You may have noticed that we’ve been posting some great pieces from our new contributor (and recent Philly transplant!), Mister John, aka John Francisco, about his experiences teaching music classes to the most precocious kids. He’ll be writing for us regularly, which is thrilling, but equally thrilling are his music classes that officially start up next week at Philly PACK’s studio in Queen Village. I stopped by one of Mister John’s Open Houses today with my 3 year old to see what he’s all about.
First, the classes are held in a gorgeous, sunny dance studio on 4th Street in Queen Village, so it’s easy to get comfortable in such a warm, welcoming space. Having attended baby and toddler music classes over the years in some less-than-cozy spots, I feel compelled to give a shout out to Philly PACK for creating such a fab studio that kids and grown ups alike can appreciate and enjoy.
We catapulted into the fun with a drum – or “tambor” en Español, if you prefer – and a couple of upbeat songs in English and Spanish. With one giant drum for Mister John (the most enthusiastic of the children banged away on it as well) and mini drums for the kids and grown ups, it was easy to get right into the spirit. After that was the requisite Hello Song to get to know the names of all the kiddos in the room, followed, coincidentally, by a performance of one of our all time favorite Laurie Berkner songs, which made my daughter happy.
And then, shaker time! What little one doesn’t love these things? I’m still finding plastic “shaky eggs” in my purse on occasion. And what song did Mister John do for shaker time? He rocked it out with his own personal acoustic rendition of the late, great Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody! And let me tell you, as someone who has been to countless music classes in my six-plus years as a mama, there is nothing better than hearing an old school favorite that you can rock out to as well. At my house, we try to share our favorite “grown up” music with our girls (for our own sanity as much as anything) and this same sensibility from Mister John made me very, very happy. The adults need to have fun, too, right?
After that, there was fun with a shy monkey puppet, a marching song and some bubbles (also a staple in any baby music class worth it’s salt). Then, we closed with another one the mommies and daddies could appreciate, I Will Always Love You.
All in all, I highly recommend Mister John. His class was solid and there was not a boom box or CD player in sight to help him along. We never stopped moving and singing and interacting with the instruments. Mister John himself is personable, good with the kids, talented and a wonderful addition to the Philly kids music scene. We’re so glad he decided to make the move to the City of Brotherly Love.
If you’re interested in a free trial class, there is still time to register! Sessions are broken up into Newbies (birth to 6 mos), Teenies (6 to 12 mos), Minis (12-24 mos) and Mighties (2 years), so your class will be tailored to your wee one’s age-specific needs.
The fall session starts this week, but Mister John is allowing rolling enrollment through the fall, so don’t miss your chance to spend some time with him. Bonus: he’s also available for parties!
Mollie Michel, Editor of A Child Grows in Philly, is a South Philly resident and a Philadelphia public school parent. A recovering non-profit professional, Mollie is also an experienced birth doula, Certified Lactation Counselor, and the mom of two awesome girls and a sweet pit bull named Princess Cleopatra. In her spare time, she is usually trying to figure out how Pinterest works, training for a(nother) half-marathon with her dog at her side, or simply trying to keep up with her increasingly wily daughters.