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Early Childhood Music

Early Childhood Music Program

Come sing, dance and learn with your little one! Our Early Childhood Music (ECM) program offers classes for children ages 0-4, using percussive instruments, movement, songs and rhymes to help your child develop a love of music and an understanding of musical language.

Our ECM classes are offered throughout the school year, with class times available on Thursday and Saturday.

Q: At what age can my child start?
A: As early as you wish!

Q: What if my child is close to 4 years old or has taken ECM class before but is not ready for an instrument?
A: We are now offering a second level of ECM—called ECM2! To find out if this is the right option for you please chat with your ECM teacher or contact the registrar. Registration and fees for the ECM2 classes are the same as for ECM

Q: When and where will the ECM classes be offered?
A: Normally, classes are offered at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre (QEPCCC) , on Bridge Road and at 216 Third Line in Oakville.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ECM classes will be held over Zoom until further notice.

Q: How long is the program?
A: There are approximately 25 weeks of classes each year, with breaks corresponding to the school calendar and the OSA violin group class calendar. Classes start in mid September and end in May or early June.

Q: What are the expectations for parental involvement in the ECM classes?
A: Parents are expected to join in! Yes, that means singing along, dancing along and playing the instruments too! Not to worry, most of the nursery rhymes used are very familiar. With regular listening of the home listening recording CD you will quickly learn all of the words and melodies.

Q: Is there any practice/preparation required at home?
A: There is no home practice required, but we recommend listening to the recording as often as possible. Singing along with the recording in the car is a great place to start!

Q: What makes the OSA's ECM different from other music classes offered for infants and toddlers?
A: There are three primary differences between the OSA's ECM and other infant/preschool music activities:

  1. The OSA's ECM curriculum uses the same songs and rhymes throughout the entire course. Children of this age love repetition and we've found that by layering new types of musical activities into familiar tunes and rhymes, children progress effortlessly.
  2. All our ECM classes are usually of mixed ages. This is based on the Suzuki principle that children learn best from other children. Young infants learn not just from the teacher, but from imitating the older children. Older children and toddlers practice fine motor control and focus because they need to control themselves and move carefully around infants.
  3. Parental participation in our classes encourages both parent and child to be comfortable with making music together, and to enjoy sharing in musical experiences. These early experiences provide a strong foundation for formal instrumental study later on.

Q: How much do the ECM classes cost?
A: You can find the price of the current year’s ECM and ECM2 classes by clicking on the “Join” menu option at the top of the page.

Q: What is the OSA Membership Fee and what does the it cover?
A: The OSA Membership Fee helps to pay for our insurance, administration, and other concert costs. The OSA Membership fee is waived (i.e. $0) for all students registered in the ECM program (note, ECM members are not counted towards the multi-child membership discount).

Q: Where can I read more?
A: The Suzuki Early Childhood Education program was created by a world-renowned Ontario educator, Dorothy Jones. She developed the ECE program at the request of Dr. Suzuki himself, and it is now delivered worldwide. You can read more at the Suzuki Association of the Americas website. Scientific research about the benefits of Suzuki method early childhood instruction has recently received a great deal of media attention from sources including the Wall Street Journal and Science Daily. Our Early Childhood Music classes require a parent or guardian to attend and participate in small groups with their child.  Activities include singing, musical games, use of rhythm instruments, and the exploration of several orchestral instruments. Children who have taken these courses are much better able to listen and concentrate. Their sense of rhythm and pitch is better than those who start at a later age.

Did You Know?

When a family joins our ECM program, they become OSA members. This means our ECM families are welcome to attend our concerts and special events. Come and be inspired by the older kids!