One of the important things to us as parents was to introduce our kids to music at an early age. We have tested out a variety of different music options here in Evanston (Kindermusik, Gymboree, Hip Circle Studio and Old Town School of Music), and our favorite is Kindermusik through the Music Academy at Northwestern University. You can start as young as newborn in the Kindermusik Village where both my kids have started - my daughter just finished up the Kindermusik Village session this summer and loved it. She went from just humming songs and melodies to actually having 4 songs memorized and singing very loudly and proudly!
Their Our Time is the 18 months - 3.5 years session where it's a parent/tot activity. My son just recently wrapped up Kindermusik's Image That series where he loved the fact that he was dropped off for 30 minutes (it was our Saturday morning coffee break routine while he was in class) and then, we rejoined the group for 15 minutes sharing time. The classes are really great - you have quality materials (books, dvd, toy, etc) and the teachers are really fantastic. Julie Friend is an amazing resource, personable, talented, and we have really loved having her as our teacher.
On behalf of The Parent Circle, we were able to attend a mixed age Family Time demonstration class with them. There was nothing but rave reviews about the class interaction and the variety of options.
I'm most excited for my son who will be starting Kindermusik for the Young Child, Year One with Pat Heinenman this year because he'll be learning how to play the glockenspiel and sight reading, which is an essential tool for learning any musical instrument. Year Two is learning how to the two-stringed culcimer and the soprano recorder.
The other music places are good, too, but our personal preference is Kindermusik as both my children will continue their music education here. They're great to work with, their schedules are flexible and accommodate both the stay-at-home parent and the working parent. The quality of the music education is proven through the results that I've seen with my children. Their fall session will begin the week of September 16th and I believe that they still have some openings so definitely check it out soon.