Thurnauer School of Music

Classes for Young Children and Introductory Instrumental Classes

Ages3 months - 7 years

Our early childhood music classes are designed to encourage joy, fun, and active participation. Through singing, poetry, rhythmic exploration, and movement, we help children discover music, learn to keep the beat, and develop their imagination and creativity. An ideal introduction of music to young children in a fun and welcoming environment!

Teacher holding guitar while toddler touches it.

The JCC Thurnauer School of Music is renowned as a center of artistic and educational excellence open to all.

The school has inspired thousands of students and families—transforming lives and sharing the joy of music through outstanding instruction, concerts, master classes, community events, and partnerships with local schools.

Toddler jumping off of a drum.
Young child in the classroom Students in a classroom in Tenafly, NJ at the Kaplen JCC on the Palisades
Group of toddlers playing with a xylophone.
Baby touching a guitar.
Young boy playing a bongo.
Three children playing a drum.


Classes for Young Children

Musikgarten® classes are an ideal introduction to music for young children.  A fun and welcoming class filled with exciting songs, musical movement, dramatic play, and storytelling. Families receive home materials that reinforce lessons and involve the whole family!  All our teachers are highly experienced music educators who love to share their passion and knowledge of music with children.  Classes start the week of 9/18.  Classes will be held in person

Music Classes for Babies and Toddlers

3-36 months

Parents can drop in once, twice or three times a week. Purchase a “punch pass” for extra savings

Single Class: $30/$33
Five Classes: $140/$156
10 Classes: $270/$300

Musikgarten’s Music for Babies and Toddlers 
Babies, toddlers and grown-ups sing, chant, dance, listen, and play simple instruments! Our joyful music classes feature activities for vocal exploration, body awareness and coordination. Families receive a special CD with digital download, a parent activity book, and a colorful scarf to use at home for more fun times together.  Features bouncing and rocking songs, wiggle and peek-a-boo games, a dance party, and other fun activities.

Sun starts 9/24/23 9:45-10:25 am
Tue starts 9/19/23 9:45-10:25 am
Tue starts 9/19/23 11:00- 11:40 am
Wed starts 9/20/23 9:45-10:25 am
Wed starts 9/20/23 11:00- 11:40 am

Tot Shabbat Sing-a-long
Celebrate Shabbat musically!  Our classes are designed to encourage joyful, active participation and play through music, both Jewish and secular!  Through traditional Shabbat songs, singing games, fingerplays, rhythmic exploration, and movement, we help children explore their voice, learn to keep the beat, and develop their imagination and creativity Jewishly!  Traditional Shabbat celebration with challah and grape juice included in the class.

Fri starts 9/22/23 9:45-10:25 am

Musikgarten’s® Cycle of Seasons: Wind Dancers and Sun Catchers 

Ages 3-4

Through music, nurture your child’s ability to use language and participate in dramatic play within the theme of the four seasons.  Children sing, move, play musical games, explore instruments, and improvise through musical activities and storytelling that build alertness and creativity.  Family packets include CDs with digital download for use at home to increase family involvement in the learning process. 


Wind Dancers
16 Sun Starts 9/24 10:30 – 11:10 am
16 Thu Starts 9/21 3:45 – 4:25 pm

Sun Catchers
15 Sun Starts 2/18 10:30 – 11:10 am
16 Thu Starts 2/1 3:45 – 4:25 pm

 Musikgarten’s® In the Wild! 

Ages 5-6

Through music, children learn about animals, plants, and the environment! Children join in improvised and structured movement, play instruments, sing, and participate in guided listening activities.  The students work with written musical patterns and create their own simple songs. This developmentally sound approach to music literacy builds symbolic thinking, concentration, memory, and self-expression. Families receive CDs with digital download, songbooks, posters, game pieces, and a parent guidebook. 

32 Thu Starts 9/21 4:40 – 5:20 pm

Musikgarten’s® Around the World

Ages 6-7

Explore the music of the world and our own Native American and African American heritage. Children learn songs, dances, stories, rituals, and customs of these cultures to help them learn about and understand others around the world. By the end of the year, students are able to read and compose with simple notation. This class is excellent for preparing students to begin Creative Musicianship and private instrumental lessons.  Families receive CDs with digital download, recordings, games, song pages, and a viewfinder.

32 Thu Starts 9/21 5:40 – 6:20 pm

Introductory Instrumental Classes

Instrument Exploration

Ages 4-6

Students explore the guitar, piano, violin, and flute in a small-group setting and receive 7-8 weeks of instruction on each instrument over the 30-week school year. Instruments are provided. Parents are encouraged but not required to attend class. Class size is limited to 4 groups of 4 students in each rotation.

30 Wed Starts 9/20 3:45 – 4:30 pm
30 Wed Starts 9/20 5:15 – 6:00 pm

Ukulele Strummers

Ages 6-7

If you’re looking for a fun instrument for you and your child, the ukulele is a perfect choice. Learn the basics of ukulele playing including proper technique, strumming patterns and chords, plus lots of songs! Parents are encouraged but not required to attend class. Class size is limited to 6.

32 Mon Starts 9/18 3:45 – 4:30 pm

Ukulele Strummers @ Temple Emanu-El

Ages 6-8

Learn to play along to your favorite songs! Students will learn the basics of ukulele playing including proper technique, strumming patterns and chords, plus lots of songs! Musical movement activities are played throughout the class to enhance students’ understanding of rhythm and pitch. Class size is limited to 5. A link will be sent out with suggestions for where to purchase your ukulele.

$264/$319 (no drop-ins)
11 Tue Starts 10/3 4:00 – 4:45 pm

Piano Partners

Ages 4-6

Discover the fun of playing the piano and learning simple songs in a small class setting that prepares children for individual lessons. Parents are encouraged but not required to attend class.

Both sessions are FULL. Please call the music school office to be placed on the waiting list.

Young Drummers

Students love this fund “drumtastic” class where they learn to improvise, keep a steady beat, play in a group, and develop their own rhythmic and dynamic musical ideas! Parents are encouraged but not required to attend class.

32 Tue Starts 9/19 4:15 – 5:00 pm

Learn More About Thurnauer

To get more information or schedule a visit, click below.


Why should my child study music?

  • In addition to the enormous personal enjoyment music brings, music study helps children learn how to learn.
  • Attending lessons and practicing an instrument each day teaches focus, concentration, patience, critical thinking and reflection – skills we use throughout our lives.
  • Studies have shown that “students engaged in music programs outperformed their peers on every indicator: grade-point average, graduation rate, Act scores, attendance and discipline referrals.”
  • KU research establishes link between music education and academic achievement.

Why should my child study at the JCC Thurnauer School of Music?

  • A school environment creates a community of musicians who inspire, motivate and befriend each other.
  • Students benefit musically and psychologically from the expertise of our excellent faculty, the School’s warm, nurturing atmosphere and the experience of hearing other students make music at different levels of musical development.
  • The Thurnauer School offers a stimulating variety of classes, performances, workshops, and recital opportunities.

Can my child just take private lessons at the Thurnauer School?

  • As an introduction to learning an instrument, students can take just a private lesson, but only during their first year at the school. Thereafter, all students must take one or more components as part of their music program.
  • Making music with others quickens the pace of learning and accomplishment. We also find that students have fun in these classes and that this is not only enriching but also highly motivational to them.
  • Children in a full program of music study are “stretched”, musically and intellectually, as they learn new things and exchange musical and verbal ideas with their peers.
  • A program that is limited to private lessons lacks the richness of learning about music. The more we understand, the more joy there is in playing and listening.

When should my child begin the study of music?

  • Learning about music can begin at birth. However, the best age to start an instrument varies with the instrument and the child’s physical development. For example, violinists and flutists can begin as young as 3, whereas trumpet players should be at least 8.
  • Our classes for young children stand on their own, but they are also developmental and will introduce skills to help your child with further musical study if it’s desired. “Developmental” also means dynamic; each week builds on the previous lesson.

How should we help our child select an instrument?

  • The choice of instrument depends on the child’s interests, temperament and size. Most children have a natural affinity for a particular instrument or sound and, if given the chance to choose, will know what they like.
  • We encourage sitting in on lessons and classes at our School. Please contact our scheduling director to arrange for a visit or a trial lesson: 201-567-7900 Ext. 375 or
  • Attending professional concerts and student recitals with your child can also spark interest in a particular instrument. Children are welcome to attend any of our student recitals.

How do we select an instrumental teacher for your child?

At the Thurnauer School, a great deal of care is given to finding the best “match” from among our fine faculty. Music School Director Dorothy Roffman meets individually with each new student and parent(s) prior to enrollment, observing the child and learning about the family before assigning a teacher.

What is the registration process for new students?

The process is all handled online. It includes completing the registration form, enrolling in your choice of lessons and class, completing the scheduling forms, submitting a tuition deposit and, if you are enrolling in a private lesson program, scheduling a meeting with the Music School Director.

Do I need to register for the entire year?

With the exception of some early childhood classes, our curriculum is designed as a full, 30 week program. That said, you can withdraw within the first five weeks of classes for a prorated tuition and a $75 processing charge. Thereafter, partial refunds are available as stipulated in our Terms and Conditions.

Does the Music School offer a payment plan?

Yes. You can set up an eight month payment plan that withdraws funds from your bank account or charges your credit card automatically each month.

Does the Music School offer Financial Aid?

Yes. The Music School has a number of endowed funds earmarked for this purpose, and over 15%of our students receive some form of tuition scholarship. Scholarship forms are available online, or you may request one from the Financial Manager, Dan Jatovsky at

Are discounts available?

Yes. The following discounts are available for you and your family to enjoy the gift of music.

Sibling Discount
SAVE $25 off total tuition for a class or performance ensemble (if not part of a Private Lesson Program) SAVE $90 off total tuition for a Private Lesson Program

Refer a Friend Discount
Refer a new family who registers for private music lessons and you both get $100 OFF TUITION

Get In Touch


Call for Information
(201) 408-1466

A pair of adult hands and child hands holding a red heart.