FAQ

What will my child learn in a JamAlong Music class?

Based on Orff-Schulwerk music education, these group classes build upon your child’s inherent musical abilities to increase their basic music competence – playing in rhythm and singing in tune – as well as learn early music theory,  improve movement skills, and express through creative exploration. The main approach is through play, laying the groundwork to experience music joyfully.

Each child’s love of music is encouraged and developed through singing, dancing, instruments, drama and dress-up, and creative improvisation from within the inside of the child. Skills in singing, rhythm, listening, and musical vocabulary are emphasized through a variety of methods, appealing to different learning styles.

Children first learn notes in the Pentatonic scale through pitched Orff instruments (xyolophone, metallophone, glockenspiel, etc) as well as percussion (drums, wood block, tambourine, etc.) and sound effect instruments (thundertube, gong, vibraslap, etc.) Many of the instruments come from different parts of the world (shekere, djembe, gankogui, etc.) and lessons about some of the countries are included.

Throughout the session, there is dramatic play that brings alive poems and stories through movement, singing, and dancing as well as accompanying instruments. There is the use of props (parachutes, puppets, scarves, squeaking frogs, etc.) to help the music have a visual element. There is group and solo music-making opportunities. Children are also encouraged to improvise and create their own songs and dances.

In the year long program – with the first grade age group – they learn the names of notes and rhythmic values. They gain more control of the tonal instruments, playing more intricately with both hands, which then helps transfer to recorder that is introduced half-way through the year. The recorder helps to prime children for private lessons, such as piano, if the family chooses that direction.

Please see the Curriculum page for more information.

What are the Benefits?

Social Skills: Participating in a group, self-control, developing social skills, emotional expression, enhanced self-concept, as well as respect for self, instruments, and others.

Physical Skills: Movement exploration, developing large and small motor skills, increased body awareness, improved balance, coordination, and rhythm.

Cognition and Brain Development: Listening skills, sequencing practice, developing creativity and imagination, spatial awareness, problem solving, increased vocabulary, and the exploration of cause and effect through instruments and music-making.

Musicality and Music Appreciation: Children are primed to have more music appreciation as well as a foundation for future private music instruction (ie, piano, violin, voice, etc.). (Recommended at age 7 or 8.) When children enter the next age level of JamAlong group music classes, they continue on the path of tonal and rhythmic play with the addition of more organized movement (social dances, choreography, etc,), more advanced part singing, and music theory through recorder instruction. The recorder is introduced in the 1st grade class.

Life Benefits:  Not only are children encouraged to reach toward their personal potential, the skills gained through group dynamics and problem-solving serve them well in daily life.

What can I expect the classes to include?

  • songs
  • rhythm chants
  • dancing
  • drama
  • improvisation
  • children’s literature and poetry
  • creative exploration
  • instrument play – drums, xylophones, percussion, sound effects, etc.
  • props to bring music alive visually – scarves, puppets, ribbons, parachute, etc.
  • group behavior education and practice
  • Recorder lessons for 1st graders.

When are the classes held?

Fall 2017 – Spring 2018 Class Schedule:

Pre-K: 4-5 years, TH, 2:15-3:05

K: 5–6 years, TH 3:15 – 4:05

1st: 6–7 years, TH 4:15 – 5:05

Classes are 50 minutes long.

Classes begin September 21, 2017. Last class/performance is May 31, 2018.

Holiday Breaks 2017 – 2018:

Fall Break: 10/19/17
Thanksgiving: 11/23/17
Christmas: 12/22/17 – 1/7/18 (classes resume 1/11/18)
Day Off: 3/15/18
Spring Break: 3/29/18

Where are classes held?

All Classes are held at the The Nest in Grass Valley, located at 107 W. Main Street, Ste B.

Why does it take place over the period of a school year?

The program is carefully designed to encompass an academic year. This encourages the opportunity to delve deeply into the material as well as build a bonded group of musical peers. Music is also a performance art. By the end of the 30 weeks, the children are confident to share the material in a performance for their parents.

What is the class size?

Class size is limited to 10 students so there is individual instruction and attention, as well as peer experience.

How many classes are there?

There are 30 classes in the 2017-2018 school year with a performance on the last class in May.

How do I know if my child is ready to start JamAlong classes?

The readiness needed for the JamAlong class includes having some independence from parent and desiring more of that. Parents can drop off or watch through the window. Children also need to have some experience listening to a teacher’s voice and following expected behavior, being respectful of other kids, and having the body control to sit in a circle and follow directions. We work on this in class as well but it is helpful for them to have had some introduction already. Then we can dive more readily into the musical games and activities.

How do I know which class is right for my child?

It can be difficult to discern which class might be best for your child, especially those with fall birthdays. It can be helpful to answer the following questions:

• Musically, has your child participated in a group music experience like Music Together?

• Physically, has your child taken any type of movement classes?

• Developmentally, consider your child’s attention span for an hour. Consider his or her ability to follow group directions.

• Socially, does your child tend to have more interest in being with children who are a bit younger or older than they are?

Recommended Age Groupings:

Pre-K: 4-5 years
K: 5-6 years
1st:  6-7 years

How much do the JamAlong Music classes cost?

Class Tuition covers the academic school year. There are 30 classes total.

There are three payment options available:

Full Pay:

  • Paid in Full by Sept 14 = $700
  • Covers the school year, Sept 21, 2017 – May 31, 2018

Payment Plan:

  • 3 monthly payments of $250 = $750
  • 5 monthly payments of $155 = $775

Registering holds a spot for your child on the wait list.
Payment moves your child from the wait list to a confirmed spot in class.

Are there any other costs?

1st grade –  Materials and Instrument fees are extra.

How do I sign up my child for class?

Please visit the Register page.

What is the Homeschool Session and who is it for?

This class is designed for children, ages 5 – 7, who attend a homeschool program. It includes most of the material as in the year-long program. One difference is that it occurs for two 10-week sessions (fall and spring) rather than 30 weeks of the school year – and it is also a mixed-age class. The recorder is not part of this program. Instead, there is more emphasis on percussion. Find out more by going to Here to the Homeschool Registration page.

What are the objectives of JamAlong classes?

Socio-emotional objectives include participating in a group, self-control, respect for self, instruments, and others, developing social skills, emotional expression, and enhanced self-concept.

Cognitive objectives include refined listening skills, developing creativity and imagination, spatial awareness, problem solving, increased vocabulary, and the exploration of cause and effect through instruments and music-making.

Physical development objectives include movement exploration, developing large and small motor skills, increased body awareness, improved balance, coordination, and rhythm.

With the development of these skills, children are primed to have more music appreciation as well as a foundation for future private music instruction (ie, piano, violin, voice, etc.). (Recommended at age 7 or 8.)

When children enter the next age level of JamAlong group music classes, they continue on the path of tonal and rhythmic play with the addition of more organized movement (social dances, choreography, etc,), more advanced part singing, and music theory through recorder instruction.

What is Orff Schulwerk?

The Orff Approach is a “child-centered way of learning” music education that treats music as a basic system like language and believes that just as every child can learn language without formal instruction so can every child learn music by a gentle and friendly approach. It is often called “Elemental Music-making” because the materials needed to teach students are “simple, basic, natural, and close to a child’s world of thought and fantasy.” See this page to find out more.

When will my child learn an instrument?

During the Pre K and K experience, children build their Basic Music Competence through instruments from around the world (guiro, clave, agogo, shakere, etc.) along with Orff instruments of xylophone, glockenspiels, and metallophones. Recorders are introduced half way through the 1st grade year. If students continue through 2nd grade, they are well prepared to enjoy the study of instruments such as piano or a stringed instrument by the age of seven or eight.

Do you teach any family music programs?

I am a certified Music Together teacher and teach several class in Nevada County. Please contact Teacher Beth at Sierra Foothills Music Together for more information.

Do you conduct any local workshops or school events?

Yes. I provide music workshops for grades K – 8.  This can be a grouping of ages (for example, K -2) or a single grade level.