Saturday, September 29, 2012

Music Together (Schoolhouse Crew Review)


The first time I listened to our new Music Together CD, I immediately flashed back about three years (and all the way across the country).

When Lauren was in the hospital waiting for her heart transplant, one of the most normal parts of our week was music therapy -- either a private session for just Lauren or the group preschool music class that the music therapist offered for all of the patients on the cardiac floor.

Interesting side note: When I started looking at the Music Together website, I noticed a familiar face talking about Music Together in Therapy -- Lauren's beloved music therapist from her days at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

I know how much Lauren loved the music when she was three years old, and I wondered how she'd react when she received the new CD as a six year old. I put the Family Favorites CD into a portable DVD player so that Lauren could hear the music, and she immediately grabbed the Songbook for Teachers.

The songs that Music Together has collected in its Family Favorites collection are just as popular with Lauren now that she's six as they were when she was three.

One thing I've always loved about the Music Together songs is the way they allow all children to participate and contribute. The "Hello song" greets each person by name and then the "Goodbye, So Long, Farewell" song at the end also includes names. Many of the songs are flexible enough to add in additional verses with different variations. One afternoon, we were singing a song that we changed to be "Screech! Screech! Addison in the car, you better watch out today!" We frequently change the "Stick Tune" from "let's all click our sticks today" to clap our hands or tap our toes or whatever. Most of the songs are intended to be used with simple rhythm instruments, and Lauren has a blast performing at home with some inexpensive instruments I bought. We also love putting the CD in the car so that we can sing along while we're driving across town.

From a teacher standpoint, I find lots of educational opportunities in these materials. I know the benefits of any type of music instruction, but I can see specific skills developed while singing along with the songs. Several of the songs repeat a specific letter sound throughout. One of the catchiest tunes in the collection is "Biddy Biddy," which is also sung using words to practice the /d/ sound and the /l/ sound. It would be a perfect fun way for a child to practice specific speech sounds that are difficult to pronounce correctly. Now that Lauren's learning to read, I see her getting lots of great reading practice as she tries to follow along in the sheet music from the Teacher Workbook.

Basic Information:
PhotobucketThe CD includes 19 of the best-loved Music Together songs. Samples of all of the songs can be found on the "Family Favorites" CD page.  The CD costs $14.95. Alternatively, you can download individual tracks for $.99 each or the entire album for $9.99.

The Songbook for Teachers contains 112 pages of music and teaching suggestions for each of the songs on the Family Favorites CD and costs $29.95.

The Music Together Family Favorites CD and Songbook Combo is available for a special price of $39.95 (a $5 discount). If you use the coupon code "Schoolhouse" at checkout on the Music Together online store, you can save an additional $2 on your purchase.

My bottom line:
The Music Together Family Favorites CD is definitely one of Lauren's favorites, and I cannot think of a better way to let a young child experience music than to use the Music Together materials.

Disclaimer: I received a Family Favorites Songbook and CD set as a member of the 2012 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, and I received no other compensation. In return, I agreed to give an honest review of the materials and how they worked for my homeschool family.


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