Music has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a child I was always singing, dancing, and performing for anyone who would give me an ear. It’s amazing how music awakens the soul. A sad song can rock you to your core, and at the same time an upbeat melody can leave you humming happily for days. It has such an effect on our mood that in my house, we reset our cranky days with a dance break. It works every single time.
As a mom, I intentionally create a home environment where my children feel comfortable expressing themselves through song and dance without feeling self-conscious. When I heard about the Rock-a-Baby classes being offered in the Jewish Community Center in Providence, I could hardly contain my excitement.
I looked forward to dancing along to silly music with my 18 month old little girl. To my pleasant surprise, the Rock-a-Baby classes were much more than dancing around to silly music. Education, community, and active play were all highlighted in each 45 minute class.
Upon entering the class, my daughter and I were greeted by a trio of musicians. Marc played the keyboard, Benny stood casually strumming the guitar, and Rachel was the engaging vocalist. We removed our shoes and sat with 8-10 other little ones ready to get their dance on.
The Rock-a-Baby team established a sense of community in the very first song as Rachel greeted each child with a high five and welcomed him or her to the class. The next interactive song introduced the weekly theme. One week was Fourth of July themed, another was outer space; you get the idea.
My daughter was a bit hesitant at first to join in. The music was not too loud or overstimulating; in fact, some brand new babies napped during class, but my daughter tends to hang back in any new situation. It is just her personality. She observed with skepticism until the puppets Melody, Harmony, and Rhythm made their grand entrances. These characters are wonderful educational tools that teach the kids simple and interesting musical concepts.
Samantha’s Favorite Elements
Melody, Harmony and Rhythm were easily Samantha’s favorite part of each class. She warmed right up when she saw them every week. She was still too shy to dance (although there were plenty of toddlers cutting a rug), but she really enjoyed the other active elements like patting rhythms, chasing balls, and popping bubbles. The other kids in the class also enjoyed getting their wiggles out before it was time to sit down for a story song-book. The story song-book, which was a giant book with pictures illustrating a popular song (think Twinkle Twinkle Little Star), was a great way to wind down before ending the class.
My Favorite Elements
The kids aren’t the only ones who have fun, though. My favorite element of these classes was the weekly introduction to a new instrument. Each child would get a chance to play an instrument they most likely had never seen before. It was neat to watch them figure out how to make noise and create rhythm using these new instruments.
I also really appreciated that the music was not “babyish.” Live music is much more fun for kids to watch and listen to. Some songs also featured creative twists to familiar favorites like The Beatles or Tom Petty. This not only made it more enjoyable, but it also made it easy for the adults to sing along (maybe a little too loudly in my case – oops).
Another thing I loved about these classes was that the musicians treated the kids with integrity. They didn’t dumb down the music or musical terminology. Their respect and love for children shone through every minute we were there. In fact, when my daughter walked over to Rachel with her arms stretched high, Rachel picked her right up with a smile.
All in all, Rock-a-Baby classes provided a wonderful summer of exploring and learning different styles of music together. It’s no surprise they were winners of Rhode Island Monthly’s Best of RI in 2015. Babies, toddlers, and adults all enjoy the warmth and adventure they bring to each class.
The fall session of Rock-a-Baby classes are offered in Providence, Warwick and Barrington from August 28-October 20.
Rock-a-Baby is an interactive music program for infants and toddlers. Parents come along for the class as we introduce the stars of our show – Melody, Rhythm and Harmony. Every week we introduce a new theme through music and dance – exploring simple musical concepts through live and recorded sound. Children experience everything from Beethoven and Bach to rap and rock! Classes run in 6 to 8-week sessions and last 45 minutes. And if you can’t get enough, you can buy our CDs, books, bubble trumpets and egg shakers to play along at home… or for a private gig, we do birthday parties and special events.