Does your Mary like a little jam? Is your little boy blue when he can’t bust out a tune?
Little Bo Beats is a new program providing educational music classes for babies to 5 year olds in the lower Blue Mountains and in Penrith. Our goal is to expose young children and their caregivers to quality music education, while also having a whole lot of fun!
Our program has been written by a local music teacher and musician with a music education degree and over ten years’ teaching experience. We aim to instil the beginnings of music theory including concepts such as beat, rhythm, tempo, dynamics, pitch, song structure, melody, harmony and timbre (how different instruments sound).
We use nursery rhymes and folk tunes which are age appropriate, as well as fun to sing and pleasant to listen to. Understanding of these well known songs will also give them the best foundation on which to build future musical learning. Most importantly, we want to teach kids to love listening to and making music.
Why are children’s music classes important?
I am commonly asked why parents should enrol their children into this program, and especially why into a babies music class. It’s a fair question, life is busy and expensive and what can a baby possibly get from coming to a music class?
The answer is, that exposing your infants and little ones to music is one of the BEST things you can do to bond with your child, as well as increase your little one’s language, literacy, numeracy and social skills.
From the time a baby is in the womb the first sense to be developed is that of hearing. You may know that a baby is born knowing their mother’s voice, but were you aware that the way that babies process language is through the same cognitive pathways (parts of the brain) as those used when we listen to music?
Any music is great, but research has shown that the benefits associated with listening to music can be improved by participating in structured music classes. Why? Because our classes are developmentally appropriate and designed to enhance your child’s learning, in a group environment which promotes social as well as musical learning.
Most of all, our classes are about having fun, and empowering big people to feel confident in music making with their little ones.
PLEASE NOTE: These classes require active adult participation. While we recognise all big people need a break now and then, your child will need your help to get the most out of our classes. And you will have fun too!
Rock-a-bye Rhythms classes (birth to 2 years)
Baby classes are suitable from birth (in fact, pregnant women are even welcome to attend!), and are specially designed to support early milestones such as eye tracking and object permanency, as well as developing fine and gross motor skills. The babies are able to listen to both Bec and their big people singing, and to feel the beat through tapping, bouncing and dancing. They have the opportunity to explore different percussion instruments (after all, the first stage of learning to play is being able to hold the instrument!) as well as helping the big people to play it correctly. Baby classes also include counting songs, rhymes, classical and folk music.
Each week we focus on a different song, which builds the big people’s repertoire of songs and rhymes to use at home. To support this each child is sent home with a song sheet with added suggestions for accompanying movements and activities.
The Rock-a-bye Rhythms class runs for 30 minutes.
Little Lamb classes (2 years to preschool age)
The Little Lamb classes are suitable from 2 to 5 years. These classes focus on a particular concept each week, such as ‘high’, ‘low’, ‘loud’, ‘soft’ and ‘notes and rests’. Each child receives a song sheet at the end of the lesson explaining the concept with some songs, rhymes and suggested activities to continue to explore at home.
In the toddler classes, the children will be:
- Singing (the voice after all is a pretty great instrument)
- Playing percussion instruments (different week to week – shakers, drums, castanets, boomwhackers and more!)
- Storytelling (using books, puppets, and lots of imagination)
- Practising fine motor skills
- Practising social skills (e.g. turn taking, teamwork, answering questions, making suggestions)
- Learning language and numeracy skills (counting and educational songs)
- Interacting with classical music
- Developing ‘audiation’ (the ability to mentally ‘hear’ and produce music without external music being there)
- Exploring self-expression
This all occurs within a fun, low-pressure environment, as we understand that all children are different and have different abilities, temperaments and learning speeds. We will never pressure a student to “perform” something they are uncomfortable with.
The Little Lamb class runs for 45 minutes.
Siblings are more than welcome to attend! Babies under the age of 1 year may attend a class with their sibling for free. We have a family pass available that enables all siblings in the family to attend a class together.
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard
Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard is a members-only area with resources for our families such as song recordings (useful when you can only remember that one bit!).
Class times and locations
Classes are held on Mondays at the Springwood Red Cross Hall, on Tuesdays at the St Margaret’s Presbyterian Church, Blaxland, and on Fridays at the Kingswood Neighbourhood Centre, Kingswood.
For available class times please refer to our timetable.
Do you need more inspiration? Here is a great TED talk on the benefits of exposing kids to more music education:
Still unsure if this is for you and your little one? Book a FREE trial class today!