Tones and Your Child

Tonality is defined as “the sum of relations, melodic and harmonic existing between the tones of a scale or musical system.” It is “a particular scale or system of tones, a key.”Now in terms that we can understand, tonality is the “home” of a song. We hear it and perceive it as it is structured in a piece of music. We speak frequently in Music Together class about the “resting tone” of a song. This is where the tonality resolves or “lives.”

We sometimes practice singing tonal patterns. Tonal means “expressing the tonality” of a particular song or piece of music. So if a given song is in the key of “C” then we would practice tonal patterns after that song in the key of “C.”

A mode or modal experience involves music that is based on different scale patterns than major and minor, sometimes even ancient.

Different cultures have a rich musical library of songs and pieces that are frequently heard and associated with that area of the world or that particular culture. For instance, when we hear music from the Far East, the songs are wonderfully beautiful and different from what we are accustomed to hearing in our American “pop” culture.

Songs of the Native American tribes have certain tonal characteristics that set them apart. As well as the rich body of music that has been passed down by generations of people from European and African descents.

Many of these songs and musical expressions are written in tonalities and modes that are different than what we routinely hear in our culture. Exposing our young children to these musical experiences is like giving them “ear food” or enriching their auditory experiences greatly. Many  of the songs in a typical Music Together anthology are based on modes, or these different ancient scales.

It would be rare that a child living in the United States would be exposed to these types of sounds from listening to music in their toys, soothers, or the media. These multi- modal  experiences are extremely helpful when developing listening, singing and rhythmic skills.

There is a window of opportunity between birth and five years of age when the opportunity for musical learning is at its peak. Music Together offers a beautiful family experience for you and you baby, toddler or young child.

The program is structured in a way that is very user friendly, non intimidating and just plain fun! You will sing, play games, learn chants, play instruments and hop like a bunny. You will bring home a beautiful songbook and two CDs so you can continue these activities in your home and car throughout the week.

You are your child’s most important teacher, and your Music Together teacher will provide you with tools to truly grow musically as a family.

For more information go to and and keep on singing!

About the Authors

music together


Amanda and Wendy teach music to children at A and W Music Together, and are experts in teaching music to children. They are are two of the Reading Kingdom’s Summer Activity Guides. Be sure to check out the Reading Kingdom blog every Wednesday for posts from our Summer Activity Guides who will blog about parenting, and fun things to do with your children throughout the whole summer.