ChIMES (Childhood Introduction to Music Education, with Smiles) is an SDYS program that highlights one of the most integral phases of child growth and development: the period of growth that takes place from birth to age 5.

Did you know?

SDYS Childhood Introduction to Music Education with Smiles!By the time a baby turns one year old, their brain will have grown to 70% of its adult size. By age three, the brain reaches 85% of its total growth. Creating music, and the human interaction that accompanies music-making, involves multi-sensory activities that grow and foster strong brain growth and healthy interaction between young children and their caregivers.

ChIMES classes are designed to enhance and further child development while building healthy attachment between the child and caregiver through hands-on play with instruments, singing, movement, rhythm activities, percussion, and more. The interactive classes develop children’s musical, motor and aural skills and help facilitate learning in other areas. The program is specifically designed to create pathways for children to participate in ensemble-based programs for youth.

The ChIMES@Home Summer 2020 Session is currently in progress (June 22 – August 14). If you would like more information, please see details below or email

Upcoming Session & Registration Details

ChIMES@Home Summer 2020 Session (8 weeks)
Dates: Monday June 22 – Friday August 14

This 8-week session is for parents/caregivers and children ages 0-5 (and any other members of your household that would like to join in the fun too!)

You and your child will share meaningful music-making experiences together at home. Interactive LIVE classes and creative videos will have you singing, dancing, playing instruments and learning new skills!

Session includes:

  • 2 live-streaming classes each week 
    • Monday 10:00 a.m. Ms. Kat 
    • Wednesday 10:00 a.m. Mr. Charlie
  • New video posted every Friday (staff/student instrument demonstration, tutorial, musical activity, or special song performed by a ChIMES Teaching Artist), plus at-home musical activities, tips and resources
  • 1 Instrument Kit per family (including egg shaker, scarf and pair of rhythm sticks)
  • On-demand access to all ChIMES videos and live class recordings for duration of session
  • 1 live “ChIMES Check-In” session, where families can connect with each other and the Teaching Artists, ask questions, and share experiences

Be sure to join our Interest List (scroll down to bottom of this page) to stay up-to-date with the latest ChIMES information. Thank you!

Learn more about the different classes offered in Balboa Park

Which class is right for my child?

ChIMES Level 1: “First Movement” for babies
Recommended for ages 0 up to 18 months

Phase: Parents/caregivers are the primary models and teachers. Children observe and imitate, and begin to participate as they get older, develop more skills, and become more familiar with the class routine.

What to Expect: Singing, dancing, lap songs and bounces, peek-a-boo games, scarves and movement, basic rhythm activities, guest musicians and instrument show and tell, hands-on play with egg shakers, tambourines and other instruments!

ChIMES Level 2: “Second Movement” for toddlers
Recommended for ages approximately 18 months to 3 yrs old

Phase: Children observe, imitate and participate in more involved ways as they become familiar with the class routine and become more developmentally able to manipulate their voices, bodies and musical instruments. They begin to interact with others in class and it becomes more of a parent/child experience rather than parent-led.

What to Expect: Building on Level 1 skills, with more emphasis on singing and solfege (e.g. “Do-Re-Mi…”) as language skills emerge, introduction to harmony and intervals, dancing and large movement, creative expression, more advanced rhythm activities, guest musicians and instrument show and tell, instrument play with rhythm sticks, shakers, bells, drums and more!

ChIMES Level 3: “Third Movement” for preschoolers
Recommended for ages approximately 3 – 5 yrs old

“Creating & Doing”
Phase: Children participate more fully and begin to generate their own ideas, sounds and movements. The class has transitioned from parent-led to child-led. Parents and caregivers still actively participate, but children in this class are more independent and also engage with their peers and teacher.

What to Expect: Building stronger ensemble skills through more advanced singing (including scales, solfege, intervals, two-parts), rhythm activities and movement; improvising and creative expression; new instruments (including pitched percussion like chime bars/glockenspiels and unpitched instruments like drums, wood blocks, triangles, etc); introduction to basic music notation and concepts through age-appropriate games and play.

Not quite ready to join us?

San Diego Youth Symphony