Early Childhood

children in strollers

Even infants instinctually react to music and dramatic expressions. Indeed, an appreciation for music, dance, and drama knows no age minimum, but instruction on the performing arts for young children can have lifelong benefits.

3-year-old student Yuliana Gomez
These classes have been very important for my daughter’s upbringing and development. I don’t speak a lot of English, so the classes are a great way for my daughter to learn English words through music. Juana Sajbin, mother of Yuliana Gomez-Sajbin (pictured)

The Community School of Performing Art’s Early Childhood Program formally introduces babies and toddlers as young as 7 months to the wonders of music and the performing arts. Our classes target specific age groupings to best capitalize on students’ capabilities as they explore music, theory, voice, movement, and drama. Parents are welcome and encouraged to participate in the classes with very young children. Advancement is based on skill development so students gain confidence as they gain abilities.

One of the key benefits of our Early Childhood music classes is that our highly trained faculty help parents identify a child’s special interests and abilities for future class placement. That said, our classes are in demand and can fill up quickly. Wait lists may form, so we may add classes with demand. Classes are scheduled on weekdays as well as Saturdays and Sundays.

All group classes will take place online via Zoom, which requires a strong internet connection and computer/tablet.


We’ve created the Early Childhood curriculum to follow an age-appropriate sequence to help students prosper as they develop. Visit the Register page for general registration information.


Registration for Spring 2021 begins on December 7 for continuing students and January 11 for new students. Classes begin January 19, 2021.

Register for Spring 2021

Musical Minuettos (Mini Classes)

This series of mini classes for Early Childhood families focuses on the FUNdamentals of music: beat, rhythm, dynamics, form, pitch/melody, texture, timbre, tempo. Using engaging, age-appropriate themes, literature, and the world around us, families will build and practice basic music skills while creating a love of the arts, language, science, and math.

Calling all animal lovers! Join us in the forest as we learn music skills with the help of our favorite furry friends. Led by knowledgeable faculty, toddlers and families engage in fun musical activities and learn fundamental music concepts.

Ages: 3–4 years

Saturdays, December 5–19
2–2:30 pm

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Joyous Journeys: Musical Adventures through Books

Join us for innovative classes that focus on seasonally-themed stories paired with musical activities. Every month, there will be a new class each month with a different story.

Celebrate the changing seasons through music and stories! Led by experienced Early Childhood faculty member Mary Alonso, this three-week class focuses on building fundamental music skills using literature as an entry point.

These classes will feature books by authors Allen Say, Kenard Pak, Richard B. Smith, and Felix Bernard.

Ages: 4–5 years

Saturdays, December 5–19
2:45–3:15 pm

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Sequential Curriculum

Babes in Colburnland is based on Music Learning Theory for Newborn and Young Children, written and developed by Professor Edwin E. Gordon. At the core of his philosophy is “audiation,” a process through which infants convert sound to music, thereby giving the tones more meaning much like the spoken word is giving meaning as a language. Our specially trained instructors work with parents and infants to cultivate developmental listening skills with activities to help children absorb music concepts. Teachers design sensory experiences to fascinate and captivate children. As classes progress, infants move from being merely receptive to engaging in an active role.

Ages: 7–17 months

This family-oriented class encourages toddlers to become actively engaged in making music. Through the use of nursery poems and songs, children explore various musical traditions and styles.

Ages: 18–24 months

As toddlers gain more motor development skills, they’re more likely to want to move, and this class encourages them to explore movement through music and imagination. Teachers also work with the young students to improve listening skills through play, songs, stories, and games.

Ages: 2 years

Our talented faculty brings nursery rhymes, make-believe stories, and folk tales to life in this class designed for two- and three-year-old children. With the aid of props and small percussion instruments, teachers and students create theatrical experiences through storytelling.

Ages: 2.5–3 years

Each week, students experience a musical adventure, with singing, movement, and drama. Oftentimes, the children use small props and percussion instruments to enhance performances.

Ages: 3–3.5 years

Students are treated to games and stories that will trigger their imagination, individual expression, and language skills. They engage in exercises to develop body awareness, concentration, group cooperation, coordination, and balance. Activities utilize rhythmic verbalization, pantomime, dramatic play, and creative movement.

Ages: 3–3.5 years

Multi-cultural seasonal themes and festivals are the highlight of this class. Songs are chosen to reflect different celebrations around the world.

Ages: 3.5–4 years

Super Singers begin working on vocal techniques through games, songs, and stories. Our knowledgeable teachers help students produce good tone quality and improve diction as well as correct vocal placement and singing in the proper register. They also introduce basic elements of music, such as tempo, dynamics, rhythm, phrasing, timbre, and style.

Ages: 3.5–4 years

Rhythm helps give movement purpose. In this class, preschool-age children learn to direct their energy into basic rhythms and rhythmic patterns while also improving listening and motor skills. They’re also shown proper playing techniques for small percussion instruments used in classroom exercises.

Ages: 3.5–4.5 years

Classes are designed to initiate instrument instruction with a concentration on various rhythmic styles and techniques on Orff and percussion instruments. Teachers work with students to improve muscle and hand-eye coordination as well as a growing awareness of rhythmic and melodic patterns. Students even begin rhythmic notation reading. Creativity is promoted through improvisation activities. Enrollment in Rhythmic Styles and Techniques II requires Rhythmic Styles and Techniques I as a prerequisite or approval.

Rhythmic Styles and Techniques I
Ages: 4–5.5 years

Rhythmic Styles and Techniques II
Ages: 5–5.5 years

For young children, movement and music go hand-in hand, and these classes take advantage of that natural relationship. Students engage in Dalcroze exercises to help them recognize and understand the elements of music, including beat, dynamics, tempo, phrasing, melodic direction, pitch, rhythmic patterns, and basic note patterns. Percussion instruments are used during ensemble activities. Prior approval from the Early Childhood Music Department is required.

Ages: 5–6 years

The Dalcroze philosophy relies on solfege, eurhythmics, and improvisation, which our experienced faculty uses to lay the foundation for students serious about instrumental study. Class activities center on vocal awareness, ear training, and sight-singing. Other exercises develop musicianship skills. A kinetic approach builds up “muscle memory,” a trait key to the spontaneous musician. Registration is by approval only. Contact Mari Izumi at mizumi@colburnschool.edu to inquire.

Our teachers provide musical experiences with the goal of enhancing motor and ear-training skills, hand-eye coordination, finger dexterity, and concentration. Students also gain a sense of keyboard geography.

Limited to three students, this class concentrates on pre-reading exercises.

Ages: 4 years and six months–4 years and 11 months


The ukulele’s size makes it an ideal tool to introduce young children to fretted instruments. Our expert faculty shows them proper finger positioning and strumming techniques along with simple chords. As classes progress, students learn chord changes that lead to playing simple songs.

Ages: 5.5–8 years

The recorder is considered an excellent “starter” instrument for children interested in the woodwind family. In addition to learning tonguing technique and finger dexterity, they work on reading music in a group setting. Throughout the year, students build up a repertoire of folk songs, holiday tunes, classical works, and popular selections. Students have opportunities to perform solos and duets.

Ages: 5.5–8 years


Pathways through the Performing Arts

See how your child can progress through our age-specific curriculum, from Early Childhood to instrumental, drama, and dance programs in the Community School and Trudl Zipper Dance Institute.

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