Snow Day!

After last week’s cancelled class, I was excited to see all the kids again. This week we were in a new room, which actually had a nicer and more open feel to it. The kids were very well-behaved for the most part, but a couple chatterboxes made it difficult to focus for the first few songs. Since they were a bit older, I asked them to come to where I was sitting and demonstrate the hand movements for the little ones, which helped keep things moving along. Baby Shark really snapped their attention in, and from there the class was a breeze. We all got up in a circle in record time, and there was a lot of laughter for Walk and Stop. Jam time was LOUD, but everybody listened without fuss when it was time to stop, so it’s clear they’ve been taking in the directions of the songs. A very happy class all around!

That’s the Spirit!

Coming off of last week’s surprisingly low attendance (even the staff were surprised), today felt like a triumph. There were lots of kids who were excited to sing and were clapping along from the get-go. Though there weren’t as many parents as I had hoped, the staff were very engaged with the kids and helped keep them focused. It’s clear that the staff at Birkdale really care about the kids and the program, and they said they’d make an effort to get more parents out next week. Things started getting a bit hectic when it came time to get the kids standing in a circle, but it was good practice because they sat back down in a circle without much fuss. We passed around all the instruments in the bag as I introduced them, and everyone sang along to their ABCs. I’m very excited about this group!

Silly Frog Faces

We had lots of silly fun at the Redwood this week! The children loved making silly frog faces while singing The Little Green Frog, so much that they kept doing it into the next song. We also sang Bath Time, and one girl insisted on changing it to “Shower Time” with lots of giggles. The group’s rhythm improved in the jam from last week as well.

There weren’t as many moms again, even with the staff helping to seek them out and invite them. One of the main staff members told me that it usually takes a couple weeks for all the mothers to start coming as they warm up to the idea. I spoke with Linda and she said she often had this challenge too. Hoping for more next week!

Music Unites Us!

Today’s group at Robertson House was an energetic bunch full of different ages. Our babies were the most attentive participants, while the 2-4 year olds had a bit of a harder time sticking with the program. Not to worry though! Many times throughout the class I witnessed the uniting power of music and group singing, especially its effect on the 2-4 year olds. The jam at the end of class really brought everyone together – it turns out we have some future drummers in the class! I look forward to hearing some more drum solos in the classes to come.

A Small Start

A lot of parents were out with their kids on Friday, so unfortunately the start of the session was a bit under attended, with only one child and one parent.  Luckily, they were both quite engaged, especially with hand signs and motions.  The intimacy of the session also made for a great one-on-one introduction to all the instruments in the instrument bag, and more focused and direct communication.  However, I’m very excited to be joined by the rest of the regular group next week!

First Redwood Class!

My first ever RSF class at the Redwood last night was very energetic! The children loved the class and sang along with enthusiasm to such songs as The Wheels on the Bus and Shake Your Sillies Out. They also loved playing the instruments from the jam bag and dancing under the parachute. The ages ranged from around 3 to 10 years old and everyone was engaged. As I was packing up to leave, one girl around 5 years said to me, "I liked the music class!" and others wanted to strum on my guitar before putting it away. This is an energetic and happy group and I can't wait to continue classes with them!

Some lessons from the evening included making sure that the moms were present. There were only a couple women in the room but it was hard to tell which ones were volunteers and which ones were mothers. Jo from RSF was at the class with me, and she suggested that next week I reiterate that it is a family music class and to encourage all mothers to join their children in the class. Some women were sitting on chairs, so I will also encourage them to sit on the floor next week. The room was also a little cramped with all the kids that were present (we started with around 7 kids at the beginning, and that grew to around 15 kids towards the end of the class as they filtered in), so next week I will ask the RSF staff if we can move a couple tables to open up the space. Jo also suggested closing the door 5-10 minutes after the start time to encourage the kids to stay in the class as some kids were wandering in and out. 

All in all, the class was a success!

Warm Welcome!

It was great to return to the Plaza Hotel for another session with some very gregarious kids! One of them couldn’t help but yell “Yay” at any spare moment. Some of the newer faces took a bit of time to connect with the material, so I made sure to go slow so that all the kids could follow along with the words and actions. I also made a point to solicit more engagement from the parents as well, and highlight their importance in the class. It helped! I found that the more the parents sang actively, the more they appeared to enjoy the material. It really is a family affair!

Baby Time!

Our first class at Robertson House this session was a smaller group of all babies. It was great to have the opportunity to do songs that are more suitable for the 0-1 age range. The moms seemed to enjoy the smaller baby class as well. We had lots of fun singing Round and Round the Garden and Charlie Chaplin Went To France while the babies rolled around and giggled. I look forward to more great classes!

A Sweet Goodbye

Today was my last class with the Birkdale staff, kids, and caregivers. I got to finish off strong with some of my regulars and meet a new little friend and mom as well. The kids enjoyed the Elephants Have Wrinkles movement song as well as another rendition of Jingle Bells done with body bells on the wrists. We had a high energy jam session and finished with Sleeping Bunnies under the parachute.

A Sweet Goodbye

We had our last class of 2018 under the warm light of the Christmas tree in the living room at Ernestine. This room has made such a difference in the feeling and energy of the classes this session, and it was nice to have cozy vibes to ring out the year. Though we started off with a slightly smaller group of three, we were shortly joined by the rest of our regular group, plus one older sibling who was excited to join. The difference in numbers not only made a huge difference in energy, but also focus! Everybody was into it, and though the kids at Ernestine weren't quite as amazed at the Vibraslap as the kids at the Plaza, they had no issues with an extra long jam session, topped off with Jingle Bells.  We said goodbye with a Happy Birthday parachute song for two birthdays in the room and plenty of high fives.

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