Baby Artist operates in Thessaloniki, Greece since 2001. Christos Yermenoglou is one of its founders. The following programs operate in the context of Baby Artist: a Program for the musical development of infants, toddlers and preschoolers (for infants and children from 4 months to 6 years old); b The Violinists (Suzuki method); c The Pianists (Suzuki Piano method); and d Music for the Unborn Child.
The Program for the musical development of infants, toddlers and preschoolers uses only live singing, chanting and movement to engage parents and children in music making. It is affected by Gordon’s Music Learning Theory and employs a structured approach for the children’s rhythm and tonal development, by utilizing tonal and rhythm pattern instruction as part of the ‘teaching’ taking place in the context of the class. Despite its influences, the program has greatly adapted its practices to the Greek cultural context. The repertoire is characterized by variety in songs, rhymes, meters, tonalities, and musical styles, as well as a variety of low and high energy movement activities to accompany singing and chanting. Singing and chanting takes place acapella and alternates between using nonsense syllables and the actual lyrics/words, so as to provide both for the clarity of melodic and rhythm lines and for cultural transmission respectively. The music teachers, the parents (under the teachers’ guidance) and the structure of the music class create an atmosphere of emotional safety, warmth and acceptance, where children are free to interact with the musical environment in any way they feel like. Motivation for participation is provided naturally through the non-verbal invitations and eye contact made by the teachers, the individualization of instruction, as well as the variety of materials and small musical instruments that are offered to the children in the context of the various music activities. Despite the focus on musical development, music classes allow freedom for interaction, improvisation and music making on the spot, thus creating a playful and joyful musical and social environment. The program gives special emphasis to parental education by including three parental education sessions in the winter term (September – January) or spring term (February – May). The program emphatically requests parents’ active participation and role modeling in the classes.