About Let's Make Music School

Let's Make Music School began in 1984 when Sharon Mello and Marlys West formed a team to fulfill their dream of bringing exciting and enriching musical experiences within the reach of all children. We offer action packed classes for all ages, based on the Orff Schulwerk approach. Orff Schulwerk ('Work for Schools') is an approach to music developed by German composer, Carl Orff (1895-1992). Carl Orff believed that music flows naturally from speech, rhythm and movement. Children are born with a natural musical and rhythmical sense and by using chants, rhymes, songs, and movement from the rich tradition of both folk music and other styles of music, their musical sense is strengthened and enhanced. The children can play rhythm instruments (appropriate for their age) and as they progress throughout the program they also play special Orff melody instruments developed for this approach. These xylophones and glockenspiels offer an opportunity for children to have wonderful musical experiences and to be successful at what they do. Children who are involved in group musical experiences at an early age are developing skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.

"The Orff approach to music eduation provides fundamental experiences and lays the foundation for a comprehensive musical training."

About the instructors...

Sharon and Marlys regularly attend local and national workshops. They are active board members of the San Diego Chapter of the American Orff Schulwerk Association and Secretary and Treasurer of the new Southern California Chapter of the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association (SD ECMMA). They are also members of the National AOSA, ECMMA, the National Association for Music Education (MENC), the California Music Educators Association (CMEA), the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), and the California Association of the Education of Young Children (CAEYC).

Marlys West has a B.S. in Education from Texas Tech University, and a Masters of Education from Texas Southern University. As a music education professional, Marlys has extensive experience as a classroom teacher, reading specialist and private piano teacher. She has completed Level 1 course in Orff Schulwerk, and Musikgarten: Music Makers, Cycle of Seasons and Babies classes, taught by founder Lorna Heyge. She is married and the mother of 2 sons.

Sharon Mello earned her B.S. in Music Education from the University of Maryland. She has taught piano and public school music in Maryland and California. She has completed Level 1 and Level 2 courses in Orff Schulwerk, Kindermusik Young Child and Beginnings classes, Musikgarten: Music Makers, Cycle of Seasons and Babies classes, taught by founder Lorna Heyge, and Center for Music and Young Children(CMYC) Introductory and Advanced Training Sessions in early childhood music, taught by Kenneth Guilmartin, founder of Music Together and CMYC. She is married and the mother of 4 children.

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Why Do Children Need Music


Music has been called the ďuniversal languageĒ. Unfortunately most people have little or no guidance in learning music and what guidance we have comes past the opportune time for developing and enhancing our musical aptitude.



Children need to learn music the same way they learn language. From the moment of birth a baby hears language spoken all around them. This is not just in the background but spoken directly to them. Just try to hold a baby and not talk and make sounds to them. See what happens. A baby needs to be read to even before he/she understands language. During all this time a baby absorbs what is heard, then begins to make speech sounds. But much less of the time is a baby sung to directly . Maybe a lullaby at bedtime or only a tape because Mom or Dad think they Ďcanít sing.í But a child needs direct, one-to-one interactive musical activities to have the opportunity to absorb music as they absorb the language around them.


Babies and children also need movement activities which help integrate their world and help the development of balance, control, beat competency, comfort with their body, self expression and creativity. Parents who think they canít "move creatively" learn very quickly how much easier it is with a young child or infant to help you.


Studies have shown that much development takes place in the brain that would otherwise not happen when a child is involved in musical activities. According to Dr. Edwin Gordon "the most important time for learning in a childís life is from the day of birth (if not before) until three years old...what a child learns during the first five years of life forms the foundation for all subsequent educational development." "Through music a child gains insights into herself, into others, and into life itself...[through music] the child is better able to develop and sustain her imagination."

Musical instruction helps in developing patterning skills and opens pathways in the brain. This instruction needs to be developmentally appropriate. Because some of the studies have used keyboard in their tests, we find parents wanting to start keyboard for children at ages that are not developmentally appropriate. (Keyboard instruction is more appropriate for a child who is in the second semester of first grade or beginning second grade. There are exceptions to every rule, but most of us do not have little Mozartís at home composing minuets at age 6. You will probably know if you do.) We do not want children to walk before they have learned to crawl. We know that each stage of development is very important. The same holds true for music. There are many stages of musical development that are very important before private instruction on an instrument is appropriate. A Letís Make Music School Music and Movement class is one of the valuable places that this instruction takes place.

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