What is Kindermusik?

There are a lot of early childhood music programs out there and many with similar names but being a Kindermusik educator for the last 23 years I have seen a lot come and go.

Kindermusik is an early childhood music program for children from birth to 7 years that nurtures confidence and joy through the power of music.  Using everything available for a child to learn, it addresses all domains through multi-sensory learning and by building brain connections.

Where Did it Begin?

Kindermusik is a German word meaning “children’s music” and can be traced back to the 1960s.  The founder, Dan Pratt, was studying choral conducting in Germany and came across an extraordinary program for teaching music to very young children.  His goal was to bring the program to other countries and in 1978, officially started Kindermusik in the United States.

Since then, Kindermusik has spread to over 70 countries with tens of thousands of children and family being impacted each week.  Kindermusik International, based in Greensboro, North Carolina, is the world’s leading early childhood music and movement program.  It’s sound pedagogy, based on decades of research, is built into every lesson and is built on family involvement and music making.

What Ages Does it Cater For?

Kindermusik programs are for children birth – 7 years.  By building a foundation from birth, when neural connections are being created at an unprecedented rate, educators see great gains in students across all learning domains.

Parents come with children until they are 3 or 4 years of age and then children come by themselves for the first 30 minutes and then reunite with caregivers for the final 15 mins of class for joint activities.

For the older age group (5 – 7 years) lessons are 1 hour with children coming for the first 45 minutes alone and caregivers joining for the final 15 minutes.

What Do Children Learn in a Kindermusik Class?

Kindermusik spans the ages of birth – 7 years so depending on the age group and appropriate developmental level, children are learning different things. 

You will find activities that grow children’s brains, that help with co-ordination, language, rhythm, musicality and cognition. 

Even in the baby classes, babies participate in developmentally appropriate activities like vocal play, group dances, instrument play (with baby safe instruments), sensory and tactile play and listening, all using music to open and build on neural pathways.

In older classes, children learn to read traditional notation, play a variety of instruments (including the glockenspiel, dulcimer and recorder) and learn to sing.

One thing to note is that even from the very first class for babies, Kindermusik is building life skills – skills that get a child ready for school and make lifelong learning easy.

In short, Kindermusik not only helps with child development but creates musical children who find learning across all domains easier because of their early experiences.

Is Kindermusik Expensive?

Expensive is a relative term and depends on how much value a person sees in something.  Someone might baulk at paying $25 for a haircut, whereas another will spend $250 because it is a whole experience, and one that they cherish.

Because Kindermusik’s model produces independent business owners, they have the flexibility to set their own pricing.  There needs to be that flexibility because of the variation in geographical locations, economies and socio-economic status.  As a result, Kindermusik owners do market research to price their programs relative to the area they are in.

Having said that, you have to compare apples to apples.  Things to consider are:

  • Kindermusik is a premier early childhood program, with decades of research and experience behind it. 
  • It is all inclusive.  While you might spend less in lessons, other activities require costumes, leotards, shoes, uniforms, sports equipment etc on top.  Kindermusik programs include all the take home materials in the one price.
  • Kindermusik provides take home materials that allow families to enjoy the benefits of the program, with the same quality, in the home environment 24/7.
  • Kindermusik is adaptable.  During COVID, Kindermusik educators quickly adapted their programs to online, but not recorded sessions like others.  All sessions were live and interactive, providing the connection that recorded sessions lack.
  • Kindermusik uses a variety of philosophies, recognizing that not one size fits all children.
  • It is inclusive of all children, including those with special needs.
  • Kindermusik includes parent education through activity statements explaining why we do what we do and through social media and email communication.
  • Kindermusik acknowledges that the parent is the best teacher and incorporates them every step of the way.

What Philosophies Does Kindermusik Build On?

You won’t find just one philosophy in a Kindermusik class but rather a beautiful tapestry of the best philosophies woven together in cater for every child.  You will see Dalcroze in the way they move, Orff in ensemble making, Kodaly in teaching singing, Alexander Technique in the freedom of exploration and self-expression through movement, Lev Vygotsky in the use of scaffolding, and many more.  Kindermusik not only constantly looks at what has been discovered but also what is constantly being discovered and uses the best at their disposal to engage and ignite children’s learning.

Their programs are consistently revamped, displaying not only the latest in child development research but their commitment as a company to provide the best.

The most important philosophy that drives every age group and lesson is that all activities need to be child centered and that the parent is the best teacher.  Kindermusik educators facilitate that by teaching parents about child development and how to help their child establish skills not only for childhood, but for life.

Is Kindermusik a Franchise? 

Although many people think it is, Kindermusik is not a franchise.  Teachers go through training with Kindermusik University and become accredited to teach the program.  Their right to use the curricula doesn’t not come with territorial rights but also doesn’t come with the hefty price tag of a franchise either.  Educators pay a monthly licensing fee to enable them to continue to have access to the curricula.  Included in this fee is a lot of company help including, but not limited to, a website, listing on the class locator, ongoing professional development training and monthly social media assets.

What does it mean to be a Kindermusik educator? 

An accredited Kindermusik educator is either an independent business owner offering the Kindermusik program, or someone who employs other Kindermusik accredited educators to teach for them.

In order to teach, educators must have gone through the training and accreditation process and demonstrated teaching skills using the Kindermusik curricula.

What does it take to become a Kindermusik educator? 

To become a Kindermusik educator you don’t need formal music or early childhood qualifications, but to become Kindermusik accredited so you can teach, you do need to pass a vocal review and submit a video of you teaching.  Regardless or previous qualifications, all educators need to complete training as teaching a Kindermusik class is quite different to other early childhood programs.

Training is available in each age group, allowing potential educators to really absorb the learning characteristics of the children and learn teaching techniques to make a class for that age group successful. Accreditation is passed for each individual age group.

This really helps when starting to teach. Trying to teach many age groups at once can be overwhelming so starting with one or two means an educator can familiarize themselves with the structure of classes, building a business and pedagogy.

They can then add age groups, expanding their business and be confident that they will be successful with the tried-and-true program.

This training is extremely comprehensive and very different from what it used to be years ago. Anyone can complete the pedagogy training module (which many do for professional development) and then the accreditation process involves learning more specifically the secret sauce that makes Kindermusik a leader in the marketplace.

Once accredited, there is a minimal licensing fee which includes lots of business support, professional development, marketing ideas, great curricula and more.

So What Is Kindermusik? 

For many families, it is the most important thing they do with their child in the week.  Through many households, children can be heard saying “Is today a Kindermusik day?”  Having over 35 years in the early childhood industry and a knowledge of the importance of music and the role of sound in all learning, I consider Kindermusik one of the best ways to engage and expand young brains and to make later learning easier.

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