We believe Musikgarten has no equal.
- Our early childhood program is expertly planned, executed, and supported.
- Our teachers enjoy their classes.
- And our students, well, they just seem to love coming to Musikgarten.
Musikgarten offers instruction which is just right for each age level – from your toddler who benefits greatly from being part of a live music environment, right up through school-age children who delight in beginning private lessons.
Beginning simply with singing, moving, and exploring rhythm instruments, we add levels of complexity as the children grow, expanding the singing repertoire, teaching more complex dances, and building instrumental ensembles. Children coming through the Musikgarten program inherently “know” the music they eventually play in later years in private music lessons.
Music and movement can have a dramatic effect on babies, toddlers, and older children as well. Some studies indicate that early music instruction positively impacts language and literacy development; others point to improved pattern recognition skills which are the basis for mathematical learning; still others reveal the social and emotional benefits of being involved in music. Given our long-standing reputation as the leader in the field of affordable early music education, Musikgarten can give your child a learning advantage for life.
Musikgarten’s expertly trained and well-supported teachers combine a love of music and an understanding of children and the way they learn into lessons that children and their families love using folk music and fun activities.
Musikgarten founders have been involved in early childhood music education since before it was recognized. Dr. Lorna Lutz Heyge has been developing early childhood music curricula for more than 30 years, while Audrey Sillick has been training early childhood educators for 40 years.
What’s more, Musikgarten is eco-friendly. Embracing the natural world is part of the Musikgarten advantage. Musikgarten works very hard to keep packaging minimal, desiring to get the material into the students’ hands, and to give them a place to keep all the pieces together. Some of our family packets – including instruments made of natural fibers – even come in cotton cloth bags. Not only is the packaging preferable in terms of aesthetics, it is durable, reusable, and not harmful to the environment in its production and disposal.
Michele Morrow has been teaching Musikgarten classes at the Rochester Conservatory since September, 2010. She has a MA in Speech Pathology. She is a certified early-childhood Musikgarten instructor, a Professional Cantor at St. Irenaeus, and the Children’s and Youth Choir Director at St. Irenaeus Parish in Rochester Hills. Mrs. Morrow has the voice of an angel, and her generous heart comes out through her voice. The young toddlers and pre-school students are mesmerized by her. She is an enthusiastic teacher and is excited about teaching the Musikgarten program. Mrs. Morrow is patient and adapts quickly on the spot to make her budding music students feel safe and comfortable. She understands early childhood development and excels in communicating with the parents the methodology of the Musikgarten program. Mrs. Morrow is incredibly approachable and you will often find one of her young charges sitting in her lap, enjoying the class!
Kay Ellen Wilkins (Co-Owner of the Rochester Conservatory) has been teaching piano at the Conservatory since 1988. She has been teaching piano professionally since 1984. Mrs. Wilkins has a BA in Music, Piano Major, from Oakland University. Mrs. Wilkins is also a certified early-childhood Musikgarten instructor and has been repeatedly recognized for the exemplary Musikgarten program at the Conservatory, one of only 50 programs to receive this National Honor. She has also worked as a Church Organist and Pianist and Children’s Choir Director, including 12 years at St. Irenaeus Parish in Rochester Hills, MI. Mrs. Wilkins has performed with numerous local Symphony Orchestras, including the Rochester Symphony Orchestra, the Pontiac-Oakland Symphony and the Warren Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Wilkins has performed with the Detroit Festival Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Twice Mrs. Wilkins has gone on a choir performance tour to Italy, helping conduct the choir at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, St. John Lateran in Rome, the Sorrento Cathedral, and the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi. Mrs. Wilkins is also in charge of the Michigan Music Festival, which involves over 100 private music teachers and 1000’s of students each year. In addition to managing the day-to-day activity at the Rochester Conservatory, Mrs. Wilkins really enjoys her roll as piano instructor. She is happy to be in the studio with her students, and you know she is in the building because of her bubbly personality and infectious laugh!
Lauren Munaco received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Oakland University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Ohio State University. Mrs. Munaco taught at the Rochester Conservatory from 2012-14 while obtaining her Bachelor’s degree and rejoined the faculty in June 2018 and we’re delighted to have her back! She is a fun, energetic teacher and knows how to get results. Mrs. Munaco is comfortable with students of all ages and abilities. In addition to her teaching, she is also a member of the St. Irenaeus Parish Choir and a professional cantor.