From an early age Baby has loved listening to music, singing, dancing, playing tambourines, drums, xylophones, the keyboard and harmonica. When she was 18 months old, I thought she would benefit from a music class where she could extend her creativity by playing new instruments, singing and dancing. I discovered Wee Make Music - music and movement classes for babies from 3 months old to 5 year olds held in the Brisbane suburbs of New Farm and Bulimba.
I was interested in finding out more about the Wee Make Music curriculum which features a wide range of instruments for Baby to play, plus singing, movement, storytelling / listening, mime, imaginative play / improvisation, group dance, puppetry and musical interpretation.
Both Baby and I were excited to be attending our first music class and were warmly welcomed by Miss Louise who is both a teacher and owner of Wee Make Music. We were seated in a circle with other children and parents before the music class started with a welcome song introducing all the children by their first names. The first musical principle taught to the children was to keep a steady beat by patting their hands on their knees. Miss Louise explained the term ‘steady beat and that it is the building block for any musical pattern and rhythms. First and foremost children need to learn to hear and keep a steady beat’. As the steady beat gets faster and slower the children are introduced to the concept of changing tempos. I was already impressed and we had just sung the welcome song!
Then it was time for Baby’s favourite new instrument the triangle. Miss Louise explained the best technique for holding and playing the triangle. After some practice strikes with the triangle’s striker, it was time for the children to play their instrument to some real music which featured a ‘fire fighter’ theme. All the children were given a plastic fire helmet to complete their ‘fire fighter’ look, then encouraged to mime and dance to the song while playing their triangle. The children enjoyed every minute of this activity, which featured elements of dance, improvisation, story telling, mime, movement and music.
The next instrument introduced to the children was a drum with a colourful rainbow mallet. After playing the drum to a new song, it was time to learn the next instrument the finger cymbals. There is quite a technique to holding and playing the finger cymbals. The children are taught to hold a finger cymbal by pinching the string of the finger cymbal with their thumb and index finger. They then gently lower and raise each each hand, so the two cymbals play against each other making sweet music. It sounds much more controlled than a toddler’s first instinct – to crash the cymbals together like a toy monkey! Baby seemed to enjoy learning three new instruments already and we were only part way through the class.
The next song included playing both the finger cymbals and the drum. It presented a challenge for the children and taught them not only rhythm but coordination. It was then time for some tickle rhymes which created great interaction between the children and their parent as some favourite nursery rhymes were recited.
The experience was completed with a circle dance, then a partner dance with parent and child. There was a guest appearance by a puppet rabbit, who needed to be convinced to come out of his magic hat with the magic worlds sang by each child “Please” before “Good Bye”. It was then time for a quiet lullaby before the “Good Bye” song was sung to all the children.
For their participation the children are rewarded with ink stamps on their hands. All up it’s been a busy class for the children, who have been introduced to instruments, beats, rhythms, tempos, costume, singing, dance, puppetry and movement. It’s definitely a holistic sensory experience with plenty of benefits for children’s musical ability, movement, language development and confidence.
To join a complimentary preview class or to find out more, visit the Wee Make Music website or email firstname.lastname@example.org