Delightful. If I had to use a single word to describe my experience with Music Together of Charlotte, I would use the word “delightful.” From the beginning of the nine-week program until the last minute of our final class, my daughter and I were involved in a fun, stimulating, community-centered, and interactive program that our family will continue to participate in for years to come.
Prior to beginning our Music Together classes, I had the privilege of speaking with the founder of Music Together of Charlotte, Carrie Banwell. I cannot begin to express the joy that filled my heart as our conversation progressed. She explained that the program focuses on building and fostering a sense of community, especially for new parents! Specifically, I asked her to describe the community in a Music Together classroom. She responded by saying:
Many of us at Music Together have been or are young parents. We understand, as an organization, that the years when you have a baby or toddler are precious, scary, frustrating, magical, exhausting, and blissful. They are the years when you experience so many different emotions. And everyone doubts themselves as moms and dads because they are new at it! So, our hope is that from the time families walk in the door of a Music Together class until the minute they leave, they feel supported, understood and treasured. We hope they rejoice in forty-five minutes of singing, laughing, dancing, being silly, being with people that are going through the same things they are, and that they feel a genuine sense of community with all the other families in the room. –Carrie Banwell, Music Together of Charlotte
This was beyond exciting to hear for numerous reasons. First, I was absolutely feeling ALL the “feels” as a new mom. Second, I was in the process of building and fostering new relationships with other new or first-time moms. Ultimately, I was searching for age appropriate, meaningful activities for my then-seven-month-old daughter and an environment that would meet both our needs.
During the first class, the teacher, Melissa Powell, and fellow parents greeted us warmly, welcoming us into this new community. My daughter, Zoey, was both interested in the environment and intrigued by this new community of parents, children, and music. We were given a book full of the curriculum activities and a CD with ALL the music that would be utilized for the 9-week music program. In the book, we found TONS of fun and interesting ways to use this new music at home, which aligned with the curriculum in each class.
Melissa Powell, or “Ms. Melissa”, goes above and beyond with every class. Melissa, who has been teaching Music Together for ten years, would check-in each week, both in class and via email, to give the parents ways to encourage our children to continue exploring music at home. It is obvious that the teachers love what they do, and Melissa does it so very well. She made so many real-life connections between the children and musical concepts that were being taught. This seemed effortless to her and it did not surprise me to learn that her three children had participated in the program as well. Not to mention, my daughter and all of the children in our class absolutely adored her!
Each week was just as incredible as the previous week. We had the opportunity to play with different aspects of music, such as, singing rounds, dancing, matching pitch, creating rhythms, or singing simple melodies back to Ms. Melissa. It amazed me how interactive each class was. Zoey had an opportunity to explore this new world around her in every way possible. She was given the opportunity to play instruments for EVERY class. As she became more comfortable, I found she would venture away from me to “visit” the other parents and children. This was the case with all the children. As the weeks progressed, I found myself interacting with everyone in the class and feeling a closer bond within our group. It was as if we had a music family.
Needless to say, I cannot recommend this program to other parents, especially first-time mothers, highly enough! Whether or not you feel that you are musical, you can absolutely advocate for your child to begin a journey that will ensure a love of music for life. The best way to learn what Music Together is really about is through experiencing it!
Registration for the Winter session classes is happening now! Music Together of Charlotte offers Mixed Age (birth-5 years) and Babies (non-crawlers) classes at 9 different locations throughout the greater Charlotte area. Spaces fill very quickly and I would encourage everyone to visit the Music Together of Charlotte website for more details! Click here to register for classes.
Happy Music Making!
Music Together of Charlotte