We got the chance to witness a M.int Seedlings class in action- here’s what we thought of it
We were lucky enough to be invited (along with our kids!) by M.int Academy to experience a Seedlings class in action. The class was a case of two halves and gave us an introduction to the 12-week Seedlings course (for ages 2.5 to 4 years old) offered at M.int Academy. Featuring 30 minutes of Elements of Music and another 30 minutes of Introduction to Orchestra, both subjects are covered over two six-week cycles, where the class meets for 45 minutes, once a week, from September to December. The Seedlings Class is just one of many classes on offer at M.int. No matter your musical background, there are classes in music appreciation and introductory instrumental lessons for children aged 1.5- to 7-years-old, and musical theatre groups for kids between 5- and 11-years-old.
When we originally heard the kids (as young as 2.5-years-old) would be introduced to classical music, we were a little dubious. We couldn’t imagine how the teachers would convey technical terminology to such young students! But we needn’t have worried. We were totally impressed with how interactive the class was, and how the children were moving and learning through play. It was clear they were going to be tired out afterwards (something we very much appreciated!). Teacher Josh welcomed the day’s participants, asking everyone to put their “listening ears” on. He then went on to introduce the term “largo”, or “laaaargo” as he exaggerated, to explain the concept of tempo and the Italian musical term for slow, and “presto” meaning fast.
As the little ones dictated whether animals were either largo or presto, Josh drew on a whiteboard. Suggestions included a cheetah, a car, a lion and…err.. even a werewolf (yes, that was our boy…). Then they were up! The kids picked which animal they would transform into as they pranced about the room to “laaaargo” or “presto!” classical music. As a parent, it was reassuring to see that Teacher Josh made sure that everyone was following, taking part and getting their own time to answer questions. There were more interactive games as the kids waved a parachute around to different composers (Rossini, Vivaldi, John Adams), mimicking the tempo of the music, recognising if a song was largo or presto. It was brilliant to see the kids so enthused and connected to the classical music, tuning their listening ears to the different tempos, especially one of our own boys, who was brought up on a hearty dose of heavy metal (from his dad) and R&B (mum).
Up next, the Seedlings explored the brass instrument family in Introduction to the Orchestra with Teacher Alex. Rather than simply having the kids sat in a row as the instruments were presented, Alex used the book “My First Orchestra Book” by Genevieve Helsby as a teaching tool. The story followed Tormod the Troll’s favourite orchestral instruments which perfectly cued Alex to bring out a trombone and a trumpet one by one, cleverly incorporating storytelling into his teaching. Alex demonstrated each instrument in fun and interactive ways. The kids loved taking turns sliding the trombone and changing the notes as Alex blew into the mouthpiece. It was riotously good fun as everyone giggled at who could do it the fastest. Each student also got the chance to practice furiously blowing into their own mouthpiece to experience how brass instruments produce sound. The session ended with everyone up on their feet once more, striding around the room to John Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme, reluctant to put their shoes back on and leave the classroom.
We couldn’t believe how exciting and fun these classes were, but mostly, how they helped enhance children’s general development, social skills and confidence, and build a solid foundation in music. We honestly didn’t expect to see our children so excited by brass instruments, especially our oldest who is obsessed with thrashing away on his Dad’s old guitar. Both teachers impressed us with how they used modern teaching techniques to excite, guide and encourage the kids. So, we were also pleasantly surprised when we discovered that both teachers are classically trained musicians (Josh is a woodwind pro and Alex a brass specialist, who both still practice their craft in the specially designed practice studio at M.int). So, if your kids decide to pick up an instrument when they’re a little older, they can continue with their Seedlings teacher, and build on their new musical foundation.
There are also a variety of other exciting and interactive group classes available for younger and older students, including musical theatre and singing classes. If you think your child would be interested in joining a Seedlings class or any of the other classes available at M.int Academy, email [email protected], call 35967094 or reach out to the team on WhatsApp: 9135 3010. To sign up for a class now, click here.
M.int Academy, 19/F, Casey Aberdeen House, 38 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong, www.mintacademyhk.com