This heat makes me wanna go join some conga lines somewhere or something-- you know, anything to feel like I am on a tropical cruise and not baking away, pregnant, in early August. This might be why I loved Music Together, lead by Erica Berry's company Jammin' Baby, over at Briar Chapel Clubhouse the other day.
Jammin' Baby leads a bunch of Music Together classes throughout the area (which is nice since the one originally held at University Mall is no longer there). You can take classes at Briar Chapel, NC Botanical Gardens, Apex Performing Arts Center, Dance Theater South in Durham, and NC Dance Institute in Raleigh. Really, all over.
Erica's classes are mostly "Mixed Age "classes, which means for kids 0-5. However, starting in the fall she is going to be offering a "Big Kids" class for those ages 5-7 (as well as adding the locations SmartMomma and Kidzu to her repertoire). So we tried out the Mixed Age class. Most the kids in there were 2-3 years old, but there were some younger ones too. Honestly, non-crawlers might not get the most out of this (try out Kindermusik for the really little ones) but the crawlers and walkers were having an absolute blast.
This is also great for parents with more than one. The older ones can run around in a safe environment while the younger ones can take it all in. And both are learning.
Since I mentioned Kindermusik, let me talk for a second about how I feel these are different. Kindermusik is strongly curriculum-based. Both programs offer a different theme each session. Yet Kindermusik sticks very closely to that theme. There you learn a lot of traditional and folk songs within the concepts. Music Together seemed to be based more on the composition of the class members. Lots of active dancers? Then we put on Jackson Five songs, bust out some instruments, and just dance. I am a big fan of both programs - I encourage you to try out each to see which your kid enjoys (Jammin' Baby and Kindermusik both offer 1 free trial class). Or, of course, if you are like me you can pick solely based on location and time. I am fickle.
I haven't personally done the Music with Mar classes (although you can find Sarah C.'s great review here), but I will say that neither Kindermusik nor Music Together have storytime. You do, of course, get the other benefits of learning how to behave, cleaning up, sharing, getting out energy, and other wonderful things that pair with group activities for kids. And both programs really focus on rhythm, diversity of music, movement, and song to tell stories. Again, I make my decisions based on 3 things: schedule, location, and , let me say it again, schedule.
To register for Music Together, you do have to sign up for a session. It is 10-weeks and each class is 45- minutes long. And, get this, if you do the Big Kids class, classes are 60-minutes parent attendance is only required on the first and last days of the session. Did I hear coffee break for mama in there?
Erica Berry is one smart cookie. She is educated, knows how to run a business, has 2 kids of her own so loves to be around children, and is so talented. Her voice is great!
So yeah, while I certainly adored this class, the biggest fan was C, which is a good sign. He couldn't get enough.
Registration for the sessions at time of publication is $175 for the first child (or about $18/class), $70 per child after that for Mixed Age class; $185 for the first child, $85 per child after that for the Big Kids class. You do get take home materials such as CDs, books, and parent activity suggestions. If you register for the fall session before August 15th you can get a $10 discount (see the website below for details and the code).
By the way, Music Together is only part of what Erica's company, Jammin' Baby, does. Jammin' Baby will also do birthday party musical entertainment for kids as well as curriculum and classes for preschools, churches, and the like. You can email her your questions via the online form. She responds quickly!
Jammin' Baby/Music Together