While you might think musical talent is something that a few people are born with, the ladies at Sandcastle Music Together believe something different.
“Everyone is as musical as they are verbal,” co-founder Nicole McKenzie said. “Music is just as important a form of communication as talking.”
Because of this belief and a deep love of music and movement, mother and daughter Susan Shaberman and Nicole McKenzie started Sandcastle Music Together.
Using activities that involve singing, chanting rhymes, dancing and instruments, this music program develops a child’s musical communication skills and helps families integrate musical activities into their homes.
This Santa Barbara program is a branch of Music Together, an internationally recognized music program directed toward children from birth up to the age of 7.
McKenzie stumbled upon Music Together after having her first child. With a Master's degree in violin performance, she wanted to have music be a part of her child’s life. Wanting something with musical integrity, she drove to Solvang every week to attend Music Together classes at Solvang Conservatory.
“The Music Together songs are just better,” said McKenzie, noting that the songs, while fun and kid-friendly, are musically complex.
Shaberman and McKenzie tell Noozhawk that young children are more receptive to complex music with different keys and modes. Because of this, the children in their classes are able to recognize and be comfortable with all types of music as they grow up.
“There is joy and pleasure that surrounds music-making,” Shaberman said. “When you go to a wedding, you dance to music. It allows us to be part of a community. It’s a birthright.”
Music and joy go hand in hand in Sandcastle Music Together’s program. At her mother’s suggestion, McKenzie shared a story about two girls who were in her class on a recent morning.
“During free dance time, there were two little girls who were just jubilant, and bursting with joy,” McKenzie said. She smiled as she continued the story of how the little girls played with “clatter pillars" and were moving to the beat of the music.
“They just really embodied what this whole program is about: families having fun together and skill building,” she said.
Click here for more information about Sandcastle Music Together.