Music for Preschoolers

Parent Q&A

  • Music lessons / beginner

    (3 replies)

    I’m trying to start my son out with music lessons. He’s 5! (piano or guitar) I simply can’t afford the rate I’ve been quoted. I was hoping there might be a teenager or young adult who wants to earn some summer cash and pass along their knowledge by providing 1/2 hour music lessons to a 5 year old 1x or 2x a week for the next couple of months (and possibly into the fall) I’m open to suggestions!

    RE: Music lessons / beginner ()

    Please reach out to 

    She is fantastic with little kids. She was a preschool teacher for a long time and was my child's preschool teacher and is my kid's current piano teacher. Marianne can teach Uke, Guitar, Piano, among others. She makes music fun and is a great beginner teacher. Her rate is slightly lower than other teachers I have found in Oakland. 

    RE: Music lessons / beginner ()

    Hello, I dont know where you live but Crowden at Berkeley has beginning piano program starting in September. I believe they provide group and individual lessons.

    RE: Music lessons / beginner ()

    If your child attends or will attend Berkeley Public Schools there is a great program called the TMC (The Music Connection) through UC Berkeley. UC students provide piano or voice lessons to BUSD students for free! This is for K-8 grades. You can do it 1 or 2 semesters each school year. At the end of the semester there is a recital up at UC. The UC students are not necessarily music majors. Some are in Engineering, Computer Science, English, etc. but all have a love of music and have studied piano or voice for years. It has been great for our daughter who has done both Piano and Voice for several years. Find more info here

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Looking for music and dance class for preschooler

Oct 2012

My 4 yr old loves music and I'm looking for a class for her that will bring in some dance as well. I don't think she's ready for ballet -- something a little more loose and lively would fit the bill. Thanks! Emily

Our family loves music class with Viola's Notes in Berkeley and Oakland. It's fun for everyone, parents and kids. The music, movement, instruments and stories are all woven together around a common theme (Africa this class). We appreciate how creative and energetic Viola is - she definitely gets us all moving. Although at this age, some kids hang back and observe for a while, and that's fine, too. Moreover, she is the real deal, as both a conservatory trained musician and early childhood teacher. My husband and I are musicians, and it's a relief to have found the alternative to the canned, corporate music programs that have dominated the east bay scene for too long. Check out the website at Happy Music Makers

Great pre-school music teacher?

Aug 2012

Does anyone know of a good preschool music teacher who is available 1 day a week for 2 hours? My son's preschool would love to have someone come in and play songs, sing with the kids, and start them early to love and appreciate music, but we are having trouble finding someone. Any recommendations are appreciated! Mel

One of the teachers at my daughter's preschool, who has long taught music and movement sessions at the school, as well as visiting other schools, is leaving this fall to launch her business offering music classes to children. Her name is Viola Pelligrini and her website is She is a fabulous teacher and my daughter loves the music and dance activities that they do together. Her usual class format is 45 minutes, but you could contact her about something longer.

Music School for special needs 3-year-old

Sept 2011

We have a three year old son who has special needs - he cannot walk due to complications from two open heart surgeries. He is very bright and crawls around at his integrated pre-school and loves doing what all of the other kids like to do. He loves music and it always makes him happy and makes him feel empowered and good about himself. We wanted to get him into a music program that would help foster his sense of joy and complement his strengths. Other classes we have tried require the kids to stand up, dance, march, etc. Can someone please recommend a music school or even a private music teacher who will help foster our son's love of music and the strength it gives him? Berkeley Parent of a 3 year old

Ryk Groetchen teaches through Music Together ( He is a very inclusive, positive person. We did a total of about 5 years (over 2 kids) and he was always competent, tried to form community in the class, and is very experienced, fun, loves kids, has kids etc. Age 3 is appropriate for music together, but at one point he was also teaching older kids, not through Music Together. anon

Try Ian Wilkerson at ianwilkerson[at] or call him 707 480 7658. you can check his website out, too: Ian and I had neighboring teaching studios a while ago and the testimonials on his website confirm my impressions that he is a warm, caring, and wonderful teacher. good luck. Leo

Have you looked at music together? We took classes w/Andy Fullington at danspace in Rockridge, and there was a special needs child in my daughter's class for 6 mos. I don't know the exact nature of her condition, but she had severe physical and mental delays. Andy (and therefore everyone in the class) treated her exactly like every other kid. I think music together is a well thought-out program in general, but Andy really has something special. She is fantastic. Good luck finding what you are looking for. A Rockridge mom

Hi, I'd like to encourage you to check out Music Together, a family music program for infants through preschool age children and their parents/caregivers. Music Together is a developmentally-appropriate, research-based program that ''teaches'' music in the way young children learn best: through play and informal learning. Children are free to experience class pretty much any way they like and there are no expectations for them to participate in any particular way. It is an extremely open and accepting program and is specifically geared for all different kinds of learning. For classes in Berkeley/Oakland, check out For more info on the program, see the national website including this about children w/special needs: Full disclosure: I teach Music Together, but I came to the program as a parent and became a teacher because I loved it so much. eowyn

I can highly recommend Eszter Forgacs who does interactive music making and music therapy. I co- run a program in Oakland for newborn to 3 year olds with special needs. Eszther was our amazing volunteer for quite a while. I got to see her in action. She loves kids and loves to assist them in exploring music. Call her at 510-386- 2747. Or email her at forgacse [at] Email me if you have further questions. m Marybeth

My friend and colleague Ondine Young teaches Songbirds Chorus at Crowden Center for Music in the Community. The age range for the Chorus is 4-6. Ondine has a lot of experience with all kinds of children. She's kind, gentle, loving, a mother of two herself, probably the most patient teacher I know. The class includes small percussion as well as singing. Michele V.

Leonard Sherman is a wonderful person. He teaches piano and often brings in other instruments. I think he would be a wonderful fit if not now, in a year or two. I don't know if he knows of any group setting with other kids but one- on-one musically he is warm and creative and can work with anyone's particular situation. He realized my kid hates memorizing and practicing pieces and so they get together and improvise and compose and jam on horn and piano. One day my son will praactice but for now he is developing his ear and his musicality and he is staying engaged. (510) 684-6832. You can also Yelp him. Maria

Music classes for a co-op preschool

May 2011

I'm interested in finding someone who does music with preschoolers. I'd love to find someone who does unique music (not just the usual songs), and who gets the kids involved in making music. Ideally this person could come to our preschool co-op on a regular basis. Thanks for any recommendations. Music-seeking Mom

Stephanie Pepitone is a children's musician and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has worked with children and families in the East Bay for the past 10 years. Stephanie provides music enrichment programs to local schools, preschools, and developmental playgroups. She plays acoustic guitar and leads children, parents, teachers and caregivers in singing/dancing/music making. In addition to playing traditional children's music, Stephanie plays her own original songs which are fun songs that teach about the alphabet, colors, shapes, opposites, feelings, and lots more. She specializes in trilingual nursery rhymes (English/Spanish/Chinese) and classic children's songs in Spanish. She uses many fun props to keep young children engaged in the music, and she provides a large assortment of percussion instruments for a jam session. She's been coming to my program for about three years and it's the highlight of our week! Stephanie is also available for birthday parties. Her live music sing-along is a unique and affordable way to celebrate a memorable birthday. You can listen to her music, watch videos and learn more at She can be contacted at stephaniepepitone [at] or 510- 798-0246. Jan

We've really enjoyed working with Stephanie Pepitone of Rockin' Kids Sing-a-long at our preschool co-op. She brings her guitar and a big bag full of instruments for the kids to play. They love it! And the music she plays is really fun - most of it is original and the kids always rock out to it, dancing and playing along. She incorporates age-appropriate developmental concepts (i.e. opposites) and multiple languages (english, spanish, mandarin) in her songs. We have had her come about every other week for this past school year. We bought one of her CDs last year and my kids frequently request it on car rides. I would recommend her for any pre-school age group or school setting. I think she does birthday parties, too. She is based in Oakland, and you could look up her website to contact her. Mom with Rockin' kids

My son's preschool introduced us to a woman who plays guitar and is fantastic with little ones! She seems to know what it takes to get them to open up and really become enthusiastic about singing along, jamming and even doing the motions for some songs! She comes to his school once a week and our home once a week. Even when my son is ''in a mood'' she takes it in stride -it does not dull her enthusiasm. He is always asking to listen to her CD. She has a wide range of songs and is constantly learning, even incorporating different languages and cultures into her music. Her name is Stephanie Pepitone and I would recommend her highly. Her email is stephaniepepitone [at] Check out her website: Let me know if you have any questions. She has her own car and can travel to you. Kay

Jenn Guitart is the music teacher at my daughter's preschool, Duck's Nest School of Arts and Sciences, and she is amazing. She does a good mix of traditional folk songs, songs in other languages, and kids songs, but definitely not the usual ones! My daughter looks forward to the days when Miss Jenn is there, and always comes home singing! Her phone number is 510-759-5090, and her website is Anya's Mom

Music teacher for preschool

March 2011

I am a parent at a local preschool. I've been working with the school to find a music teacher to teach a couple hours a week. I haven't had any luck. It seems local preschool music teachers are very booked up. Any recommendations? We need a yoga teacher too. Please email me if you have a suggestion. Stephanie

My kids go to Vida Studios in Berkeley. Verna, the owner, is very nice, helpful and a great musician. The kids are learning different aspects of music as well as singing and recording. The classes are not standard music lesson, so the kids like going to their class and are excited about writing their own music, learning new stuff and experimenting with various instruments!. The phone number is 510-684-0884. The web site is Check it out!!! K.

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

More music, less circle, for 4-y-o boy

April 2008

My husband and I are new to the bay area and looking for music classes for our 4 year old son. The music together courses seem geared towards younger children. We are looking for less circle time and more emphasis on actually playing instruments and learning basic music theory. Any recommendations would be appreciated, preferably in Oakland area, though we wouldn't mind communting to San Francisco for the right program. kid needs to groove

I think Jon's School of Music may be just what you are looking for (although the location, North Berkeley, is not ideal for you). Jon teaches classes for kids up to age 6, and his emphasis is on basic ensemble skills using lots and lots of cool instruments. Among other things, my children have ''played'' cello, harp, trumpet, electric guitar, and have become really comfortable singing into a microphone. Jon uses very creative, play-based teaching strategies. They have SO much fun in his class and I am amazed at what they have learned musically. My just-four-year-old is playing real songs (e.g., Twinkle, Twinkle) on the piano, harmonizes when he sings, and can get great sound from a trombone. You can get more info at Liz O.

I highly recommend Jon's School of Music . My daughter who is almost four really enjoys it. Being a musician myself, I'm aware of the challenges of presenting musical concepts at this young age without it going over their heads. I think Jon does a great job of introducing musical language and ideas to the kids in a fun and entertaining way. He's got a lot of energy and can be quite goofy in a positive way. One other important point, they get a chance to play real instruments! Check out Good luck! Gianna

I would like to give a strong recomendation to Jon's School of Music . (

I have a young son ( 3 years old) who has done both East Bay Music Together and Jon's School of music. The Music Together was great and fun but we outgrew it. It teaches that one 'plays' music but there is not much true musical knowledge being imparted.

Jon teaches basic music reading and note recognition. He uses different teaching methods to reach different children's learning methods. For example, he writes songs to teach where specific notes are on the piano keyboard. 'D the dog' and so on. We rotate through playing real instruments. We also dance and of course have fun.

I am a musician and enjoy his classes. I think Jon is an excellent teacher.

Please make sure you give his classes a chance. He teaches in both North Berkeley and San Francisco. Edie

Low-key music class for 4-year-old

Nov 2007

Hi and thanks in advance for any info/advice that I receive! My daughter is 21 months old and LOVES Music Together. It's the only class we have taken and it really suits her. However, I have recently had surgery and will not be able to keep up with the class as usual, so we have decided to skip a session until I am healed completely and ready to jump and rock, etc. I am looking for an alternative class once a week or so, and it would need to be a class where I can sort of hang back physically, or at least not have to physically do a lot of lifting, dancing or jumping. Maybe art? She is probably too young, though. Is there a physical class (for her) like tumbling, etc, that I would not have to participate in helping her tumble much? Somehow I doubt it. She is a spirited, energetic and very physical kid, and wonder if there is something that isn't as Mommy and me oriented, although I'd like to still be present and active as much as is tolerated. Looking for ideas for January! Thanks! Anne

I HIGHLY recommend Jon's School of Music , especially given that your daughter has enjoyed music classes in the past. My now almost-4-year-old has been going since he was 17 months (and my daughter went from age 4 to 6). Jon is very creative and fun and does an amazing job of teaching musical concepts and skills to toddlers, and most kids just love him. And unlike Music Together (which we tried too), kids ''play'' tons of instruments (e.g., trombone, cello, drums, keyboard, harp, accordian). Parents attend classes too, but in terms of physically participating you could certainly do as much or as little as you are able. He teaches in Berkeley on Mondays and Thursdays. You can get more info at: (415) 971-5435. Liz O.

Our almost 5 year old boy has been going to Jon's School of Music in the Berkeley Hills for almost 9 months and LOVES it. He has learned a ton - theory, rhythm, and lots of really good skills for future musicians (ej watching and responding to the conductor and/or to the other musicians in your band, music symbols, notes on a keyboard). It is high energy and engaging. The kids get to use real instruments (cello, drum set, brass etc). In Berkeley on M and Th. In SF other days. Our 2 year old goes to the younger kids class and also loves ''Teacher Jon-Jon.'' Heather

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Music Classes for a 3-year-old

June 2006

We are looking for more interesting music and art classes for our nearly-3-year-old daughter. She's been doing music classes like Kindermusik and Music Together since she was wee, and it seems as though she is ready to start making music in addition to enjoying it. We need something else.

With my 2- and 4-year-olds I've been attending Jon's School of Music classes for almost a year and I think they are just what you are looking for. My kids play (or play with) a variety of instruments and are learning so much about the fundamentals of music. Jon's teaching methods are highly creative and fun for everyone. Check him out at Liz O.

Music class for 4 year old

Aug 2005

My 4 yr old seems to be showing a major interest in singing. She seems to learn words and tunes very easily and really enjoys performing for family and friends and will even sing in front of her class at daycare. I have been encouraging her at home and even though my family performs together quite often, we have no formal music training or experience. Any suggestions on classes (not too expensive) etc at this age will be really appreciated. anon

I highly, HIGHLY recommend Sandi Morey's group Sing Thing for your child and your family. My family has been attending Sing Thing for almost 2 years, and it has been a wonderful family event for us. My children (now 4 and 6) get in their pajamas early in anticipation of singing, but also of seeing Sandi, her husband Shim, and the many warm people at Sing Thing---some of whom have been singing with Sandi since 1975 when she first started the group!!!

Sing Thing is a weekly family-oriented group for anyone who enjoys singing, and is a great opportunity to meet other families who enjoy making music. No musical experience is necessary. In Sing Thing, we learn rounds, part-singing, songs in a variety of languages from a variety of cultures, sea shanteys, work songs, and songs that are REALLY fun to sing. My family now has a repetoire of rich songs that we can sing together as a family, and my children have taken great leaps in both their musical interests and abilities.

Sing Thing has ended for the school year, but will resume again in October of this year. There are two nights of Sing Thing, one in Oakland on Tuesday 7:30-8:30PM, and one in Albany on Wednesday, 7:30-8:30PM. For more information, see :-)

Music class for 4 year old

Aug 2005

I am looking for a recommendation for a music class appropriate for a 4 year old. I have checked the website and most recommendations are a few years old and are for music together, kindermusik etc. We have taken the music together classes, but being almost 4 years old, I feel my son has outgrown those. Last semester most of the other kids in his class could barely walk and I'm looking for a class with kids his age. I know that Music Together is just starting an older kids class at Danspace on Sundays, but I am looking for a class on Fridays since I don't work on Fridays. I remember reading something somewhere about Jon's or Jona's classes in Berkeley that include using instruments, but couldn't find it on the website. Andrea

My 4 year old loves music--singing, dancing, listening, playing (in his own fashion) and we want to encourage him. He seems to have outgrown music together, and we wondered what else is out there. The other catch is that we can't take him to anything during the workday, so we're looking for something on weekends or after 5:30 pm during the week. Movement classes or places where music and movement are combined (not necessarily structured very much!) would be the best as he has lots of happy energy. Though other things which would be good for someone (maybe singing?) his age we'd love to hear about too, we're pretty ignorant. The website postings are old and we'd love an update. Thanks! jcohn

  • Harmony Road
  • Jon's School of Music (5)

    Music class for 3 year old

    Apr 2005

    Hi, I am looking for a music class to take my son to on Mondays or Fridays. We live in the East Bay. Thanks. Charlie

    Ernie Mansfield is a music teacher in Berkeley, and is in fact a specialist in Music Theory. He has worked on over 20 Music Theory publications. Besides his credentials, he is also very patient, having raised 2 children of his own. phone number 510- 524-2055 and email ernie at Tom

    Music class for 4.5 year old

    Nov 2004

    I'm looking for a general musicianship class for my 4-1/2 year old son. He's too old for Music Together and not yet ready for instrument lessons or music theory. I'd like to find something that's fun (preferably movement oriented), emphasizes general musicianship (rhythm, pitch, tones, etc.) and preferably lets the children experiment with different instruments. I liked Nancy Denz's ''Music for Children'' program very much, but she no longer is offering it in the East Bay. I'd like to find something near Montclair or Rockridge, if possible, but am open to other suggestions. Thanks. Wants music mom

  • Jon's School of Music
  • Kindermusik Deborah Bonet

    2003 & Earlier

    Infant & Preschooler in the same class?

    Aug 2002 I think there was a discussion about this awhile back, but I could find nothing on the website: Are there any music, dance, or gym classes in the East Bay where I can bring my infant AND my preschooler? Loralee

    Recommendations received:

  • Kindergym at Temple Beth Abraham
  • Music Together (2)
  • Wee Play

    Music-Made-Fun 4 Kids

    Jan 2000

    East Bay Moms offers MUSIC-MADE-FUN 4 KIDS! classes taught by Ellen B. Freed in Montclair on Thursday mornings (10-11) as well as Wednesday afternoons (3:30-4:30). This fun, sing-along musical activity group is for children ages 9 months to 3.5 years with their parents or caregivers. Using a circle time format with musical accompaniment, the class incorporates traditional children's songs, finger-play, instruments and dance/movement as well as grown-up songs that appeal to children. Rather than trying to teach a musical curriculum, the goal is to instill an interest in and a love for all kinds of music and singing by making it accessible and fun for both parents and children. New six week sessions begin on Feburary 16th & 17th; the fee is $36/child for East Bay Moms members and $42/child for non-members. A registration form can be obtained from the East Bay Moms website at

    From: Denise (3/98)

    Regarding music options: Music Time is supposed to be excellent. It is the most expensive (about $15/class). Call 415-750-1166. Kindermusik didn't impress me much at the Albany location 1-800-615-5415. The teacher couldn't sing in tune. Kids In Tune offers classes through Park and Rec departments. Call 887-1304. Pacific Redwoods Music Together classes are offered in Berkeley at St. Johns Church in the morning (Julie Tannenbaum) 843-8641and afternoon (Nancy Hughes 597-9861). Neighborhood Moms also offers a $4/session class on Wednesday mornings at 10:00 I think in Berkeley lead by volunteers.

    After checking out most of these music programs, I've opted to hire a private teacher with several other moms on an every other week basis. I've found this the best quality for the best price.

    Date: Thu, 16 Jan 1997
    From: Steve

    This is perhaps tangential, but Albany Pool has a swimming class for toddlers in which most of the half hour each week is spent singing various songs together in the pool. As each child must be held by a parent, there is unfortunately not much opportunity for interaction between the children nor for unconstrained expression. Nevertheless, it can be a lot of fun for the toddlers. The class meets on Saturday mornings at 10:30, and I believe that it runs year-round, although it's much more popular in the summer. The park next to the pool has two nice playgrounds, one of which is tailored to toddlers.