Most of the music programs out there for tots and babies are fairly pricey and you have to get to every class to make it worth the money. The price per class is more than my “under $5” limit, usually running at around $6 to $8 at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre and a whopping $14.50 or $18 per class at Brittania Community Centre. I was looking forward to taking Monita to an early music class in the hopes that she inherited her Dad’s natural talent at playing and singing rather than my slightly tone-deaf warble, but the attention span of a one-year-old does not warrant shelling out big bucks for an hour of sing-along time. The drop-in music class at Mount Pleasant seems to be the answer.
What happens: Jennifer sings and plays her guitar, running through the traditional gamut of kids songs with a few of her own songs thrown in. Babes/tots sit with or near their parents and play with a wide variety of musical instruments including shakers, tambourines, drums and wooden blocks. Everyone is encouraged to take part in the actions and sing along. Halfway through the class, Jennifer plays a couple of songs on the stereo for a short dance party to get everyone moving before continuing with the singing. It’s worth it to note that the repertoire is mostly the same during each class. I’ve found that once a month is a good amount for both my wallet and my interest level. If you’re looking for a class that really involves the kids or teaches them music basics like rhythm or scales, this isn’t it. But if you want to have fun singing and beating out a rhythm in a relaxed environment, it does the job perfectly.
Why it’s fun: During the dance party section, Jennifer pulls out a variety of colourful bellydancing scarves for the kids to wear. It’s fascinating to the little ones and encourages the older ones to spend some energy shaking it. Jennifer has a lovely voice, which is loud enough to drown out the cacophony of twenty kids randomly “playing along” on the musical instuments. Most of the songs are familiar ones (“The itsy-bitsy spider”, “This old man”, “Doe, a deer..”) and if you like to sing, even off-key, there’s no shame in belting it out with the other Mamas.
Where and when: Thursdays at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre (Where Kingsway and Main St. meet, map), 10:00 – 11:00am. Pay $4 at the desk and bring your receipt to Jennifer at the start of the class. (Note: It says $3 / child, $5 / family in the program guide but this has apparently changed.)