Music Together

It's no secret that I find this full-time mom thing to be a little too solitary. When Daniel was a few weeks old, I made a couple half-hearted attempts at attending a group for pre-crawlers and their caregivers at Happy Bambino but there were too many people (sometimes 20 moms would show up) and we mostly went around the circle talking about diapers and breastfeeding. Like I care how many times some stranger's kid poops in one day. Later in the spring, I went to a mom-and-baby yoga class for about two months, and it was great, but none of us kept in touch when we disbanded for the summer.

I decided that with the new year I would find some way of socializing more with Daniel. He's 11 months old now, and he definitely notices other kids. Besides, I was cripplingly shy when I was a young child, and I want to try and prevent that in my own kid if I can. Artificially constructed playgroups hold absolutely no appeal to me. How does an introvert like me crash a room full of strangers with whom I have essentially nothing in common besides motherhood? There's a kid across the street about ten months older than Daniel, and I think his parents probably have a lot in common with us, so at some point I'll have to get over my residual shyness and just go over there and find a non-awkward way to say "Do you want to be my friend?"

Another option is finding a music class for infants and toddlers. A few years ago I took a workshop to get certified in the Musik Garden curriculum. I ended up not teaching any early childhood music classes, but I've incorporated a few aspects of the curriculum into my private teaching. If you've ever had experience with Kindermusik or the Yamaha early music classes, it's all pretty similar. There are songs, rhymes, movement exercises, and rhythm instruments, that kind of thing. I've heard people scoff at early childhood music classes for being tailored to wealthy, pushy, competitive parents who are trying to make little Einsteins out of their children, but as a musician, I can tell you that there are significant benefits to exposing very young children to music in this kind of a setting.

So this morning I took the plunge and took Daniel to a 45-minute session of a Music Together class at a nearby piano store. Music Together is yet another curriculum, but from what I could tell, it was basically the same as the rest. Daniel was the youngest child there by at least a year, and he was clearly intimidated by all the older children and the extra noise. Still, he seemed to enjoy it. I was impressed that one of the rhymes was in 7/8 time; you're never too young for additive rhythm, eh?

I wasn't sure about the overall vibe, though. For one thing, I wished there would have been at least a couple more children closer to Daniel's age. (We were sitting next to a gigantic 3-year-old who wasn't very friendly to Daniel when he crawled close to her to investigate her egg-shakers. She's going to end up beating up kids like Daniel on the playground someday, I think.) For another thing, I noticed that my little '97 Honda Civic with its carefully chosen lefty bumper stickers was dwarfed by all the shiny, new-looking mini-vans and SUVs in the parking lot. I don't want to pass judgment right off the bat, but I just have a sneaking suspicion I won't meet any kindred spirits there.

Fortunately, the teacher's policy is that first-timers can attend one class for free to try it out, so I didn't have to commit us to a ten-week session right then and there. She said I could come to Friday's class and see if that is a better fit. If not, I guess I'll just have to keep looking.

Comments

Thorny said…
Have I told you about the Moms in Madison Yahoo! group before? It's just a Yahoo! mailing list group, but it's for moms of kids ages 0-5, and a bunch of people tend to form playgroups out of the people they meet through it. And it's kind of nice to kind of "screen" the other parents - you have a chance to get to know them via email before you ever meet them or their kids. Also it's easier to tailor a playgroup for kids of more similar ages. It's just "MomsinMadison" on Yahoo!. There's also a website: www.momsinmadison.com, natch.

Also, my boys are older and a bit on the rambunctious side, but we could always meet at a park or something (especially if this weather continues as it has) - thornacious (at) gmail (dot) com.

Of course, I'm no playgroup butterfly either - I've got like one local mom I hang out with regularly, and another one or two who I talk about making plans with a lot, but we never quite seem to pull it off. sigh.
Animal said…
Only 11 months old and Danimal is already noticing a girl's egg-shakers, is he?? Such a ladies man!

;-)

I admire your attempt to introduce him to organized music at that young age. But, of COURSE I think that the world needs more parents to care about educating their kids in the arts!

Failing a good group fit, I'd be happy to supply the young Daniel with a great mix of blistering heavy metal to supplement his lack of napping...
katie said…
Hey there, Suze. I'd appreciate your insight on the different early childhood music programs you know. a couple years ago I started writing my own, and I'm trying to get more serious about it. Any ideas about dealing with the economic class issue? Anything you particularly like or don't about Music Garden or Music Together? I've only taught Kindermusik.

You've probably talked to Rachel about her Music Together experience, but if not, you should.

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