Music Together® was founded in 1987 by Kenneth K. Guilmartin in Princeton, New Jersey. In the 1980s, Ken was a theatre composer and music educator who was drawn to the field of early childhood music education while working as an associate editor for his uncle’s music publishing business, Birch Tree Group. During this time, Ken observed that the music experiences of the children he knew and taught were usually limited to passive music listening; these children were growing up with little or no opportunity for live and playful music making. Subsequently, many sustained a delay in the development of their basic music skills, arriving at elementary school unable to sing in tune or move in a rhythmically accurate way.
Searching for a way to counteract this trend, Ken founded the Center for Music and Young Children (CMYC) in 1985 to conduct the early childhood music development research which later spawned the Music Together program. Interestingly, this research was funded by the Birch Tree Group using the royalties from the “Happy Birthday” song.
While attending a 1986 Edwin Gordon seminar on music learning in children, Ken met Lili Levinowitz, Ph.D., then director of the Children’s Music Development Program at Temple University and an experienced researcher. Lili was a like-minded advocate for non-formal music experiences for the very young, and soon the two began to develop the unique, musically-rich curriculum that would become known as Music Together.
The first Music Together classes were offered to the public in 1987. Since then, Ken and Lili have researched and developed nine Music Together song collections, as well as special applications of the Music Together program such as infant, preschool, and “Big Kids Family Music” classes. Both co-authors continue to teach Music Together classes, and they remain actively involved in training others to do this important and delightful work.