When we were in Germany last summer, a friend of my husband's had spent a year in Santa Cruz with his family when his children were younger. One of the activities that the younger ones did with mama was to attend a Music Together class series. He loaned me one of the CDs ("Summer Songs") and we were hooked.
When we came back, I Googled classes nearby to us and found Olivia Singleton of Liv and Sing. We took classes with Olivia and a steady crew of other mamas/papas & kids for 9 months. Needless to say that we all loved them! The songs are catchy, sweet and easy for this non-musical mama to remember. Each song comes with a fun finger play, activities (waving scarves, shaking a tambourine, etc.) and there is non-stop action for 45 minutes.
What I liked best:
- Olivia's energy is fabulous! She can get silly with the best of them even though her kids are grown. She is also very creative. No two classes are the same.
- Kids from all ages are welcome. Bring your toddler and your newborn. Bring just your toddler! We start the September after Elisabeth turned 1 (summer baby!) and stopped when she was almost 2. Other kids were around our age.
- We received a booklet and 2 (!) CDs for us with our registration fee. We always listen to one of the CDs in the car and Elisabeth now asks to fast forward or skip a song. And of course, there's never any NPR for me. Shouts of "no radio" from the back rule this roost!
- Elisabeth breaks into song at the drop of a hat whether it is an old favorite remade ("Pop Goes the Weasel") or a new one ("Fire Truck, Fire Truck") (see video to the left for a few lines of that one!), these classes have helped teach her language and memorization.
- We dance! This came toward the end but Elisabeth now taps her feet, dances around and skips when music comes on. Or when she starts singing! The physical activity was super helpful to get the crazies out and tire us out for bedtime.
- I met wonderful new moms. My class was all moms, most of the time, although others had dads. Those moms are ones that we meet today on (somewhat) of a regular basis. IT was really good for me to know we were headed somewhere that would entertain my daughter but also where I could get my social needs met.
- Speaking of chatting, there's a playground closely so we sometimes arrived early and chatted with other families who did the same. And sometimes we stayed late!
I cannot recommend these class enough! Olivia is old school: no website but she has a sweet Facebook page here. She has free demonstrations scheduled in South Durham for September 8 and 15th at 3 and 4 pm. The "semester" starts 9/22. The cost of the class is $125 (I think!) and runs for ten weeks. It's worth every penny. I had been to a Kinder Musik class with my niece when she was small and wasn't impressed. Music Together is the real thing!