Offering high quality music education classes to children in the Shoalhaven

Help develop essential music skills that make learning an instrument or singing in the future easier

Music Explorers classes support other aspects of children’s development including social, cognitive, language and literacy, fine and gross motor skills. They’re also engaging and fun! The classes are:

  • Developmentally appropriate
  • Draw upon children’s natural learning styles
  • Informed by evidence and recognised best practice in music education
  • Holistic, welcoming and inclusive.

Our Classes

Mini-Music Explorers

Babies (6-24 months)

Cost

Per 9 week term: $90
Trial and casual classes: $12

The Babies group is 20 minutes of musical fun that supports babies’ social, language, cognitive gross & fine motor development. It includes:

  • Being introduced to the beat at different speeds (tempi) through singing, body percussion, playing the big gathering drum, and movement.
  • Playing social music games and learning rhymes
  • Exploring a range of percussion instruments
  • Sensory play.

Parents’ role in Mini-Music Explorers and Music Explorers classes

Parents fully participate in Music Explorers classes with their child, rather than sitting on the sidelines. This is because:

  • You or another trusted family member are your child’s most important role models
  • You don’t have to be a brilliant musician to be a great role model for learning
  • Having you close helps your child feel safe and secure
  • Music making for young children is social and playful
  • The classes also provide time out from busy schedules, quality time for parents and children to enjoy a unique shared experience and learn alongside each other.

Mini-Music Explorers

Toddlers (20 months – 3 ½ years)

Cost

Per 9 week term: $110
Trial and casual classes: $15

Although this 30-minute class might look informal and playful, a lot of real learning takes place. This class aims to help toddlers begin to:

  • Develop an inner sense of beat through movement, body percussion and playing musical instruments
  • Develop informal understanding of tempo (the speed of the beat)
  • Experience the difference between beat and rhythm
  • Experience, through movement, how music is organised into different sections
  • Discover their singing voice
  • Develop self-regulation and social skills
  • Develop musical listening skills that support language development
  • Experience music of different styles

We sing, chant, move, play musical games, play musical instruments, learn songs and rhymes, and make friends!

Parents’ role in Mini-Music Explorers and Music Explorers classes

Parents fully participate in Music Explorers classes with their child, rather than sitting on the sidelines. This is because:

  • You or another trusted family member are your child’s most important role models
  • You don’t have to be a brilliant musician to be a great role model for learning
  • Having you close helps your child feel safe and secure
  • Music making for young children is social and playful
  • The classes also provide time out from busy schedules, quality time for parents and children to enjoy a unique shared experience and learn alongside each other.

Music Explorers

Preschool (4-5 years)

Cost

Per 9 week term: $155
Trial and casual classes: $20

Play is still the vehicle for learning in this 45-minute class because young children learn most effectively through play. This class is however, a little more formal than the Toddler class. We continue to build skills such as developing an inner sense of beat, engage in movement, singing, and experience music of different styles. We also:

  • Start learning elementary musical rhythm notation (reading, writing, and playing simple rhythms)
  • Develop active listening skills through musical games
  • Learn about and notice patterns in music
  • Develop confidence in playing, singing, and creating music
  • Develop skills related to working cooperatively in a group
  • Learn more about playing in an ensemble
  • Create our own music
  • Start to learn about pitch in music (high and low sounds)

Parents’ role in Mini-Music Explorers and Music Explorers classes

Parents fully participate in Music Explorers classes with their child, rather than sitting on the sidelines. This is because:

  • You or another trusted family member are your child’s most important role models
  • You don’t have to be a brilliant musician to be a great role model for learning
  • Having you close helps your child feel safe and secure
  • Music making for young children is social and playful
  • The classes also provide time out from busy schedules, quality time for parents and children to enjoy a unique shared experience and learn alongside each other.

Instrument Explorers

School-age children (Kinder to Year 4)

Cost

Per 9 week term: $200*
Trial and casual classes: $25

*Creative Kids Voucher may be used for this class (children attending school or homeschool) – learn more

Instruments Covered

  • Recorder
  • Fife
  • Trumpet
  • Piano/keyboard
  • Violin
  • Guitar
  • Percussion
  • Speech, singing and drama

This 50-minute class is for school-age children (Kinder to Year 4). Classes will be grouped based on children’s age and year level. For children who are home-schooled, this class both meets and goes beyond music outcomes in the NSW Creative Arts Curriculum.

Aims

To develop foundational musical knowledge and skills that will provide a strong platform to learn a musical instrument or take up singing lessons in the future. This class also helps children (and their parents) to discover the musical instrument that they are most suited to and enjoy.

  • Children are introduced to a range of different musical instruments to helps children and their parents work out which instrument they are most suited to learning.
  • Finding the right instrument for a child is important because if children learn an instrument they’re well suited to, they are more likely to enjoy it, succeed, and continue with it.

Parents’ role

Parents remain with their child during these classes as it can be challenging to hold some instruments and produce a sound, particularly for younger children. Children often benefit from the assistance and encouragement of their parent. This also enables the teacher to move around the class to provide each child with more individualised assistance. It’s also good for parents to try out the instruments to learn how challenging they can be!

Testimonials

“Music Explorers has been, hands down, the best activity I've done with my daughters (aged 3 and 1). They love it! Allison is a wonderful teacher - kind, encouraging and fun, and I've watched my eldest in particular grow in confidence both musically and socially as a result of these classes, across the 2 years she's been doing them.

Allison is hugely knowledgeable and I love her insights into what the children are learning through the different parts of the class - we are incredibly lucky to have someone so highly qualified in music education providing classes here. Classes are structured to include instruments, dancing and the chance for each child to shine if they want to. The classes are small enough to not be overwhelming for little ones, and have provided a lovely opportunity to bond with my girls and connect with other local mums”

- Hannah

“Music Explorers is just as the name suggests! Our son loves experimenting with different instruments and opportunities each week with the wonderful Allison. The lessons are full of a variety of ways to interact with music, whether through singing, playing along or dancing.

It's the highlight of our son's week and watching his love of music grow through Allison's passion has been a delight. She brings with her such a wonderful understanding of the benefits of music to young learners with her high skill in playing a range of fun and interactive instruments. We cannot recommend Music Explorers enough!”

- Heather

"Allison’s considered approach, passion, and commitment to inspiring in children a joy and curiosity for music is infectious. She has taught my 7-year-old through several stages now and he is increasingly enjoying all things music.

He is genuinely interested to explore different instruments and loves to create his own music at home. Thank you!"

– Gai

"My daughter had lessons with Allison as a toddler which she loved and really brought out her love of making music. It was also a welcome chance in our busy weeks to spend time together and meet other like-minded families.

She is now 8 years old and really enjoying the Instrument Explorers classes. Being introduced to a variety of instruments of high quality in a small group setting is a wonderful experience, and Allison's depth of knowledge and way of showing them how the instruments are played by professionals (and in kid-friendly things like Star Wars) is engaging and inspiring, and also interesting for the parents."

– Emma

"Music Explorers has been fantastic for all my kids aged 2, 5 and 8. My youngest is enjoying interacting with different sounds and beats. My preschooler was laying the foundations to help with pattern recognition and rhythm, and my eldest is gaining insight into which instrument excites her most before starting specific lessons.

Allison is a fantastic teacher. The lessons are engaging, and progressive whilst also relaxed and encouraging."

– Amanda

“I have attended a range of music classes with my children, from toddler classes through to Instrument Explorers for my primary aged children. All of my children absolutely love coming to music class. It is a highlight of our week. Allison is a fantastic teacher. She is patient, kind and inclusive of all children. Her gentle and understanding nature mean that children feel comfortable to participate as much or as little as they want.

The music classes are always focused on fun and my children have picked up a range of musical concepts along the way. We truly love coming to music class and cannot recommend Music Explorers highly enough!”

- Laura

About Me

My journey into music education started as a child. I was drawn to the piano and taught myself to play ‘by ear’, later starting formal lessons, which I continued as an adult to achieve an Associate Diploma in piano teaching (ATCL). In high school I also learnt the trombone and played in every musical ensemble I could!

As well as an ATCL completed up to Grade 7 theory of music. As an adult I also learned the flute for several years and have recently started learning the violin for enjoyment.

Other Qualifications

I have a primary teaching degree and a Master of Education specialising in learning difficulties. I recently completed a PhD at the University of Wollongong, where I researched the effects of the ‘Tuning In’ music program upon the language development of preschool children. I have presented this research at a range of state, national and international conferences.

I taught music privately for many years and have been involved with a range of community music groups. I also worked as a classroom music teacher for several years. I took an unplanned detour out of education into the community sector, where I coordinated a mobile supported playgroups program. Through this role, I discovered how much I also love working with children from birth to five years (and their families).

I taught in Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra’s music education program Tuning In! from 2014 to 2020. Since 2016, I have worked at the University of Wollongong as a casual lecturer/tutor in the Bachelor of Education (The Early Years) degree, teaching the music components of arts subjects in this degree.

Research

Allison’s primary area of research interest is how participating in playful music education in the early childhood years affects children’s language and behavioural development. Other areas of interest are how children develop musical skills, early childhood educators' training in the arts, and the effects of growing up in socio-economic disadvantage.

Consultancy

Music Explorers can provide a range of tailored music education consultancy services for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. Allison is passionate about sharing knowledge to assist educators and services so they feel confident to provide quality music programs for babies, toddlers and young children.

Frequently Asked Question

Yes. For preschool-aged children, I have a wide range of quality tuned percussion (xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels) and untuned percussion (e.g. hand drums, triangles, egg shakers, woodblocks) that are used in classes every week.

From toddler classes on, I also provide opportunities for children to ‘meet’ a wide range of musical instruments (e.g. trumpet, clarinet, violin, guitar). School-age children in Instrument Explorers play the full range of instruments in the collection.

Yes, you can do a trial class for all the Music Explorers classes. If a friend who already attends Music Explorers refers you, you pay the lower “Friends rate” for the trial class. As a thank you, your friend will also receive a discount off the fee for their next term.

You can attend casually for all classes except Instrument Explorers, providing there is a place in the class you’d like to attend. Please phone, text or email Allison prior to the class, to confirm there is a place available.

Yes, you can. Some younger children will be happy to sit on your lap and if you wish, you can also bring something for them to do.

It’s common where an older child is enrolled in the Music Explorers Preschool class for a toddler to want to participate in the class. In this case, the Mini-Music Explorers Toddler fee, less sibling discount, is charged for the younger child.

Yes. A 5% sibling discount applies to term fees for the second and subsequent child in a family, concurrently enrolled in Music Explorers. Note that the discount is applied to the lower fee or fees.

Yes! Every child is welcomed and valued at Music Explorers. Allison aims to create a warm, inclusive, friendly and respectful learning environment where each child can reach their full potential.

Yes, the Instrument Explorers class is suitable for children from Kindergarten to Year 4 and addresses music outcomes in the Australian Curriculum.

Research

Allison’s primary area of research interest is how participating in playful music education in the early childhood years affects children’s language and behavioural development.

Other areas of research interest are:

  • How children engage in music and develop their musical skills and knowledge
  • Early childhood educators’ pre-service training and professional development in the arts
  • Development of self-regulation
  • The effects of growing up in socio-economic disadvantage.

PhD thesis – Making Music Speak

Allison completed a PhD (Integrated) at the University of Wollongong (UOW), titled Making music speak: The role of the “Tuning In” program in the development of preschool children’s oral language skills, under the guidance of supervisors Honorary Associate Professor Rose Dixon, Dr Jane Warren, and Honorary Associate Professor Irina Verenikina.

A description of the thesis is provided below but if you would like to know more, please contact Allison through Music Explorers or at acameron@uow.edu.au.

The Making music speak study investigated the effects of the Tuning In music program (TI) upon the language skills of four and five-year-old children using mixed methods approach. (TI was the music education program of Shoalhaven Youth Orchestra, which ran in the Shoalhaven region from 2014-2020.) The study comprised a quantitative quasi-experiment and a qualitative multiple case study.

Forty-five children, attending four early childhood education and care centres and educators at two of the centres participated in the study. Child participants at two centres received a 30-minute TI class weekly over a five-month period (TI group), while child participants at the remaining two centres received the music programming provided by educators at those centres (the comparison group).

Children who participated in TI music sessions were found to show a statistically significant improvement in an aspect of phonological awareness called Sound Matching (p>.05), as well as improvements in phonological memory abilities, when compared to the comparison group. These results were supported by qualitative results that demonstrated that the TI group engaged strongly in the music sessions, and showed increased motivation to speak. This was particularly evident in children with language disorders. Overall, the quality and quantity of the speech amongst TI children improved. A key factor that appeared to contribute to children’s engagement and desire to communicate was the warm and responsive relationships formed between the TI teacher and the children. This highlighted the important role that social relationships play an important role in supporting children’s learning.

Several music-specific “active ingredients” were identified, which included providing a range of music experiences to help develop beat and rhythm skills. Additionally, providing children with choice to participate in different ways was found to lead to increased participation over the course of the intervention.

Allison’s study provided a valuable contribution to literature on how music could be used in early childhood education settings to support children’s language development, which is an emerging area of research. In particular, music may be useful for children with language delays or disorders and could be used in early childhood settings to complement traditional therapies to support young children’s speech development.

Publications

Cameron, A. (2022, March 12). Music making at home to support children’s development. Play + Learn Together. https://www.playandlearntogether.com.au/play-blog/home-music-making

 Cameron, A., Gibbs, L., & Grimmond, J. (2022). Play + Learn Together Literature Review, Play + Learn Together. https://www.playandlearntogether.com.au

Cameron, A., Burns, P., Garner, A., Lau, S., Dixon, R., Pascoe, C., & Szafraniec, M. (2019). Making sense of multi-sensory environments: A scoping review. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/1034912X.2019.1634247

Mayerson, D., Dixon, R. Lau, S., Garner, A., Burns, P., Cameron, A., Pascoe, C.& Szafraniec, M. (2019). “She would really like that”: Identifying community needs in a multisensory environment. Progress in Community Health and Partnerships: Research, Education & Action, 13 (1),39-49.

Other research projects

Allison has also worked as a research assistant on a number of research projects at UOW, including:

Lead My Learning 2016 (Lead Investigator, Professor Valerie Harwood)  http://www.leadmylearning.com.au/about/

SMILE project 2016-2018 (Lead Investigator Associate Professor Rose Dixon) https://www.uow.edu.au/engage/cegs/project-showcase/sensory-room/about/

RevITAlise (RITA) project 2021-2022 (Lead Investigator, Dr Gai Lindsay).

Consultancy

Music Explorers can provide a range of tailored music education consultancy services for early childhood education and care (ECEC) services. Allison is passionate about sharing knowledge to assist educators and services so they feel confident to provide quality music programs for babies, toddlers and young children.

What can Allison help educators learn?

  • Music content knowledge needed for teaching young children
  • Developmentally appropriate music pedagogy approaches
  • Goals for children’s learning and development
  • Theories informing early childhood music pedagogy
  • Planning, implementing and reflecting on music practices
  • Creating a holistic music program
  • Music and the EYLF
  • Practical skills to develop confidence and self-efficacy in leading music
  • What research evidence tells us about the benefits for young children of participating in music

Allison can provide a range of services, tailored to your needs, including:

  • Professional development workshops
  • Mentoring and ongoing periodic support
  • Advice on building a collection of music resources and musical instruments

Allison presented on early childhood music pedagogy and research in various contexts, including:

  • University of Wollongong (UOW) Early Start Webinar
  • Early Childhood Australia National Conference
  • International Society on Early Intervention Conference
  • Early Childhood Intervention Australia (now Reimagine Australia) NSW Conference
  • Australian Society for Music Education Conference
  • UOW Early Start Conference
  • Paint the Town REaD Conference

Please get in touch to discuss how Allison can assist with professional development to meet your service’s needs.

You can read Allison’s blog on music-making in the home, published on the Play & Learn Together website.