Early Childhood Music

Why ECM?

CYM’s Early Childhood Music program offers children from ages two to five a wonderful way to connect to other families, enjoy music together and begin learning this unique language. Research and experience indicate that the younger a child begins his or her musical study, the more aptitude for success he or she acquires. This heightened potential can enhance academic skills as well as musical abilities.

CYM’s Early Childhood Music classes act as a first step in a holistic music education. They are closely connected with the first steps of instrument study and music literacy in their design, focus and implementation. Each activity in the classroom has a purpose, whether it develops impulse control, critical listening skills, musical knowledge, or a passion for music. Many activities function on multiple levels of learning, stimulating the behavioral, physical, neurological, and expressive aspects of your child’s stage of development.

Early Childhood Music at CYM fosters musical understanding using the same process as learning a language. Class structure appeals to the child’s natural desire to play, move, explore, and interact through movement and song. Activities have purpose and intention with goals but each activity is presented through a game, song, or movement so learning is natural rather than forced. Classes are precursors for further musical study as they provide the building blocks students will require in order to understand musical concepts.


What is ECM?

The ECM program includes two sequential courses: TODDLERS and TWINKLERS.

Your commitment:
Both Toddlers and Twinklers meet weekly for eleven months of the year with breaks at holidays, and comprise:

  • A weekly 45-minute group class featuring American and World folk music to explore harmony and melody and introduce musical foundations and concepts.
  • Numerous recitals for ECM students to attend and observe other young musicians perform to provide a good context for choosing the next steps in music study.

What skills are introduced during Toddlers and Twinklers?

  • Focus and control of mind and body
  • Critical thinking and listening skills
  • Ensemble skills and following a leader
  • “Feeling” music by sensing rhythm and melody and responding with movement
  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Early mastery of basic tonal and rhythm patterns


While your littlest one is not ready to reach for an instrument quite yet, their musical abilities will start to bloom within our Toddlers program– a weekly group class that sharpens your child’s perceptions and introduces the building blocks of music. In the Toddler Program, your child will echo the melodic and rhythmic patterns on a single syllable, such as “bah”; attempt to vocalize while playing or moving; demonstrate impulse control and spontaneously respond to music; listen to directions, sounds and peers with a still body and focused attention. Although there are no formal evaluations at this level, you will be able to note your child’s progress in this class. Children between the ages of 2 – 3 ½ share a 45-minute lesson with their parents and other families.

As a school, we have many entry points for children of various ages, but each successive step builds upon itself. There are milestones along the way, but not endings. The first major milestone for the youngest child is the transition from Toddlers to Twinklers. The biggest difference in these two classes is the independence required of each child. In Toddlers, grown-ups remain in the classroom and participate fully in order to help their child explore and share with other classmates. In Twinklers, the grown-ups remain for only a part of the class. This establishes an age-appropriate sense of independence. It furthers each student’s openness to sharing and creating without the immediate encouragement and safeguard of their grown-up. This milestone of independence is important in order to meet the expectations of instrument study.


Almost ready to begin their instrumental experience, Twinkler students develop incremental skill toward becoming musically adept. In the Twinkler Program, your child will show steady beat; move independently or collectively with appropriate balance and coordination; echo the melodic and rhythmic patterns with Solfege and Gordon rhythmic syllables; vocalize while playing and moving; imitate and discern the musical elements of focused listening examples. The parent is present for either the first or last fifteen minutes of class, depending on the individual instructor. The Twinkler Program is highly-recommended if you plan to enroll your child in the Suzuki Studies Program. There are no formal evaluations at this level, but if you have any questions about how your child is progressing, you can request an evaluation.

Children between the ages of 3 ½ – 5 meet in a weekly 45-minute group class that provides enjoyable music skill acquisition practice and opportunities to socialize with other young students.

When will my child begin learning to play an instrument?

Early Childhood Music classes are designed to move your child on the path toward further musical study, and prepare him/her to begin playing an instrument beginning at age 4 and beyond. During Toddlers and Twinklers classes, children are encouraged to explore different instruments to discover which one they may prefer to play. While completing the Twinklers Program, students go through the Twinkler Transition period. During this time, parents and students are welcomed to choose an instrument– piano, violin, viola, cello, or guitar- to begin studying privately. With the help of your teacher, students also choose to join a group class within the Foundations Program or the Suzuki Studies Program. Students may also choose to join CYM’s vocal program by entering the Little Voices group class.

The skills they have honed in ECM help to create and encourage an easy transition into instrument study and also provide a solid foundation in music literacy for the years to come.

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Get one month free on any new instrument rental when signing up or renewing any annual program.

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The Center for Young Musicians