Hear Me Sing
Saturday morning, we took RR to her first “music” class – a 10 week “class” every Saturday morning at 9:30am – sometime after breakfast, and on the daring cusp of naptime. The quotes in that last sentence there are intentional.
Right before RR turned 5 months old, I had contacted a few groups in town that offer music classes for babies. I like music, my wife likes music, RR LOVES music – it all seemed like a good idea. One of the folks in town emailed me back some specifics, but we weren’t able to commit ten Saturday mornings around all of the holidays, so we declined, and it fell off of my radar. To my surprise, the lady emailed me a couple of weeks ago to prompt our enrollment in the Spring series. Hooray! So, music classes: check!
Now sit for a second and think about music classes. For babies. And toddlers. Sit. Think. Keep thinking. Music. Classes. Babies. Picture yourself there.
OK now throw that all out the window.
Maybe it was only MY misconception that music classes for babies and toddlers maybe involved sitting around in our sock feet in a circle, singing recognizable kids’ songs (at least to my wife, who is like a kids’ song jukebox encyclopedia), smiling, making friends with other parents. Right? No.
Well the circle/sock-feet was right. And my wife knew one song (or was it considered a nursery rhyme?). But let me preface this by saying, this class was fucking awesome. OK, now that that’s out of the way.
We walked in to a smallish windowless room and we sat down in a circle with roughly ten other kids and their parents or grandparents. RR was the youngest and least mobile (at least, no one asked her to go backwards anywhere), and the oldest kid was maybe four? So we sit, and it becomes apparent (as in, the instructor tuning his classical guitar says to us: “You guys are the only new folks”) that everyone else has done this before. Many times before. Regulars, if you will. Everyone knows everyone’s kids’ names. He (super nicely) tells us (in so many words) to go with the flow. There’s a “setlist” of song named tacked up on the wall, and that’s where the structure both started and ended.
To start, we warmed up. No no no, not like “la la la la la.” More like…. loud percussive banging with your hands on the floor in front of you. This goes on, turns into controlled vocalizing, turns into wiggling your index finger on your lips, turns into pretending that your index fingers are bees and trying to buzz all around the room. And that’s just the beginning. My wife and I exchanged wide-eyed, dumbfounded, speechless looks to each other before powering through the next 55 minutes.
I think we did a good job keeping up, learning the words, the tunes, the melodies, and trying to convince RR that we had NOT, in fact, taken her to a cult sacrificial ceremony. An hour later, RR collapsed out of exhaustion in her car seat, and I felt like I had accomplished WAY TOO MUCH before 10:30am.
Contrary to another of my expectations, there was not a lot of parent-on-parent socializing. Even with the OTHER LESBIAN MOM in the circle. Sure, we’ve just spent an hour hopping, marching, buzzing, and speaking in tongues together – I suppose striking up some post-class small talk is too much to ask for.
I can’t wait to go back this Saturday, if only to at least be in “the know” about what to expect. I hope RR can grow a little extroversion out of this whole experience. Her usual rocking musical self was trapped (probably in fear) inside of her very large-eyed, pouty lip new-experiences face. They sent us home with CD’s and a music book of all of the songs, so hopefully we can orient ourselves a little this week; the music book even has guitar chords and tablature, so I can even play along.
In short, that was some crazy shit. There’s a reason that their website says “refunds are not available after the first class.” Because, I imagine, it’s not the sort of class cut out for everyone. Fortunately, I think we’re just crazy enough to like it a whole lot.