Steele Music Studio

The Music Studio of Susannah Steele, located in Chicago, Illinois, offers private piano lessons for all ages and group music classes for young families.

What is Little Sparks Family Music?

  • Little Sparks teaches offers Musikgarten classes for babies through age 5. Musikgarten is an international early childhood music and movement program which nurtures musical aptitude of infants through elementary age children in a sequential curriculum.  This curriculum is a long-term plan to build comprehensive musicianship skills, preparing children for instrumental lessons, singing, and music appreciation.  These skills include singing, rhythmic and melodic patterning, fine and gross motor movement, beat competence, focused listening, playing instruments, ensemble development, and note-reading, each skill being introduced when developmentally appropriate. 


What do you mean when you say that Musikgarten has a long-term developmental plan for my child?

  • Musikgarten has a program that addresses the unique developmental needs of children at each age, from birth through age nine. Each of the classes are interrelated, as they were written for children to grow up with Musikgarten. This sequential planning also makes it easier for the students to grow in their musical competence and graduate to instrument playing. Little Sparks currently offers classes for ages 0-5, and Miss Susannah offers piano lessons for students 5+. 


Why should I pursue early childhood music education for my child?

  • Music is a joyful and natural way to interact and bond with your baby and child.  Furthermore, music awakens and stimulates neural pathways in the brain that are associated with higher-level processes, such as abstract thinking, memory, empathy, mathematics and science. Music immerses the child in language, evokes movement, stimulates the brain and fosters physical coordination - all in a group setting that builds community for a holistic experience. 


How is Musikgarten different from other early childhood music and movement programs? 

  • Musikgarten's emphasis on listening and purposeful movement in the context of a sequential music program is unique.  Research documents that children today are over-stimulated visually and need purposeful movement and music training more than ever.  The Musikgarten curriculum fosters imaginative behaviors and emphasizes active, thoughtful participation, not entertainment for its own sake.  Musikgarten is unique in these respects and will give your child something that many activities and products on the market today will not.  In class, we sing, dance, bounce, rock, and generally have a good time.  But there is a purpose in everything that we do.  There are always multiple reasons for each of the activities that make up the class, sometimes musical, sometimes developmental, and often times both.  The educators who wrote the curriculum have extensive expertise in how children learn (in general) and how children learn music (specifically).


Why Choose Musikgarten classes for your family?

  • Each Musikgarten class meets the developmental needs of your child.  Babies benefit from the focused parent/infant bonding, and toddlers are allowed freedom for motor exploration.  The preschool-aged children to try out their developing language and imaginative play, and both parents and children will benefit from the rich musical environment.


What if my family cannot attend your classes, or I have concerns about my child's participation in an offered class? 

  • If you have questions about a certain program, please be sure to contact us to indicate your interest and/or address your concerns.

What if I have more than one child?  Can I bring an older or younger child to a class that is intended for a specific age?  

  • This is quite possible but it will be determined on a case by case basis. Parents will be advised on their individual situations.  Please speak with Miss Susannah. 


Should parents attend and participate in the classes?

  • Yes! Parents are an integral part of class. As students get older they exercise more independence, but parents are always actively present. For all classes, parents are asked to include active music making in their child’s life. Sing along with the CD. Play echo games, making up patterns, as we do in class. Put the picture cards or notation games on your refrigerator and play identification games with them as you get ready for dinner. 


Tell me about the music and instruments used in class and at home. 

  • The Musikgarten repertoire is rich with songs and games and the inclusion of classical and folk literature.  All of the recordings are made with real instruments rather than synthesizers.  The booklets that accompany each CD contain the music written out as well as the words to the songs and some suggested activities for parents.  The instruments are high-quality and made of wood or other natural materials. 


Why are family materials included/required in the cost of Little Sparks Family Music classes?  

  • The family materials allow the entire family to enjoy the music and we hope will inspire music-making at home! Children and parents can have so much fun at home and in the car with Musikgarten songs and dances.  All Musikgarten family materials center around a CD which includes songs, stories, poems and listening games. Having these materials at home enables the child to absorb the songs that make up the core repertoire of the music program and build familiarity with the music.  For the very young child, the more familiar something is, the more s/he enjoys it, and he more readily s/he will participate. For the older child, familiarity with the material allows him or her to engage in complex activities such as dancing, building an instrumental ensemble, or playing a game that combines multiple elements such as singing, movement, and working with a partner. 

Does Musikgarten better prepare students for piano/guitar/violin/voice lessons?

  • Yes, in most cases. Musikgarten classes develop students' aural skills more than other methods. As a professional piano teacher Miss Susannah has witnessed firsthand the benefits of students who have gone through the Musikgarten curriculum.

Frequently Asked Questions