Shelburne woman starts early childhood music programs
Oh Baby, you’ve had a lifetime to get the beat
Barbara Goodchild of Goodchild Music in Shelburne.
Dennis LeBlanc of Greenfield uses a tool to put up holiday lights around his bushes on a foggy evening.
SHELBURNE — Do infants “get” music?
Music teacher Barbara Goodchild says they do.
“By the time a baby is born, they’ve already had about 12 weeks of listening experience,” said Goodchild, who is starting an early childhood music program in Shelburne Center. “They’re already attuned to a steady beat — their mother’s heartbeat — and their mother’s voice.”
Goodchild says a mother’s voice surrounds the embryonic child, and that young infants “love to hear their mother’s voice on the outside” — especially in song.
“Everyone is deeply and profoundly musical,” she says. “We just need a way to let that out.”
Goodchild Music at Barberic Farm will be offering a new music education series for children ages 3 months and up, using “Simply Music,” an Australian-developed learning method that Goodchild says is “revolutionary” and offers a breakthrough in music education.
“Simply Music allows students to play first — and learn how to make music — before having to do the (reading music) part,” said Goodchild.
For instance, when a toddler is learning to talk, “You don’t tell the child: You can’t say that until you learn to spell it,” Goodchild pointed out. “That’s backwards.”
Simply Music gives children the experience of playing music first. In the Simply Music piano method, says Goodchild, the students already know how to play between 30 and 50 songs before learning to read.
“Note-reading is based on what they already know,” she explained. “The playing-based students are getting to the same place in half the time.”
Goodchild, herself, was taught to play music from reading musical notation, she said. “I couldn’t play without the written page. It had never gotten through to me I could do that.”
Goodchild said the learning is not by rote memorization, but by taking small musical steps. “From the very first steps, you’re learning what a musical sentence is — what is a musical ending? How can you put two (musical) sentences together? And can you make your own sentences and your own musical endings? By the time you get through the first book, you already have a wonderful set of tools.”
Simply Music Rhapsody, developed by music educator Lynn Kleiner for the youngest children, immerses children in musical experiences through songs, simple instruments and puppets. One of the tools, for instance, is a large 40-inch diameter drum that sits on the floor and can accommodate up to 10 children playing it together. Goodchild says that even infants can learn something, by putting their hands on the beating drum, and feeling the rhythmic pulses made by the other children. The children in the class can also get their own music-making kits, so that they can practice what they learn at home. Movement is also a tool in this music-learning method.
“Simply Music Play-a-Story” is for older children, ages 4 to 6, in which students are given musical sounds, styles, motifs and dynamics to play on a piano. Using these, they create “musical stories” to illustrations in accompanying lesson books and lay down a foundation of improvisation.
Goodchild plans to start these music programs in January and will hold free information sessions for the Simply Music classes on Jan. 2 at 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. — at either Davenport’s Maple Restaurant or at her home, at 383 Cooper Lane.
The first 10-week sessions for Goodchild Music’s Play-a-Story and Rhapsody Early Childhood Music will begin the week of Jan. 8. Classes cost about $15 per lesson for “Rhapsody” and $20 per lesson for Play-a-Story, plus musical materials.
For more information, call Goodchild at 413-625-8203, or email her at:
You can reach Diane Broncaccio at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 277