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I did it. I went to a Library Music thing for kids. Yes, I am a professional musician. But I don’t know what’s best for a baby’s musical development. So I went (actually I went twice) to a program that Meredith Pizzi offered at the Melrose Public Library.

One of the highlights for me:

  • When grooving to rhythmic music with your kid, tap on the bottom of his foot (or help him make contact with the ground with the entire bottom of his foot, not just tiptoes). 

Another amazing aha moment in the session came when a SMART parent asked Meredith what type of recorded music would be good to play for her kid. Meredith seized this opportunity to empower parents, and to help make the world a better place. She told us to play music that has been recorded by a specific artist or symphony (i.e. not Baby Einstein Lullabies, or Famous Random Adagios but “Peter and the Wolf” performed by the London Philharmonic, or Bach Cello Suites performed by Pablo Cassals).

An aside: there is a lot of great music made for kids by specific, thoughtful, excellent artists. A few of our faves at the moment include Rani Arbo/Daisy Mayhem’s “Ranky Tanky,” or Gustafer Yellowgold, or Fox & Branch‘s fun folk music for kids.

Back to Meredith, I thought her answer was so wonderfully specific, teaching us all to fish for a lifetime. I’m sure she’d have good things to say to this nice mom who contacted me recently (since she knows I’m a musician and a mom):

“Hey, Shannon, do you know of good live kid music for kids in Boston this summer?”

My thoughts are hurray for all the kid music out there! Typing Boston Family & Kid Events into a search engine yields lots of awesome results. AND I think it’s also great for families to go to “normal” shows. Why not take a kid to a concert of music you like (especially if it’s folk, classical, jazz… not too loud)? There are matinees, which can be easier for scheduling. But kids can stay up sometimes. It’s okay.

My son is 11 months old and has been to dozens of concerts. He loves to move to music. And when a song is over, he applauds with everybody else. Sometimes he also hollers for joy, and every once in a while he gets antsy and fussy; so I like to position myself at the end of a row, close-ish to the door. But I do not rush him out the second he opens his mouth. I stay relaxed and smile calmly at him–maybe I hold him close and whisper something supportive to him. He usually gets the idea that I still love him way more than the show that’s going on… and then he relaxes back into the music.

I love Meredith’s take on things–and I am grateful for all the wonderful Musikgarten, Music Together, Kindermusik classes out there for parents and babes. It’s great to make music together. It’s great to play recorded music for/with your kids.

And, really, it’s great to go and hear live shows together. It takes energy, coordination, and bravery. And it is totally worth it. A baby at a concert makes the world a better place. (Usually.)

Leap, Little Frog

a musician's musings on nesting, being creative, traveling, and parenting