Southeast Missouri Music Academy to Offer Infant/Toddler Class

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Feb. 14, 2008 – The Southeast Missouri Music Academy will offer a class this spring especially for children, zero to three years of age, and their parents. The class, titled “Excellence from the Start,” is a spin-off of the Academy’s Suzuki program for older children.

The program’s instructor, Teresa Cobb, is one of only about 200 teachers nationwide who are certified to teach this class, according to Rebecca Fulgham, director of the Academy. “We are very excited to offer this new and unique experience to our area,” Fulgham said.

The class uses the Suzuki Early Childhood Education (ECE) philosophies, which are defined as “the realization of potential through active and reactive participation with all that surrounds a child, both before and after birth,” according to Fulgham.

“Like Suzuki instrumental instruction, Suzuki ECE is based upon two important assumptions – that every child can learn and that every child’s potential is unlimited,” Fulgham said.

“The uniqueness of Suzuki ECE is the emphasis on the natural development of the child and the rich, stimulating learning partnerships that are developed with parents, children and their teachers. The goal is to create an environment, free from pressure, in which children can develop skills, a sense of purpose in life, and an understanding of discipline and an appreciation of beauty,” she said.

“Dr. Shinichi Suzuki, the founder of the Suzuki program, said that all kids can learn if they are exposed to music,” added Cobb. “He believed it is not about talent; it is all learned. He also found that infants who were exposed to music through an older sibling learned to play much more complicated pieces much quicker than their siblings because of this exposure, which is the basis for the Suzuki Early Childhood Education program,” she said. “This coincides with the research coming out about the benefits of babies being exposed to music in the womb and responding to this same music after birth” she added.

Both parents and children will play a significant role in the learning process.“Since parents are a child’s first and most important teachers, both parent and child will learn through the senses and through social interaction,” Fulgham said. “The classes will create a musical environment filled with songs and rhymes that will train the ears and musical senses, and feelings of rhythm and the surprise of up and down motion with the whole body will be experienced.”

Musical instruments, including drums, xylophones, wood blocks, glockenspiel, egg shakers and dancing with scarves, also will provide opportunities for participation, according to Cobb. Classes begin Feb. 19, from 5:30 to 6:25 p.m., in Brandt Hall Room 112. Tuition is $120, plus a one-time purchase fee of $20 for the CD and handbook, which will be used in subsequent classes. For more information, contact the Music Academy at (573) 651-2378 or www.semomusicacademy.org.  The Academy is a member of the National Association of Community Schools of the Arts.