Monday, December 13, 2010

Music with Mar.

From Sarah C.:

Thanks to a great find by Stacey "S'Rich", she and I recently took our boys to their first music class - Music with Mar. The class is offered three days a week in Durham and is open to drop-ins. If you're like us, some weeks are almost impossible to schedule so it's nice to be able to just show up.

When D and I arrived, the instructor, Ms. Laurie, introduced herself and made us feel right at home. One of the first things she told me was it was ok if the children got up and moved around the room during the class. Those with active toddlers can surely understand what a relief that is - it's nearly impossible to keep them seated for any extended amount of time. Although, D surprised me by sitting quite nicely most of the class. It really seemed to capture his attention.

The class is a mixture of music, storytime, marching, instruments and, of course, lots of fun. At the beginning, there was a pile of stuffed frogs on the floor in the middle of the room. Each child selected one to hold onto for the intro song. Of course, some children took more than one, but they all seemed to share nicely and I didn't see any fuss over who got which one. When that portion of the class was over, Ms. Laurie brought out a suitcase and each child brought up their frog(s) and placed them inside. For one whose child is always pulling and dumping things out, I was shocked (and thrilled) to see D join right along and put his away too. Maybe we'll learn more than music here! I like a class where we can learn good habits.

During a later song, Ms. Laurie called each child by name for them to come up and get a pair of sticks to tap together. I watched as each child sat there waiting their turn to go up. (Ok, so a few were more eager and their parents helped keep them back until called, but there was no mad rush by all the littles to the bag of sticks.) Admittedly, Stacey and I were on alert throughout this entire segment fearful our boys would turn these rhythm sticks into weapons. They surprised us in doing a good job of using them appropriately and, again, putting them away when the time came.

Other things about the class we loved...
  • It's more than *just* music. As mentioned above, the children learn various useful skills such as cleaning up after a playtime is finished. Part of the rhythm segment included practicing the alphabet. Each letter is pronounced as the kids tapped their sticks together or to the floor. Ms. Laurie made an excellent point while doing this that often when singing the ABCs, letters l, m, n, o, p get strung together like one giant letter. By tapping them out one by one, the children learn each one.
  • Learning how to behave in a group setting. During storytimes, D will often have difficultly sitting still for the entire time. This is in part due to his age and in part due to us being at home where it isn't necessary to sit for extended times. I was truly amazed how how easily he sat during most of this class. Part of it, as I mentioned previously, is surely due to how entertained he was, but I also feel part of it was watching and learning from the other children.
  • It's not just sitting still. The kids get up to select props for the different segments (stuffed animal, rhythm sticks, musical instrument) and to help with clean up. They march around the room and play their instruments. They pop bubbles.
  • It's a class for all ages. This is great for parents with multiple kids or those with one and struggling to find an age appropriate activity. There were little ones in their carrier seats (I think one even slept through the whole class!) to preschool age all having a great time.
  • The class fee is per family so your cost will be the same if you bring one of your children or the entire brood. Current prices are $7 per class or purchase a 5 class deal for $30 - check the website (listed below) to verify and for further details.

Music with Mar. | Durham Class Schedule | Basic Class Info

Mondays at 10am - with Ms. Laurie
Hope Valley Farms Clubhouse
4818 Roxboro St, Durham

Mondays at 4:30pm - with Ms. Pearly
St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church
8306 NC Highway 751, Durham

Tuesdays at 10am & 11am - with Ms. Laurie
Hope Valley Baptist Church
6900 Garrett Rd, Durham

Wednesdays at 10:30am - with Ms. Pearly
St. Barbara Greek Orthodox Church
8306 NC Highway 751, Durham

*Class locations & times updated June 20, 2011. Check the class schedule link above to verify.*



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