Select Page

Talking with Instruments and Maybe Even Learning Music as a First Language

Talking with Instruments and Maybe Even Learning Music as a First Language

With so many early childhood music classes and programs, they can all seem the same. So when I heard about Timbalooloo, I wasn’t expecting something so different. I spoke with Oran Etkin, founder of Timbalooloo, to find out more.

Oran impressed me with his intense passion for passing on the stories and language of music inspired by his experiences with West African and Indonesian musical learning traditions and his own early mentorships with jazz idols. Oran believes that children can learn music just as they learn their first language, maybe even AS their first language, and he teaches kids to feel music and talk with instruments. Listening to him, I imagine my daughter tip toeing and hopping in a Marriage of Figaro inspired search for Mozart and speaking through the drums in ways she can’t yet do with words.

Oran learned more when he was invited by jazz great Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen to play with a New Orleans jazz band at only 11 years old than he did from years of formal music education. His program program takes the same approach of feeling and living the music NOW, so it is an instinct later, rather than learning the rules first.

Timbalooloo is no sing-along baby class, but it does start as young as 0. This is an exploration of musical instincts and a cross-generational musical mission. It also sounds like a good time.

They are celebrating the opening of their new Soho location with a concert and parade this Saturday at City Winery, but they have classes already running and even do home classes.

I imagine all the Timbalooloo teachers are fantastic, but if they are all as committed as Oran, all our kids will be talking with music.


Not a sponsored post. I just think it sounds like something cool. – Shelly