As the strains of Hawaiian beach music filled the air, Vonda Darr asked a group of preschoolers and their moms to use their imaginations and pretend to be octopi.
Kindermusik instructors lead a class of children at the Vineyard Church on Parrish Rd. Fall Kindermusik classes begin Sept. 3.
Photo by Charmain Z. Brackett
In rhythm with the music, they moved their arms up and down and side to side. Darr teaches children and their parents about music, fine arts and more through a national program called Kindermusik.
The fall session of Kindermusik begins on Sept. 3; the registration deadline is Aug. 22.
"We do fingerplays, storytime, focus listening," said Darr, a licensed Kindermusik instructor and harpist for the Augusta Symphony.
Kindermusik is a program for children from birth to age 7. The fall session lasts 15 weeks with weekly classes ranging from 45 minutes to an hour depending on the child's age. Classes are held at The Vineyard Church, which is off Fury's Ferry Road on Parrish Road.
Kindermusik isn't just about singing songs and possibly learning to play an instrument; the music helps stimulate a child's development in other areas as well.
"It helps them develop language skills and motor skills," she said.
With infants and toddlers, children can learn to associate high and low by the word "high" being sung at a higher level than the word "low" is sung. Many of the songs are action songs. Children sing about things they are doing such as swaying, galloping, clapping, leaping, swinging and walking. This helps expand their vocabulary.
Three-year-old Chandler Lowe of Evans has been in Kindermusik classes since she was about 18-months-old.
"It exposes her to different types of music," said her mother, Elise Lowe. "With the rhythm and music, I think she learned to talk a little earlier."
The classes are divided according to age groups. In the earlier classes, there are simple exercises the parents and children do together. Parents also receive a take home materials such as a CD to practice the concepts learned in the class.
As children get older, the parents aren't in the entire class, giving more time for the children to work with the instructor and the group.
The older children learn musical concepts and terms and experiment with instruments such as the glockenspiel, dulcimer and recorder.
"It's pre formal music training," Darr said.
The summer session was a condensed program of five weeks with hour-long classes. It was so popular this summer Darr had to add an additional class. Summer classes ended on Aug. 14.
Parents took advantage of the short session to see if it was something their children would be interested in.
"She loves to sing and watch sing along videos. I thought she would enjoy it," said Shannon Walden of her two and a half year old daughter, Anna Faith, who was in Kindermusik for the first time this summer.
"She looked working to coming each week," said Walden of Evans, who added they would probably sign up again.
Fall classes will be held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Tuition and take home materials for the 15 weeks range from $185 to $225. Flexible payment options are available.
For more information about the classes offered, call Darr at 228-5108 or visit her website at www.vondadarr.com. For more on Kindermusik, visit www.kindermusik.com.
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