This month, the Wiggleworms early music learning program at the
Old Town School of Folk Music celebrates its
25th birthday. The program, which is
designed to spark musical interest and talent in kids up to age 5,
hits the quarter-century mark with more than 2,000 students are
enrolled at seven different locations this year.
There's a Wiggleworms class for
every age, starting with the Lullabies class, where parents sing
soft music and gently rock their newborn-to-5-month-olds. At 6
months, babies move on to the actual Wiggleworms program where they
sing and dance around the classroom or try out musical instruments
especially designed for tiny hands. At age 3, kids graduate into
the Wigglegrads program, where their music learning continues with
more concepts and a wider variety of instruments.
Carol Weston was only the second
Wiggleworms teacher when she joined the staff in 1986. "It just
started to grow, and we started offering classes three days a
week," she says. "We started with five or six kids in a class."
Now Wiggleworms has 37 teachers and
up to 12 tykes in each class. Julie Helenius has been teaching for
17 years and says music is an important part of a child's
development. "Parents are exposing their child to live music and it
really makes a difference in their growth," she says.
At least one Chicago mom agrees.
Alba Salgado 's 11-year-old daughter started in the program as a
baby. "It's a good challenge," Salgado says. "Now she plays guitar,
piano, bass and drums."
The concert is Nov. 20 at the Old
Town School in Lincoln Square. Visit our event
listing for more information on the concert, the Wiggleworms
program and registering for classes.
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