Innovative music education program Let's Play Music has launched an online platform for its foundational music class for children from four to six years old. The platform will allow students that live far from a licensed Let's Play Music teacher to enroll in the three-year program that begins teaching music at a young age through play, incorporating music theory, piano technique, classical music, and ear training.
Let's Play Music, which was founded by Shelle Soelberg in 1998, operates under the philosophy that, to be most effective, music education should begin as early as possible, typically at the ages of four or five, in live classrooms with around seven or eight students. Classes are usually conducted at a licensed teacher's private studio or in a commercial music studio.
However, COVID pandemic restrictions prompted Let's Play Music to figure out alternative ways of teaching music. Let's Play Music also noticed demand for its results-based program coming from areas out of the reach of its around 450 licensed teachers across the US and Canada. According to Soelberg, these factors influenced the decision to bring the program online.
Let's Play Music created videos of the entire three-year curriculum, composed of 30 weekly lessons per year, for a total of 90. These were designed as an interactive learning model for one child at home, with guidance from a parent or adult guardian, who live more than 30 miles from the nearest Let's Play Music teacher. Each video is 30 minutes long and is supplemented with a 15-minute live online call with a certified teacher, which ensures that the student is able to understand the concepts and absorb the skills correctly. The online program also includes all the needed learning materials in a kit that will be shipped to the student's residence for each semester.
“While we believe that face-to-face classes are the best way to teach music, we realized that it's not always possible, especially with how big the US is. We're always looking to certify more teachers in the Let's Play Music method, and we want to make them accessible to every child. But, until that happens, we are offering the next best alternative by allowing children to access our program online,” Soelberg says.
Let's Play Music's online classes are available only for its three-year flagship curriculum, but it also offers two other live programs for children of different ages. The Sound Beginnings program is for children four years old and below and a caregiver. It provides a solid preschool foundation for the main Let's Play Music program by using movement, instrument play, nursery rhymes, stories, ear training, singing, and solfege. For kids seven to eight years old who missed the window to start the Let's Play Music program, there is the Presto program, which adapts the main program for older children and compresses it to two years.
According to Soelberg, graduates of the Let's Play Music and Presto programs are able to play the piano and can easily learn to play any other instrument. They also come out with a wide variety of musical skills and are able to compose their own pieces of music. She says that conventional music teaching programs have only 20% of students remaining after three years. Let's Play Music inverts this statistic, and it boasts an 80% completion rate for its three-year program.
“Let's Play Music is unique because we aim to capture the music learning window – when the child's mind is most capable of absorbing musical concepts – and we actually do something with it. Unlike other young children's music programs, we implement sequential learning and intentionally build on previous concepts in a way that allows students to fully grasp and play music. It's a very ordered curriculum that guarantees results.” she says.
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