Monday, January 28, 2013

Toddler Class Showdown! Music Together vs. Music for Aardvarks

Greyson taking Music for Aardvarks at 18 months

Before having a baby, I didn't understand the point of signing babies up for classes.  It seemed unnecessary and overly ambitious.  But when I had Greyson, I realized babies are sponges and saw how much Greyson got out of being around others and how much he absorbed through play and music.  My son is 18 months old now and he continues to benefit from the exposure he has in different classes, story times and playgroups.  He is comfortable in new places, in groups, with language, with music and he is very social and friendly.  Sure, a lot of that is just his personality, but I think the classes help.

Besides going to weekly storytimes since Greyson was a newborn, music was his first structured class experience.  The two music schools I heard about most often in Park Slope, where we live, was Music Together and Music for Aardvarks.  After taking a free trial class, we signed up for Music Together first since we liked the sound of their philosophy about music education.  Greyson was about six months old when he took that class and we enjoyed it.  We eventually took a free trial class at Music for Aardvarks, too, and signed up there.  I don't think there's much of a serious music education philosophy with Aardvarks, but it didn't matter.  The music was high energy and there was a lot of moving and shaking. 

Here are my thoughts on both classes, noting that the teacher is what makes the biggest difference.

Music for Aardvarks
-$175 for 10 classes (usually $325, but they frequently have promos, so get on their email list)
-If you sign up when they have a promo, which is often, it's much less expensive than Music Together
-The class is non-stop energy
-The locations aren't as nice as Music Together's space in Park Slope (I took the trial class at Spoke the Hub, which is in a windowless basement, and our regular class was in the lounge area of a bar while it was closed)
-We always had a guitar (either the teacher plays guitar or has someone play guitar)

Music Together
-$310 for 10 classes (no discounts for first time families ever as far as I can tell)
-More expensive than Music for Aardvarks
-Was boring at times
-They have a music education philosophy and the songs and activities all have a purpose
-A little more serious than Aardvarks (they'll call you out if you're late to class, that sort of thing)
-Our class was on Union Street in Park Slope and it was a cheerful, bright open space on the street level
-Our teacher didn't play guitar very much, but I think most do, so check if you sign up.  Guitar makes a big difference.

If you're thinking about signing up for a music class with any organization, I'd take trial classes and find a teacher with a lot of enthusiasm.

Greyson at 6 months taking a mixed-ages class at Music Together in Park Slope

1 comment:

  1. So great class! I will take my son to the same class too. Thanks.