Musikgarten debuts at Signal Crest Feb. 11

Musikgarten debuts at Signal Crest Feb. 11

February 10th, 2011 by Katie Ward in Community Signal Mountain

Signal Mountain toddlers will soon be able to hear the sound of music at Signal Crest United Methodist Church.

Musikgarten classes for ages 2 and 3 will start at Signal Crest Feb. 11, running from 9 to 9:40 a.m.

"I believe it's the first time Musikgarten has been on Signal Mountain," said music director Allan A. Ledford. "It's part of our overall goal of having opportunities for growth in music from birth straight through the end of life."

Musikgarten teacher Heather Malone will lead the class of toddlers accompanied by a parent.

"It's a great opportunity for children at that age, when they absorb learning like sponges," said Ledford. "We want them to experience movement and music."

He said through a recent pilot program about 11 toddlers tried out the class.

"It was hugely successful," said Ledford. "Parents said even after the first week that their children would break out in song."

He said the class is interactive and hands-on between parents and their children.

Ledford said children will play music rattles, sleigh bells, drums and rhythm sticks along to Friends of God songs. He said it develops fine motor skills and teaches children how to move to the beat.

"Every single study proves that children exposed to music at that age excel in every academic area in school," he said. "I would encourage families to check out Musikgarten."

Ledford said he is an example of what it's like to grow up surrounded by music and how it can affect one's future. He said as a child at Woodland Park Baptist Church, he participated in the children's music program.

"My big musical influence was growing up in that church under that kind of teaching [from the late music director Joe Parks]," said Ledford, who sang in the choir and learned to play the piano. "I want all of these children to have that same opportunity."

He said learning music at a young age helped him earn a Bachelor of Science in music from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He said it also led to his career of teaching musical theater for 23 years at Center for Creative Arts.