Exploring Music and Movement with Music Bees - Celebrating Reigate
Find My Reigate exists to bring families closer to the fantastic community on our doorstep. Our 'Celebrating Reigate' series looks to put the spotlight on the individuals, businesses and locations that makes our corner of Surrey such a great place to be.
On the website, we have grouped activities by different types so that it is easy and quick for you to search. Over the coming months we will be chatting to providers in the different categories to see why they are important for children's development, what you can do at home and of course getting some local tips and tricks for how they like to entertain their little ones.
Today we are getting our groove on with amber jones, creator and founder of music bees.
Not only has Amber Jones has been a familiar face in both Reigate and Redhill library Rhymetime and music sessions, she is also a professional vocalist and songwriter with an amazing double life as the house music artist Amber Jolene. She is passionate about music and her most recent project is Music Bees, a brand new music and movement class for babies and toddlers.
Music Bees is a class that you've developed for babies and toddlers. What can parents expect from your classes?
In Music Bees classes, children will begin to learn the foundations of musicianship developing their sense of rhythm, phrasing and pitch - without them even realising it! Through movement they will develop their body awareness, balance and coordination. I hope that everyone that comes to my class leaves feeling energised and like they’ve bonded with their child, and the rest of the group, through the power of music. There’s lots of evidence out there about how developing your child’s musicality at an early age can help improve their communication and interpersonal skills, both now and later and life. However, more importantly than that, my classes are all about enjoyment. I love singing and making music and I really hope that comes through during the classes. I’ve always loved musical play with my children and it’s great to be able to share that passion with my Music Bees.
What inspired you and what are you hoping to achieve?
The classes have been inspired by all my experiences of music, both in performing, but also listening and learning about music throughout my life. I’ve been particularly inspired by Zoltán Kodály and his techniques of teaching the foundations of music to young children using the body and the voice. I have loved signing with my both my children and still continue to do so despite my eldest now being 5! Not all kids are verbal and I believe there should be more signing used in nurseries and schools. All forms of alternative communication should be encouraged! Music Bees classes include lots of singing games, Makaton signing, movement, the use of simple props – like bubbles (there’s got to be bubbles!), and a mixture of traditional nursery rhymes along with my own original material.
Why is music so important for children?
I think music is important for everyone! It brings people together and gets them out of their own heads. In the modern world, where we are bombarded with technology and the internet, I really believe that it’s never been more important to connect with music. That goes for parents and children as much as it goes for anyone else. We all need music in our lives!
What easy steps can we all do to encourage music at home?
We are all big music fans in our house, so it’s never been a difficult to encourage music. We have music on all the time, whether it’s on the radio or in the car, and the kids have grown up singing a wide range of songs – some of them pretty obscure! I think, other than listening to music together, when they are young, the best thing to do is to just start singing with them and playing small basic percussion instruments is a good starting point. I’m a big fan of the egg shaker!
How does performing for toddlers compare to life in the lights as professional musician Amber Jolene?
Well they both have a certain amount of pressure involved, that’s for sure! I’ve loved performing as a professional musician during my career to date, and I’ve been very lucky to play in front of a wide variety of people around the world. Music Bees is something different and equally as wonderful. Since having my two children, I’ve always wanted to bring my passion for music into their lives – and, I think quite naturally, that has led me to create the Music Bees group. I have seen first-hand how much fun parents and children can get from singing and making music together.
I think lots of parents probably regret not learning an instrument as a child. What is the best age and instrument to start more formal learning with?
Well, the popular answer here would be to get them starting early – and clearly there’s lots of advantages to starting to learn when you are young. However, I think age is less important than enjoyment. You can start learning at any age and you are most likely to be successful if you enjoy it. If you can get your kids singing and having fun with music early, there’s every chance that they will enjoy music and will more open to more formal learning when they get a bit older.
Where are your favourite local spots to take your little Music Bees to?
I’m always on the lookout for anything musical on at local theatres such as The Hawth and Dorking Halls, and even the local library for the kids. We saw ‘We’re Going On a Bear Hunt’ this summer which was a fantastic production. We regularly venture to the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon too which is an incredible children’s theatre. Other than that, we eat a lot of cake and babyccinos in a variety of favourite local spots such as the Redhill Aerodrome, Priory Farm & Priory Park.
Find out more:
Check out the Music Bees Facebook page for news of new classes & venues for 2018
Current classes for January 2018:
Monday afternoon classes for babies (0-18 months) run at The Nest, The Old Tannery, Oakdene Road, Redhill 2: 2:45 pm, £5 PAYG
Thursday afternoon classes for crawlers to walkers (18 months-4 years) run at Earlswood Baptist Church, St Johns Road, Earlswood, 2-2:45 pm, £5 PAYG