What Level Is Best?

Kindermusik classes are designed by Child Development and Early Childhood Music Specialists to group children by developmental characteristics. Kindermusik is split into four different groups, roughly by age.While I recommend that a child be at least the minimum age to enroll in any given class, I recognize there are “transitional stages” where it may be more difficult for a parent to decide which class to enroll in. These ages are about 18 months, 3, and 5. 

It is OK to keep your child in a class that seems a little too young for him during these stages. Children can gain confidence seeing they have mastered tasks that others are still working on. Moving up too soon can lower self-confidence if the class is found to be too hard.

On the other hand, if a child is well ahead of her peers in most developmental areas, there is no reason why she shouldn't move up to the next class sooner. 

Our society tends to push for independence too fast. I encourage you to let Kindermusik be the place where flexibility and the needs of the whole family are respected.

The following categories may help you with this decision. Keep in mind that girls tend to reach developmental milestones a little faster, boys a little slower. If your child has special need, it is especially important that you think in terms of developmental age rather that chronological age. Children with special needs should be in an environment where they can be successful!

Moving from Foundations to Level 2

Around 18 to 24 months, a child who is ready to move up when they display the following

Physical
  • Improved walking skills, feet together, knees flexible
  • Beginning to explore a variety of traveling movements - run, jump, leap
  • Can walk up stairs semi-independently holding onto rail or hand

Cognitive
  • Reliably points to correctly identified body parts
  • Can follow two-step direction. "Come get a scarf and take it back to Mommy"
  • Understands what "one" means (vs. a handful)
  • Learning to use toys in symbolic ways (moving beyond just enjoyment of sensory properties)
  • Moving mouthing, throwing and dumping. Actions become purposeful and integrated
  • Can interact in a directed activity. Able to shift attention with transition. Initiates play with caregiver
  • Reliably responds to own name (refers to self by name in secure environments)
Emotional
  • Uses gestures and language to deal with frustration (as opposed to just crying or whining)
  • Sustains interest and attention in activity for several minutes. (Note: Not wanting to give something up can be a sign of maturation)
Language
  • Can express wants and needs symbolically (gestures, words)
  • Has vocabulary of at least 20 words. Receptive language is still stronger than expressive
  • Reading with caregiver becomes cooperative. Child will select book, sit, turn pages, relate to story and interact
Musical
  • Moves to music, perhaps to steady beat
  • Responds to rhymes and songs, recognizes familiar ones
Language
  • Can express wants and needs symbolically (gestures, words)
  • Has vocabulary of at least 20 words. Receptive language is still stronger than expressive
  • Reading with caregiver becomes cooperative. Child will select book, sit, turn pages, relate to story and interact
Social
  • Interested in what other children are doing
  • Capable of distal communication (ie, following verbal instructions from further away)
  • Beginning to follow implicit directions (Mom says "Time to go" and child gets coat or runs to door)

Moving from Level 2 to Level 3

Around 3 - 3.5 years, a child may be ready to move to Level 3 if they display many of the following skills

Cognitive
  • Knows if they are a boy or a girl
  • Can do matching games
  • Can name lots of animals
  • Knows triangle, circle, square; red yellow, blue
  • Developing divergent thing skills ("What animals do you like?")
  • Beginning to transition from concrete thinking to abstract (humor aids the process) Sits and listens to stories for up to 10 minutes
Physical
  • Has taller, thinner, adult-like appearance
  • Balances on one foot, jumps in place without falling
  • Holding crayons in pincer grasp rather than fist
Musical
  • Recites rhymes
  • Sings simple, whole songs
Emotional
  • Recognizes needs of another person, can be empathetic
  • Separates from parent without crying
  • Development of humor
Social
  • Recognizes the needs of another person
  • Turn taking becomes easier Learning about patience

Moving from Level 3 to Level 4 & 5

Generally around 5 years, a child is ready to move to Level 4, and displays the following

Musical
  • Sings a whole song
  • Beginning to match pitches consistently
  • Developing ability to match to a group's steady beat (ensemble readiness)
Social
  • Enjoys friendships and group activities
  • Shares, takes turns, plays cooperatively
  • Is affectionate and caring
  • Follows directions Has a sense of humor
  • Better self-control, fewer dramatic swings of emotion
Physical
  • Can jump forward many times in a row, hops, gallops, is learning to skip
  • Demonstrates control of pencil or marker Hand dominance is evident
Emotional
  • Impulse control is emerging and developing
  • Exhibits self-confidence and reliability
  • Growing sense of right and wrong
  • Beginning to see things from another's perspective

Ready for Private Music Lessons?

As a general rule, children are not ready for the disciplined training of formal musical instruction until at least age 6 or 7. Most children of this age want to 'play' instruments, but don't want to practice lessons regularly.Although aptitude varies among individuals, all children have the ability to achieve musically and will be greatly influenced by the timing and quality of their early experiences. 


Kindermusik classes provide the exposure and positive musical experiences that provide the foundation for musical growth and achievement in the future. Many experts agree that "preschool music enrichment classes, which lay a foundation for musicianship through rhythmic activities, singing, movement, and music notation skills, often accelerate later progress on an instrument." 

Children who have completed the entire Kindermusik program have grown up surrounded by music, learning in a group through exploration and movement. They have always had Mom or Dad there to reassure them. The children have been able to develop their muscles and enhance their coordination by using instruments that were just their size. They have learned pitches, melodies, rhythms, and songs by listening to others and absorbing the rich musical environment around them. Kindermusik classes have offered them everything they need to appreciate and succeed in music.