Over the past 12 years we have been privileged to have worked with hundreds of children and many many families. Here are some of our stories from parents past and present...
"Our child has gained a confidence in exploring musical instruments and she loves to sing"
“We love the routine of once per week of stopping everything and immersing ourselves in the fun, nurturing and energising structure of a Music Garden class. During class our daughter particularly loves drumming, any songs involving ducks and story time.
Our child has gained a confidence in exploring musical instruments and she loves to sing - whether songs from the Music Garden class, other favourites or tunes that she makes up herself. It's lovely to see how much she is enjoying making and listening to music.
There are also a range of non-musical benefits that come from participating in the Music Garden program, such as the subtle discipline of turn-taking, learning to be quiet and listen when others are having a go, the freedom to go at one's own pace and the enjoyment of seeing children's development week by week. In the case of our child, we appreciate the opportunity for her to sit with and interact with the instructors, as when she started she was very shy and only wanted to be held by mum.
All in all this is an excellent program which we have been participating in for more than a year now. We would highly recommend it to others.”
"It has not only taught Evie music related skills but also essential life skills.”
“My 18 month old daughter Evie and I joined The Music Garden last term after researching different options for a music class suitable for her age group that will be a positive experience for both of us. I found that most of the music classes for toddlers focused on bashing instruments and jumping around (which Evie was actually quiet skilled at), and we really wanted something more suitable for an advanced but feisty child like Evie, something that would satisfy her need for stimulation and structure.
When we attended I could see how interested she was in both the structure and the content of the class. Initially she found the concept of waiting her turn (she has no siblings) quite challenging but now she just loves hearing her name called and eagerly awaits. Her awareness of rhythm and tone has advanced dramatically in just the one term and this carries through to life at home also. She now keeps beat with any music she listens to and regularly interacts musically with us. I love this class and so does Evie. I can’t recommend it enough to people, it has not only taught Evie music related skills but also essential life skills.”
“The Music Garden is by far one of the most positive Early Childhood Education experiences both my children and myself have experienced"
“The Music Garden is by far one of the most positive Early Childhood Education experiences both my children and myself have experienced. Alina and Ester are so passionate about and committed to their “work”. They have such a wonderfully welcoming andcalming presence. No matter what kind of day you and your children may be experiencing outside class, The Music Garden is an opportunity to connect, to become absorbed in the music and everything seems so much better for having been to class. A very uplifting experience.
My children would look forward to “driving the light rail” and “painting a pink star” to the tune of “Mulberry Bush” or “Clap,clap clap your hands” every Tuesday morning. They particularly enjoyed playing the drums, xylophone and coloured step xylophone. They enjoyed the experience of starting young and continuing on until they were three year olds, of being in a familiar, fun and encouraging environment. They also loved seeing new faces starting – especially the very ‘new’ babies. And of course, story time. Thanks to The Music Garden we are the proud owners of some classic reads – “Dig, Dig Digging, Two by Two, Boo to a Goose, Over in the Meadow, Chikka Chikka Boom Boom” to name a few…
What impressed me was how Alina and Ester would gently and respectfully guide babies and children and encourage them to not only participate and concentrate but also to observe, share, take turns and listen. Wonderful!
I observed my children’s musical abilities, social skills and self-confidence develop – all through the clever use of traditional songs and rhymes to encourage instrument playing, movement and singing.. In turn, I sensed their self-disciplineand sensitivity increasing. Very importantly, through our participation in The Music Garden, my children have forged a love and deep appreciation of music.
We have begun the next chapter in our musical journey with my son now learning Suzuki violin (an instrument he first heard played as a baby at The Music Garden) and my daughter joining us for her brother’s weekly lesson. She too will have the opportunity to take up an instrument of her choice if/when she chooses. For now she is happy with her cardboard violin! I have and continue to recommend the Music Garden Program to others.”
"The focused time we spend together each week in class is time I truly value. We are both learning about music and each other"
“The shared time together singing the different songs and dancing around with the group has challenged me to sing and dance more with my son. This new confidence which started in class, has now moved into our home life. I now find myself singing and dancing with him at home all the time. I value the exposure to structured music education and he values the fun of playing the various instruments and singing and dancing around.
I have noticed that since we started that he has grown more confident in participating in the different activities. Whether it is playing the drum with the teacher, or singing along and counting the ducks, he has grown more confident in participating. He has also grown more comfortable in waiting his turn.
I would definitely recommend the Music Garden to others. The focused time we spend together each week in class is time I truly value. We are both learning about music and each other, and I look forward to sharing this time together each week.”
“My 2 year old daughter Lucia started her Music Garden classes when she was 3 months old. A lot of mums from mothers group or playgroup were surprised to see how good Lucia's speech ability was and how many rhymes she could sing. We also invited Lucia's young friends to join the class. Through the music journey, we are not only connecting with the music but also with our friends. Not to mention all the fun and the moments starting from Lucia's first version of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’...”
"Memories of this time with both children are so special, I would not hesitate to recommend these classes to anyone"
“I first took my daughter Hannah to the Music Garden way back in 2006. I had been given the recommendation by a mother I respected and trusted as I had no previous exposure to any structured music tuition. I soon realised that the classes were invaluable for my daughter as she learnt from a very young age to patiently wait her turn and then be rewarded with others similarly respecting her turn. The children were mesmerised by the beautiful voices of the teachers and also enchanted by the simple instruments without interruption and interference - this is so rare.
When my son came along 3 years later it was clear in my mind that of all the activities we would enrol in, The Music Garden would be the first priority. It was even more of a challenge for him to sit still and wait his turn and it was so rewarding for us when he got the hang of it.
One of the most magical parts of the class was the end when the children would all gather around and listen to the story books. The way the classic tales were narrated was unique and we still read these books in a similar way at home when they are selected. Our own rollicking renditions of "Where is the Green Sheep" at bedtime will stay in my heart forever. We had always read books at bedtime but as a parent to be given a demonstration on how to 'sing' stories each week was such a special gift.
Looking back I see that the children (and I) were treated with respect, taught to respect others, learn about music and most of all, we had fun. Memories of this time with both children are so special, I would not hesitate to recommend these classes to anyone."
"learning to wait, take turns, cooperate and follow group instruction has been of invaluable learning benefit"
"Being someone who loves music, I want to impart this passion and enthusiasm to my child. So joining other young children in the Music garden Program, allows my daughter to embrace music as a positive, daily, integral experience. Singing, chanting, playing instruments and using bodily movement allows my both myself and my child to share the joys of music in a multi-sensory way, while enhancing my child's understanding and steady absorption of music. My daughter is particularly thrilled and excited when using the egg shakers and colourful ribbons to engage in free body movement or dancing during the class.
As my 2 year old is an only child, learning to wait, take turns, cooperate and follow group instruction has been of invaluable learning benefit. For any concerned parent, The Music Garden Program nurtures a child's natural love for music and creative activity, while stimulating important auditory skills and the wholistic advancement of the child."
"There are music lessons and then there is The Music Garden that entwines your life with Music."
"When look back at the year I had my 6 mth old and 2 year old attending the Music Garden, it brings back such lovely memories. Where do I begin.
My son enjoyed the rhythm of music from a young age, but until the Music Garden, we had not found a music class that integrated the needs of an active young boy with music making and learning.
The structure intricately integrates songs with actions, movements, music scales, much loved nursery rhymes, as well as creative involvement from the kids in just the one hour. I could see the him wanting to learn, picking up more actions and words each week. It is the knowledge of music combined with early childhood development knowledge, that makes this program such a success, and succeeded in engaging an overactive boy into learning music.
My daughter joined the class when she was 6months old. There was no doubt, she soaked in every bit of it like a sponge. We still listen to the program CD everyday. She surprised me with her singing of a melody to the songs before she was 1. I like to believe introducing her to the Music garden at an early age as part of her daily life has ignited her interest in music: now she sings everyday in the car. It is a calming outlet for her after a long day (she stops her cries as soon as I put the music on).
I loved seeing the kids taken in by the music classes, it is really special to see how The Music Garden music class is so effective in communicating music to the kids, engaging them at a level so that they want to be there. I miss going to the classes. I have told everyone how amazing the Music Garden class is, and how life changing it has been for my kids. I urge everyone who has the opportunity to go, to give it a go. There are music lessons and then there is The Music Garden that entwines your life with Music."
"Each child is treated with respect for the individual they are and the unique way in which they each participate."
“My children and I have such fond memories of Music Garden. We attended from the time my first born was 5 months old until my second child was 3.5yrs, all up almost 6 yrs. Tuesdays have felt a little empty since we graduated from the program and I can't wait to introduce my 3rd child to the class when he/she is born next year!
It's difficult to describe just how much the children (and I) got out of the program and just how wonderful it is. There is a level of mindfulness and engagement that I found lacking in other music classes that we trialled. Each child is treated with respect for the individual they are and the unique way in which they each participate. A calm atmosphere and pace is maintained throughout.
I remember some of the difficult periods of motherhood with two little boys/babies - Music Garden was always the highlight of the week. I was so grateful for the weekly opportunities to pause normal life and engage in the class. On other days of the week I found putting on our music garden CD and/ or singing the songs and doing the actions with or without our own instruments the perfect antidote to the witching hour! The children would immediately calm down, become centred and tune into the music, even when they were very young babies.
It was wonderful to observe the relationships developing between my kids and the teachers Alina and Ester. My son Dexter would happily toddle over to plonk himself in Alina's lap well before he would do the same with his grandmothers or close family friends! “
“This is the place that changed our lives! Sounds dramatic - but so true..."
"Two years ago, I got talking to another Mum about music, in a playground. She told me she and her son were attending a music class a little different from other children’s music classes. We had tried a few different classes, and although he loved music at home, he wasn’t happy at allin the chaotic, noisy classes that we’d tried. He was really clingy and wouldn’t leave my side. Which I found a little worrying, thinking he may have had shyness issues.
A while afterwards I made my way to the St Johns Centre with Alina and Ester running the programme. From the first class, my son loved it. The orderly, calm way the class is run, the repetition of songs, everyone learning to respect each other and wait their turn. Observing and learning from each other, the pitch in which the songs are sung, beautiful instruments etc. Alina and Ester are absolutely fantastic keeping the children’s attention during the class. The progress ofthe children is clear to see. It's confidence and self esteem building as well as being highly stimulating.
My son absolutely thrived under this programme. He loved having his turn playing an instrument, no sign of shyness anywhere and was happy to wait for others to have theirs. He learned to play a drum beat, learned actions, counting, singing, dancing etc. Week by week there were subtle differences in his ability and confidence. I distinctly remember turning up one week when he didn't have many words, to him excitedly saying "like it, like it!"
My son is now 3yr old and absolutely loves music. If he's not playing his step ladder chime bars, he's playing his bongos, and loves watching an orchestra play live or on a TV. He's had 3 Suzuki violin lessons now, where he's enjoying learning to hold the violin & bow. Learning how to stand for play & rest and bow at the end of his performance! He is so happy to listen to the CD and so keen to perform with is cardboard violin every day! We're shopping for the real McCoy tomorrow. His interest in this instrument was self motivated and we followed his interest (gladly!)
From a small understanding of how important music is to a young child’s life, I now realise the full potential for a child who has the Suzuki method available to them at an early age. He's very lucky - I wish I had! This programme is used by a whole variety of people. It would seem that all are deeply touched by the method used - the benefitsfor the children are clear and beautiful to see.
I’ve also met new friends myself through this programme. It’s natural that we share thoughts, experiences and information about our children’s upbringing – which has lead to a different parenting path and education for my son which I’m ecstatic about.
This is truly a beautiful and incredibly beneficial start to any young child’s life. I really can't say enough and have recommended and referred friends and acquaintances to The Music Garden.”
"Writing a short paragraph in a book each week was great."
“My son started attending the Music Garden at 6 months of age. He really seemed to enjoy the music and social interaction from the beginning. One of the great aspects of the Music Garden is the age range of children (6 months to 3-4). In the beginning my son loved watching and learning from the older children. As he got older he was encouraged to show the younger children how to participate/behave in class. He didn't always excel at this, and for a while I wondered if it was worth it, but a few things kept us there: the help and support provided by Alina (for behaviour in class and in general); the friends we made (both him and I); and the knowledge that I wanted him to be able to accept and participate in a more structured environment.
Looking back I can see my son's development (ups and downs) over the 3 years he attended. Writing a short paragraph in a book each week was great. I got to note Max's involvement in class and other things going on in his life and development. I never seemed to find the time/space for things like that at home.
Max is now attending a different music class with slightly older children and is loving it. He clearly remembers the old songs and gets excited, sometimes announcing, "this song is from music!" when it's one he's already familiar with.”
"Definitely a highlight of our weekly routine!"
"Experiencing music through instruments, singing & movement makes so much sense. 'The Music Garden' is a place to feel the music! Children discover pitch, crescendo, loudness, softness & more by experience rather than being told words to describe what music is. I loved the approach that most of the time communication was through movement & sound rather than labelling. Artist Paul Klee said, "One eye sees, the other feels." This analogy follows through the Suzuki approach in this class "one ear hears, the other feels". The children get to feel the music because the instruments, singing and movement is integrated. It was so special to watch the children become more confident as weeks and months passed. Definitely a highlight of our weekly routine!"
"The Music Garden has contributed to my children’s ability to settle down and focus for many activities"
"I really believe that Music Garden has started Alice and Jeremy off on a path to appreciate fine music. Both love music, be it at school or in the shower. I often find them humming music when I least expect it. We are like the poor man's Von Trappe family! I really valued the opportunity to spend time with not only our own children, but also with other parents in similar situations gives parents a chance to exchange ideas on parenting.
Our children’s favourite things were the wonderful song and dance activities as well as interaction and introduction with musical instruments and objects. Reading time is just the icing on the cake and introduced the concept of rest to our children! The Music Garden has contributed to my children’s ability to settle down and focus for many activities, including school work, playing music and even play time. As a parent, I really cherish the memories from The Music Garden."
"I couldn't recommend the class more."
"I have loved the Music Garden programme and have attended with first my daughter and then my son over four and a half years. I attended several music classes before the Music Garden but none had the wonderful combination of real exposure to musical instruments and a balance of music concepts supported by child development principles and both structure and flexibility for the children attending. Alina and Ester are fantastic teachers, always showing kindness, interest and insight towards every child in the class. I couldn't recommend the class more."