It’s 10am on a Monday and you’re hitting music group with your toddler. You meet in a hall with around 20 other mums, dads, grandparents and nannies and just as many kids straining on their carer’s arms to get the party started. Someone gives you a cup of tea as you sit on a plastic chair on the sidelines and your child runs off to join the other kids.
“Great” You think to yourself “I love a cuppa.”
There are floorboards so the acoustics are a bit off. You begin to feel like you have to raise your voice to be heard over the thumping echoes of children running around as you chat to the mums beside you. You start wondering why the children are, in fact, running around chasing each other in circles. Someone falls over a stray sippy-cup and starts wailing. Does anyone have a band-aid? You side-eye a toddler wrestling another to the ground as the noise, energy and lack of parental involvement crescendo before your very eyes. Isn’t this supposed to be a music group?
You pay your $2 and the moment all the children have been waiting for arrives. The group leader places a plastic tub of instruments on the floor and someone hits play on a children’s music CD. The children fall upon the bucket vying for the coveted single mini-recorder that squeaks as shrilly as a whistle and is very effective at irritating parents.
Then, the toddler dance party begins.
They jump up and down to The Wiggles for a few minutes, waving scarves and shaking bright yellow plastic maracas. There’s screaming, so much screaming. The children sing along to words they don’t yet understand and copy the actions of the leader as they rock-a-bye their bears. They stand, transfixed, copying, imitating, attempting to keep up with a routine that is just slightly too fast for them.
The dad next to you begins telling you about little Johnny’s toilet training exploits. You want to listen, you really do, you love chatting with other parents-it’s just that you’ve only now noticed that your little one is losing interest in the dance party and has begun to use the maraca against the wall to see what that sounds like instead. You excuse yourself and quickly make your way over to him to tell him off- ‘We don’t hammer walls with maracas”-and try to convince him to join in again just as a Justine Clarke song suggests spitting out watermelon pips. Your child obliges and makes spitting attempts in your direction. You wonder why he is being so wild when you notice all the other kids are following suit and falling about laughing as their spittle flies in each other’s faces.
The music ends. The teacups are empty. The children and overstimulated and tired. You are frazzled. You paid for this? Same time next week?
Everyone loves a toddler dance party-they can be a fun part of a Friday night for parents home with their kids- but this doth not a music class make! Are the kids being entertained? Yes-ish. Are they having value added to their musical development? No. Will you feel empowered and encouraged to replicate this kind of music experience at home? Definitely not!
At Sounds Like This we create a calm and cosy environment for children to build a strong foundation in music skills. We use real instruments in real time to foster an understanding of pitch, tone and beat. Our philosophy is that by giving parents the confidence to share music with their child, we can pass on a lifelong gift to the next generation. Ready to experience a real music class with teachers trained in music? Come and check us out.