers the curriculum of classes from the Music Together® international program. Starlight Starbright has a home base in Scarsdale and additional classes in Chappaqua and Tarrytown. This gentle, well-rounded program tucks a lot of learning in with the fun. We attended a Mixed-Age class with a toddler and infant in tow. Read on for our breakdown. And click here to attend a demo class and see for yourself.
But first, enter our giveaway! We're giving away an Ultimate Back-to-School Combo pack from Mabel's Labels. To be entered in the drawing, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name, hometown, and phone number. I'll be collecting entries until September 15th.
The class was led by teacher and director Jackie Freimor, one of five music teachers at Starlight Starbright. A former music-class mom herself, she started the business in 2005 in order to offer a program that integrates music education and songs—both originals and classics—to let children learn while they play. Jackie led the singing in every song and occasionally played guitar as well.
The fun started from the moment we walked in the door. A large drum was set out for free play while everyone trickled in. Once class began, we sang our hello song. Next up we made silly noises and experimented with pacing by chanting with high voices and low voices to a story about a frog. The chant included rhythm patterns, which help children organize and make sense of meter.
Next we partnered with our kids and pretended to row back and forth, side to side, and round and round with the music. My 8-month-old loved being able to feel the rhythm in the swaying. He also loved it when we stood up and galloped around the room like ponies.
Children play instruments during some songs to help reinforce rhythm. We shook our bells at different speeds to the classic children’s song Tingalayo, and even made up some verses ourselves.
One of the unique elements of Starlight Starbright was the creative approach to exploring and acting out songs. I loved the idea that hands and vocal sounds could be used to supplement the music just as well as instruments. We made bunnies with our fingers for one song and pretended to play a violin by making screechy sounds in our throats in another song. The kids were captivated.
Jackie also taught the children tonal patterns, which are the building blocks of melody. Being able to organize and make sense of tonal structures is a child’s first step to being able to sing an entire melody. I saw very young children who were able to sing along to the tone of the song even if they didn’t have enough language skills to sing the words. Next we all played the drums, and even my 8-month-old had a blast smacking his hands on the large drums we all shared.
Toward the end of the class we explored music making through improvisation. We had a free-dance session where the kids let loose in their own interpretation of the beat, and then two giant tubs of instruments came out for free play.
Our class ended on a calm and gentle note with a snuggly lullaby and goodbye song. The lights were dimmed to help kids mellow out.
Starlight Starbright’s Fall semester starts at the end of September and runs to the beginning of December. Classes range from “Babies” for infants 0-6 months, “Mixed Ages" for children 0-5 years to a “Rhythm” class for kids 4-8 years old. There’s even a “Guitar for Grownups” class so parents can strum along at home with their kids. There are also some unique courses like “Sing Shalom” that focuses on songs from the Jewish world and a non-Music Together Ukulele class. You and your child (ages 3-6) can learn ukulele together! Older Ukulele enthusiasts can enjoy "Ukulele Party," a non-Music Together ukulele class for adults and teens.
Want to experience it for yourself? Starlight Starbright is offering several free demos starting September 7 for the Music Together Mixed-Age, Babies, Rhythm Kids, and Sing Shalom classes. Click here to sign up.
Don't forget to enter our giveaway to win an Ultimate Back-to-School Combo pack from Mabel's Labels. To be entered in the drawing, email email@example.com with your full name, hometown, and phone number. I'll be collecting entries until September 15th.