My kids have always really loved music, and I think that's due in part to taking music classes like these starting when they were really little. We tried a few different classes around Marin and the North Bay, and really like the Kindermusik programs offered here in Novato by Music with Melissa. Regardless of which program you choose, there is a music class for every child from newborn to grade school.
If you’re thinking of getting your child involved in a music class, then now’s the time to sign up. Many classes will resume their sessions in January. Here’s an updated list we’ve put together of a variety of local music programs and classes. If we’ve left out your favorite class then please let us know, or, better yet, leave a comment and tell everyone why you and your kids love it!
Come and celebrate the holiday season with four of Marin's best loved kids entertainers: Tim Cain, Miss Kitty, Christopher Smith, and Cindy Cohen, accompanied by Peter Penhallow and the Dream Circle Band, for this year's Dream Circle Holiday Concert at the Bay Area Discovery Museum. The concert takes place this Saturday, December 10, 2016 with two performances at 10:30 and 11:45 am.
Bring the entire family ages 1 and up to sing and dance at this delightful and uplifting seasonal celebration featuring songs for a wide range of winter holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year. Dream Circle is indeed a dream lineup of the superstars of local children’s entertainertainment!
Come down to the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley for an all-ages concert of folk music for grown-ups and kids alike! The Little Folkies Family Band performs at "Date Night with the Tots" at the Sweetwater on Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 4 pm. Read on to learn how to win tickets to the show.
The band plays a mix of Little Folkies originals and old traditional folk songs for children. Inspired by the children's music of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Ella Jenkins, Jean Ritchie, Ruth Crawford Seeger's American Folk Songs For Children, David Grisman and Jerry Garcia's Not For Kids Only, Doc Watson's Songs for Little Pickers and more. You might even hear a little Bob Dylan or Grateful Dead cover songs as well if you're lucky. The four-piece band features Irena Eide (founder and composter of Little Folkies) on vocals and guitar, Matt Porter on banjo, Julay Brooks on mandolin and harmonies, and Grammy-nominated bassist Paul Knight.
Petite Marin is a new local mom-run business that creates children's apparel with a unique twist—they upcycle dad's old clothing to create new eco-friendly childrenswear, keeping old clothes out of the landfill and creating a precious keepsake, too. Send Petite Marin a cherished dress shirt and they will turn it into a child's romper or dress and matching cap or bonnet for sizes 6 months to 2T. All garments are handcrafted here in a California. This November they'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign and taking pre-orders for their unique sustainable children's fashions.
Marin Mommies asked Petite Marin founders Melina and Rachel a few questions about the business and their products and what they love about living in Marin. Learn more about Petite Marin at www.petitemarin.com.
Q: Please tell us about you and your background
A: I lived in Mill Valley as a child and attended Old Mill Elementary. I thought it was such a great place to raise a family and always wanted to return with my own children. I moved back shortly before my older daughter started kindergarten and met Rachel when our daughters were in the same class. They became close friends and so did we! Rachel moved here several years ago from the East Coast with her children and husband, an avid biker, who was thrilled to live within biking distance of his job in SF.
On Friday, August 15 and Sunday, August 17, Sing-Dance-Play and Music Together of Marin will host concerts for young children and their families featuring recording artist "Uncle" Gerry Dignan, whose music is featured on the CDs given to children who take Music Together classes. Friday's show takes place at 4 pm at San Rafael Community Center, 618 B Street, and Sunday's performance takes place at 4 pm at the Homestead Valley Community Center, 315 Montford Avenue in Mill Valley.
Admission is on a sliding scale of $5–$10 per person or $20 per family. The concert is suitable for families with children from birth to 8 years old.
The concerts will also feature Music Together of Marin and Sing-Dance-Play staff and teachers singing favorite Music Together songs. Both concerts benefit Bread & Roses, the Marin nonprofit organization dedicated to uplifting the human spirit by providing free, live, quality entertainment to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society. Bread & Roses produces almost 600 shows a year for children, adults, and elders in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Parents in Marin and the Bay Area looking for a music class for their kids have many options to choose from. One of the more unique resources for musical education for little ones is Little Folkies. Run by Marin parents Irena and Joshua Smith, Little Folkies keeps kids engaged and entertained with classic music in the spirit of folk legends like Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. Little Folkies' main studio is in San Francisco's Noe Valley, and they offer regular classes at locations in Marin, including San Anselmo and Mill Valley.
We asked Irena to tell us about how Little Folkies came about, and what makes it a unique music experience for children.
What makes Little Folkies different from other music classes?
There are a lot of aspects of Little Folkies which make it distinctly unique. But to what really sets Little Folkies apart from other music classes of its kind are three things… Songs, aesthetic, and the fact that the business is truly independent and locally born and bred right in San Francisco.
This Thursday we attended a performance of San Francisco Ballet's fantastic production of The Nutcracker. This is the Nutcracker that started it all—the San Francisco Ballet presented the first full-length performance of The Nutcracker in America way back in 1944—and as always it didn't disappoint!
We attended the first of the ballet's family performances. For these special performances, the Opera House opens at 6 pm, one hour prior to the 7 pm curtain time, and the first 500 children in the door received a cute teddy bear dressed in a scarf and Santa hat as a gift. In the lobby, costumed performers from the Nutcracker cast were on hand to greet children and for family photo opportunities. (Tip: make sure you get there early!)
The 1982 animated film The Snowman is one of our favorite holiday classics, and it's even more magical when accompanied by a live orchestra and choir. It's a great way to introduce kids to the symphony, too. This season, The Snowman is part of the San Francisco Symphony's special All is Bright Christmas matinee concert featuring the Pacific Boychoir, directed by Kevin Fox.
The first half of the All is Bright program will feature orchestral holiday favorites and sing-alongs with the Boychoir and soloists. Highlights include A Christmas Festival Overture and Sleigh Ride by Leroy Anderson, Carol of the Bells, Do You Hear What I Hear?, and more.
The second half of the program includes the 26-minute animated film The Snowman accompanied by the orchestra. All concert-goers will receive a complimentary glowing concert favor from the Symphony. Performances take place on Friday, December 20 and Saturday, December 21 at 2 pm.
If you've enjoyed any of the numerous song-filled offerings from Bay Area Children's Theatre, then you might very well already be familiar with the work of Marin mom Julia Norton, who serves as musical director for many of their productions, including the current Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Musical. She's also a composer, singer, award-winning recording artist, and teacher.
Marin Mommies caught up with Julia and asked her a few questions about her career, music, and what she and her family love about living in Marin. Learn more about her at www.julianorton.com.
Q: Please tell us a little about yourself. What's your background, and how did you get your musical career started?
A: According to my mum, I have been singing since before I could talk. I remember writing my first song with my best friend Lynne when we were 5 or maybe 6. It wasn't much to speak of lyrically and had lots of "la la las" in it, but we thought that if we wore matching pink cardigans, we might fool the public. Aged 8, I joined the village church choir with my mum. It was a 14th-century church and had gargoyles and gravestones carved in old English lettering. There I fell in love with early music, close harmonies and the dark and twisty lyrics that went with them.