Philly really has an embarrassment of riches when it come to kids’ music classes — not only are there a ton of awesome options, but there ends up being something for everyone, whether you want a drop-in, a multi-week session, a rock-n-roll-focused class, a classical class, a drumming class, something more folksy, something just for babies, something designed for the whole family … you name it. Here’s a (big) snapshot of the range of stuff you have to choose from.
The class: Rhythm Babies
The neighborhood: Founding instructor Julie Salvano Rhythm Babies has added a second teacher to her popular series of classes, and now Rhythm Babies is all over the place — in stores and parenting centers in Fairmount, Graduate Hospital, South Street, the Main Line, West Philly, Chestnut Hill, and more. (Check here for full schedule.)
The ages: Between 4 months and 3 years; most classes are divided by age groups.
The details: The popular classes designed for kids and caretakers combine fun music education with hand signs, movement, stories and all sorts of play with toys, instruments, bubbles, books and more. Kids get to learn about rhythm, singing, movement — the whole deal.
The cost: Prices vary slightly by place (between $10 and $15 per drop-in class with class card discounts where available) — you can check exact prices on the schedule.
The class: Philly Art Center
The neighborhood: Queen Village, Fairmount, Cherry Hill
The age groups: Newborns to 4-year-olds
The details: Classes vary by age group, touching on things like instruments and song, rhythm, movement, timbre and pitch. All are fun, age-appropriate and interactive, and you can expect lots of dancing and giggling.
Drop-in? Sort of. The specific music classes are offered in a multi-week series, not drop-in — although the Art Center DOES offer a weekly creative drop-in class at each location, aimed at newborn through 3-year-olds, with different times set aside for each.
The cost: Between $110 and $146, depending on which class.
The class: Enchanted Music Together
The neighborhood: Several neighborhoods: Rittenhouse, Greys Ferry, Old City, Washington Square West
The ages: From birth through 9 years; classes are divided into the three classes newborns through 6 months, the mixed age class, which includes newborns through 5-year-olds, and kids from 5 to about 9 (parent attendance welcome but not required for that one).
The details: The long-running and popular program runs in 10-week sessions, focusing on instrument-playing, dancing, learning song collections, play, chanting, interaction with other kids and their caregivers … and more. (Helpful: There’s a Sunday class scheduled, so working parents can participate.)
Drop-in? No, but you can attend a free trial class.
The cost: Between $168 and $210 for the first child, depending on which sessions you’re looking at (with discounts for each sibling thereafter). Included in that price is music and a songbook for home.
The class: Nest
The neighborhood: Gayborhood and Chestnut Hill
The ages: 6 weeks to 3 years, divided into groups: 6 weeks to 12 months, 6 weeks to 3 years, with a music/movement Jamboree class for rambunctious 18-month to 3-year-olds.The Chestnut Hill location also has a family music class.
The details: Some classes are purely music — instrumentation, singing, interactive music-making, props, games, etc. — while the Jamboree classes incorporate movement and dance along with the music. Those targeted ages are always a plus — and there’s both original music and great teachers.
Drop-in? There is a drop-in option for the 6 weeks to 3 years class at the Center City location.
The cost: From $140/$152 for the 8-week session for Chestnut Hill/Center City members, respectively (different membership levels change the prices); from $170/$190 for nonmembers — prices vary by class and location.
The class: Music Theatre Philly
The neighborhood: Rittenhouse (a couple different locations)
The ages: Kids age 3 to 18 — there are several different classes, divided by age.
The details: So technically, this relative newcomer to the Philly kids’ class scene is more than strictly music — classes are focused on musical theater training (taught by Broadway veterans and theater professionals!), so there’s singing, dancing, choreography, even monologue coaching for the older kids. But if you’re into the idea of getting your little one singing Broadway classics and their favorite Disney songs, this is a really fun, adorable way to do it. (The dancing and staging are an added bonus.)
Drop-in? No, you sign up for these classes in 10- or 12-week sessions.
The cost: Starting at $250 for the session, with prices varying by age group.
The class: Mister John’s Music
The neighborhood: Queen Village
The ages: Newborns to 10-year-olds (for the older kids — that is, 5- to 10-year-olds — Mr. John teaches group guitar classes).
The details: People rave over Mister John — a.k.a. John Francisco, a musician with an extensive background in teaching all kinds of music to all kinds of kids. He leads engaging, magical classes for caregivers and littles that are aimed at newborns (with lullabies, response songs, kinetic activities and the introduction “new sounds” for tiny ones); aimed at slightly older babies (with dancing, swaying, puppets, props, instruments and more); aimed at both younger and older toddlers (lot of movement, real dance moves, how to sing, how to make friends, tempo pitch and more). As mentioned, the older kids (from 5- to 7-year-olds, and 8- to 10-year-olds) can sign up for Mister John’s group guitar classes.
Drop-in? No, registration is for sessions. You can, however, do a free trial class.
The cost: $125 for an 8-week session of any of the music classes; guitar classes are $155. (John also offers private lessons.)
The class: All Around This World
The neighborhood: Fairmount and West Philly
The ages: Newborns to 9-year-olds
The details: This one’s another really popular choice, focusing on music from around the world, with singing, dancing, guitar-playing, drum sessions, movement, and more. Sessions, which are designed for kids and parents, are separated into various age groups — there are all kinds of babies and toddler classes, as well as just babies, and one whole-family, and run eight to 11 weeks, depending on which location you’re talking about.
Drop-in? The preference is for families to register for the session, because as founding instructor Jay Sand has noted to me in the past, “coming each week helps develop a good relationship” … but that said, he and other instructors are open to drop-ins, if that’s preferable for a family and if space allows. Drop-ins are $20, plus $5 for any additional siblings. You can follow ’em on Facebook to stay up for happenings, performances, special drop-ins and the like.
The cost: Session prices vary slightly by location — between $175 (West Philly) and $187 (Fairmount), but there are class card deals for the West Philly location, as well as beaucoup discounts. Furthermore, in true community spirit, both locations offer a sliding scale payment system for families who want to participate but find the price prohibitive. (AATW is all-around awesome, basically.)
The class: Settlement Music School’s Children’s Music Playshop and Workshop
The neighborhood: There are locations of the esteemed music school’s classes in Queen Village, Germantown, the Northeast, Willow Grove, Wynnefield and Camden.
The ages: The Playshop is aimed at kids 6 months to 3 years, divided into two classes for babies and the toddlers; the workshop is designed for kids from 3 years on up to 7.
The details: Known as a serious music school, Settlement launched the playshop’s baby and toddler classes as a way to provide a “purposeful playtime that can be repeated at home” — you can expect things like singing games, movement, well-credentialed teachers, storytelling and music listening. The workshop is about forming a solid base of music instruction: theory skills, ear training, singing, creative movement — even a percussion class for parents and kids.
The cost: A 15-week Playshop session is $215 for ages 6- to 18 months and $245 for ages 19 months to 3 years. Financial aid is available. (You can contact the individual locations to ask about dropping in for a free trial.) The Workshop sessions are $500.
The class: DoMiSol Kids
The neighborhood: Rittenhouse and South Street
The ages: Newborns up through 4-year-olds, as well as one class devoted just to babies and a music-reading class for kids 4 and up.
The details: Parents and kids love the talented Elena and Andrey, a pair of classically trained musicians who’ve have been teaching kids for more than a decade. The classes include parents and their babies/toddlers/kids. (As the site explains, “Toddlers learn through play, they enjoy playing instruments, singing, dancing. Babies look up to toddlers, trying to imitate. Two- to 3-year-olds tend to interact with the teachers and other children, 4-year-olds like leading by playing the teacher’s role.”) Expect dancing and games along with all types of music — the classes work on rhythm, movement, melody, interactivity, even solfege (a technique for learning pitch). There’s also a Saturday class for the family (nice for working parents!).
Drop-in? Nope, you enroll for a 10-week semester.
The cost: $200 for first child, $140 for second. (Siblings that are 6 months and younger are free.)
The class: Music Monkey Jungle
The neighborhood: Rittenhouse, Washington Square West, Old City, Society Hill, No Libs and South Street
The ages: Newborns to 4 years.
The details: This class is high-energy, loud and totally original, thanks to guitar-wielding Lori Turner and her husband Andrew.They have their own (rather catchy) theme song, and a whole big slew of locations, so attending a class is easy — and there are singalong classes as well as drumming classes focusing on instrumental exploration, drumming techniques, rhythm symbols, right/left coordination, listening skills, tempo, dynamics and body percussion. Check out the schedule here.
The cost: $10 per kid (though babies under 5 months are free). You can also by a MMJ card at Momo’s Treehouse, the Children’s Boutique and Primp & Play — it’s $70 for 10 classes and the MMJ CD. (You can buy the card until 2/1.)
The class: The Music Class
The neighborhood: Rittenhouse, Blue Bell, Chestnut Hill, Society Hill,
The ages: Newborns to 4-year-olds (in one class called “Music Pups”); 4- and 5-year-olds in another class (“Music Cats”).
The details: This accessible program has a few teachers at multiple area locations, and focuses on dancing, singing, rhythm, listening skills and instrument play. The Music Pups class is another instance of mixed ages, and every family gets a songbook book as well as downloads or a CD with original songs so that the fun can spill over into the home.
Drop-in? No, but if you don’t want to commit to the 10-week session, they offer 4-week mini sessions. They also offer a free drop-in to check the class out.
The cost: $165 for 10 weeks of Music Pups ($170 for Music Cats), $72 for four weeks for Pups and $77 for Cats. Siblings get a discount.
The class: Music for Aardvarks
The neighborhood: Rittenhouse
The ages: Four months to 5 years – ages are mixed within a class.
The details: The national music program (founded in NYC) is known for classes with a cool, contemporary vibe and a huge variety of music that ranges from rock to reggae and more. (Also: many of the songs in the program are founder David Weinstone’s originals — songs that are also featured on Nick Jr. TV). Classes intimate (limited to 10 kids) so everyone gets a lot of attention. The 10-week sessions feature sing-alongs, instruments, dancing, props and lots of interactive fun with the music.
Drop-in? Yes, drop-ins are welcome if there is space — though you have to check ahead via email. $18.50 per class if you drop in.
The cost: Tuition is $185 — that also includes the Music for Aardvarks CD; siblings in the same class get a discount, and those under 6 months are free. (If there are spaces left, and you sign up late into the session, they will prorate your tuition.) You’re also allowed to take a trial class for free.
The class: Lara & Joe Show
The neighborhood: Fishtown (at By My Side Parenting on Wednesdays at 10 a.m.) and Center City (Tuesdays at 10 a.m. at Center City Pediatrics) — you can follow their Facebook page to stay abreast of those and other performances.
The ages: Babies up through young kids.
The details: So the Lara & Joe show isn’t really a class per se — but it is a great interactive musical show with a super dynamic and fun rock duo that’s amazing at getting everyone engaged in the performance. It’s 45 minutes of rock-out time, and Lara & Joe fans are legion.
Drop-in? Yup, totally drop-in.
The cost: $10 for the whole family.