Children are the center of MYC© their learning styles and needs are met through a multi-sensory approach. The understanding of music will expand into positive problem-solving skills, areas of self-expression, the growth of memory skills and excellent self-confidence and self-esteem. With these natural outcomes children can easily take on the skills required to make them successful students in school.
In MYC, children meet in small groups, in their own age category, once a week for an hour, accompanied by an adult (parent, grandparent or caregiver) who participates in the program.
The program lasts from three to five years, depending on the age of the child, with each year typically consisting of 34 lessons. In their final year of lessons (Moonbeams 3) students are well prepared to take the conservatory Grade 1 Piano exam is they wish.
Development of ear training and sight-singing through the use of solfege is an integral part of the program. Songs are also used for expressive singing and to reinforce dynamics and the teaching of concepts.
Because listening is essential to musical literacy, each level includes listening activities ranging from:
- By-ear playbacks to melodic dictation
- Rhythm pattern identification to dictation
- Listening for dynamics
- Chord quality identification
- Well-known melodies and composer or style identification
Developmentally appropriate written materials are provided for each level as confirmation and review of rudiments and theory. Homework for the youngest learner might be a gluing and coloring task while the Sunbeams’ work may include theory pages reinforcing what had been reviewed in class and the Moonbeams’ homework might include note and rhythm notation, vocabulary, chord study, scale writing and simple analysis.
The keyboard geography begins in a D-centered approach. Keyboard reading skills are developed through careful, incremental introduction of note reading with constant review to motivate and confirm for the child his/her own developing sight-playing skills.
Final year keyboard includes playing grade one conservatory or late-elementary standard piano repertoire and folk songs. Technique, scale and full chord studies, ensemble playing and arranging and harmonization are emphasized.
A composition unit of study is included in each level of MYC. However simple or elaborate in construction, each composition is reviewed and the student’s effort is appropriately rewarded and encouraged. Creativity and expression are nourished.
Rhythm and keyboard ensembles are used throughout the course for:
- Reinforcement of rhythm reading
- Ensemble practice
- Exposure to great melodies
- Introduction to periods and styles
Program materials are specially designed and produced for the child’s age and development. The text is beautifully and cheerfully illustrated and exciting for the young child. Each text provides: singing, warm-ups, keyboard, listening, rhythm and keyboard ensembles and home assignment sections. In addition to the comprehensive student manual, the student receives a carrying bag, magnetic board with grand staff on one side and keyboard on the other, magnets, and a parent guide.
Parent participation in the studio is integral to the MYC program. By being present, parents become aware of their child’s learning styles, strengths and interests. And they can serve as informed guides in choosing further musical study. Parent participation in the program also allows reinforcement of concepts and skill-building at home. Parents see how the concepts are presented, and learn how to reinforce the ideas at home. Parent help during the classes is critical to the program; young children need guidance to find pages and someone to point during the rhythm ensembles. Also, the presence of a parent provides stability and security for the child, for whom this may be the first structured experience.