Each semester means new beginnings as a Music Together® teacher. We may have repeat families, or classrooms that are very familiar, but each new class has their own feel, pace and energy. You never know what “mood” each class will bring. 

This last fall, our center was invited to teach outreach classes through First Things First at Maricopa Integrated Health Services in South Phoenix and Maryvale; at first, I wasn't sure how the classes would work. Most of our families attended did not speak very much (or any) English (and my Spanish is horrible!). While this may seem to be a negative, it was really a hidden blessing. It proves to me and my families each week that music is a universal language, and we don’t have to speak to each other to make music together.

It DID work! We communicated in so many ways and especially through the music. We made eye contact, we mimiced each other’s behaviors, and we had fun together! We used big and little arms, loud and soft voices, and watched each other for cues. At first, the children were the ones communicating with me through touches, waving of their arms and loud noises. They would get my attention and mimic what it was they wanted me to do, and I always understood. Seeing me have such fun with their children encouraged the adults to do the same, and soon we had a wonderful community feeling and rapport with each other, even if it was not through words.
Our class experiences were a terrific way of proving that music can be its own "language"!! We sang vocables (“la la la” or “do do do”) and also the regular lyrics to songs. And when we threw in verses of “Jack In The Box” or “Mary Had a Red Dress”, it was so apparent that the families had been listening to the CD's! We even had English learning happening through music.

This way of communicating may seem like it was a minor feat, once we were in the middle of the semester, it was huge! I felt a deep closeness to the families, and had heard many (translated) stories of music making and musical behaviors of the children at home. The families knew all of the songs; they even sang loud enough that I could barely hear myself - which is every Music Together teacher’s dream.
Music is a Universal Language

from Laila Hirtz

Early Childhood Music Specialist and all around super fun human bean!