North Austin center brings love of music to families
Musically, American children are years behind children in cultures where singing at home is common, said Carey Youngblood, founder of Heartsong Music on West Anderson Lane in Northwest Austin.
“There is nothing like singing together to bond people,” Youngblood said. “People are so in need of community and connection in America, that you bond with the group you are in, and it becomes a part of your extended family.”
Youngblood opened Heartsong in 2004 to help children and the adults who care for them interact and develop in a playful and nurturing musical environment. The center combines family music classes, community-based learning and Montessori-style teaching. More than 500 children come to Heartsong every week.
Heartsong Music’s best-known offering is its Music Together classes, an early childhood program taught internationally.
Youngblood taught Music Together classes in downtown Austin before opening the center.
Heartsong Music spokeswoman Stephanie Puente said the benefits of Music Together classes go beyond nurturing a child’s musical development; the classes also help support their physical, cognitive, language, social and emotional development, and help build confidence and self-esteem. Meanwhile, parents learn how to play musically with their child and learn how to understand and enhance their child’s musical development.
Heartsong Music holds four Music Together sessions, or semesters, throughout the year. Each session lasts eight to 12 weeks and features a new set of songs.
Each class has the same basic framework with hello and goodbye songs, a lullaby, hands-on instrument play, singing and body movement.
“Everything we do in class is designed to facilitate, nurture and support a child’s musical development,” Puente said. “We are trying to focus on creating musical experiences for the children as opposed to teaching them about music.”
Heartsong has three music rooms and nine instructors, each of whom must complete a three-day intensive training course and do a semester of observation and student teaching with Youngblood before running his or her own class.
“We have developed loving teachers that love what they are doing, love children and love the adults,” Youngblood said.
Registration and other classes
Registration for Heartsong Music’s eight-week summer session starts June 4, and the session runs from June 25 to Aug. 18. Families register for the same day and time for the entire session. Heartsong offers two makeup classes during the session.
In addition to the mixed-age Music Together class, Heartsong Music also offers:
- Babies Class for children up to 8 months old and their guardians
- Big Kids Class for children ages 5 to 7 that guardians do not attend
- Intergenerational Mixed-Age Class at which children age 5 and younger and their guardians attend class at an assisted living facility along with seniors
Families can sign up on Heartsong Music’s website and go to a free sample class.
Heartsong Music, 2700 W. Anderson Lane, 371-9506, www.heartsongmusic.net