Rhode Island Music Class For Babies and Young Children

Music plays an integral part of my life.  I’m a little obsessed.  I’ve taught music as my job, performed in musical ensembles almost all of my life, received a Bachelor of Music from the University of Rhode Island, and currently perform in the Rhode Island Wind Ensemble. It’s safe to say that, I am what one could refer to as, an elitist.  

I believe that every child is musical, and it’s an important facet of their life to nurture 

In light of this, Hubby and I sang to Itty Bitty when he was in the womb, and continue to sing and/or play music for him now that he is out and about in this big ol’ world.  James Taylor seems to be his favorite artist, and Michael Giacchino is his favorite composer.  (Yes, my seven month old has a favorite composer.  He’s already becoming an elitist like his mommy)  I’ve always wanted my child, even before I ever had to need to have one, to experience all things music throughout their life.

So, naturally, I’ve looked forward to taking Itty Bitty to music classes of his own before he was even in my belly.

My ultimate wish came true when, this fall, we began taking classes at East Side Music Together with Jennifer Romanat at Temple Beth El in Providence. 

The location has ample parking, but we usually walk there because we live so close. Overall, Jennifer’s classes are available for caregivers and children who range from newborns through five years old.  While there are many sessions that are comprised of mixed ages, Jennifer offers only one class strictly for babies. The 9 week-session only for babies is the one that Itty Bitty and I are currently taking.  

Jennifer is an INCREDIBLE instructor!  She is enthusiastic, talented, and is exceptionally engaging. I actually think Itty Bitty has a crush on her – because, throughout the entirety of the full hour of our Baby Music Together class, he just stares and smiles at her.  And trust me, he barely even smiles at his own mother.  Suffice it to say, she meets both of our elitist standards 🙂

When one takes an East Side Music Together class, in addition to the nine weekly 45-minute classes, they also receive a bunch of great materials to take home – including a songbook and two CD’s. There are several songs on the CD and they are the same ones that we sing each week in class. I keep one of the CD’s in our kitchen, and the other has a permanent home in the player of my car. Although it’s been tough having to sacrifice my guilty pleasure of N’Sync during my car rides in favor of Jennifer’s CD,  it’s also amazing to see Itty Bitty listen to, and recognize, his favorite songs from class.  Actually, I’d have to say that the CD is a blessing.  Seriously. Having as many musical options as possible has helped save my sanity at times.  Believe you me, one can only sing, “Twinkle Twinkle”, or, “Sweet Baby James” so many times before they completely lose their minds!

During class, Itty Bitty and I sit in a circle with the other mommies/caregivers and babies.  Jen opens with a familiar welcome song, in which each of us can participate and sing our name along with our baby’s name. It can be a little intimidating to sing in front of people you don’t know, but Jennifer is so warm and supportive that one’s apprehension just goes away very quickly.  Singing along, regardless of one’s talent, is also great because the songs are rather catchy, and best of all, our babies get to see us participating in class as well!

The rest of the lesson consists of about twelve different songs, that vary week to week. Each song has a specific lesson and is  played or sung for a particular reason.  Some songs focus on teaching the child how to a keep a steady beat, and others work on dynamics.  Some are nonsense words put to fun rhythms while others have gorgeous lyrics and pretty melodies that are sure to get stuck in your head.  The music nerd in me loves going to these classes because it knows it’s they’re incredibly sound educationally!   

Each class we are encouraged to dance with our babes in any way we want. Eventually, when they can dance independently, we will be able to see how creative they are with movement!  I can’t wait to see Itty Bitty’s interpretive dances!  Maybe he’ll dance like Will Ferrell in the movie Old School 🙂

Itty Bitty’s favorite part in the class, without a doubt, are the several songs where the babies and children are given instruments.  Jennifer has a variety of instruments/scarves/props for the kiddos, and a special, “Tasters Choice” bin that is reserved for any instrument that might have made it’s way inside someone’s mouth and is later sanitized.  Itty Bitty is a tasty musical instrument connoisseur, and makes sure to put his mouth on any piece he can get his grubby little hands on. 

Sometimes they get to play with egg shakers.

Or the fun apple shaker…

Rhythm sticks are always fun!

Itty Bitty and the rest of his class LOVE playing on the drums!

I love how he bangs along on the drum with us – a percussionist in the making!
Our East Side Music Together classes have been an incredible and special experience for us both.  Itty Bitty has met some more baby friends, and I’ve gotten to know some new moms!
I feel like he is saying “Fabulous job on that tambourine solo!”
Why do I LOVE East Side Music Together?

  • It’s a fantastic parent/guardian bonding activity to do with their young one
  • A perfect activity all year round – you can get out of the house and go somewhere warm and dry!
  • Great place to meet new friends
  • I honestly love going, and enjoy singing along and seeing Itty Bitty’s eyes light up each and every class! 
  • It’s an interactive experience for care givers and babies alike.
  • Each baby gets distinct and personal attention from Jennifer
  • Small and intimate classes.
  • Nursing friendly and it gets me out of the house to be social.
  • Class literature and music changes each semester – so you continue with the program you will have a whole new assortment of songs!
  • Babies can not only take the baby class, but can also be a part of the 0-5 year old East Side Music Together classes, which are offered on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

I highly recommend taking a class at East Side Music Together with Jen!  If you’re interested – email jen@eastsidemusictogether.com or call her at 401.497.4002, or visit their website – here!  If you’d like to peek in for a trial lesson, just contact Jennifer! That’s how I got hooked!

The Winter Semester of East Side Music begins on January 6th!  New families can begin to register on December 12th, whereas current families can register now!  

What are your thoughts on exposing babies to music?