Tuesday, January 22, 2008

William plays the blues

We had our second Kindermusik class of the new year this afternoon.

I don't know if the others in the class love to have us there--it's a rowdy class, but take a wild guess who's the rowdiest member--but William and I really do enjoy it. The class took a month hiatus, probably so the teacher could recover from the exceedingly high activity and noise levels that are the hallmark of our class. And we discovered that we missed our weekly class. So we both looked forward to the new semester, which started up again last week.

Last term, I felt guilty that my son, who is the youngest member of the class, tended to run around the class in circles for a good bit of the time. But as the weeks slid by, he started paying more attention. He has always loved the rudimentary instruments that we use: the sand blocks, the rhythm sticks, and so on. But he actually managed to play the triangle and a cymbal one week. And he discovered the great joy that is "We all fall down!" in "Ring A Round the Rosy."

Last fall, one of the other parents saw that I looked frustrated after a class. William had run around like a wild man, wiggling to get out of my lap almost every time I tried to get him to sit down and listen to the songs. He reassured me that his son, who is a year older than William, spent most of the first year in music class running around, too. "But they pick up on things," he told me. "You'll see." And slowly, I am seeing. William does still run around a lot, but tonight, he managed to play his rhythm sticks pretty well, sit down on the story blanket for most of the "Shiny Dinah" book and actually listen to the story, and dance with me for an entire instrumental number. I'd say he's made definite progress. I still feel like I'm part of a wrestling match a fair amount of the time, but I don't think you can expect a 21-month-old boy to sit still and be quiet and follow all instructions for almost an hour. I mean, maybe you can, but I sure can't. I'm just pleased that he's able to do what he's doing now. And I'm happy that he's really having fun. Anything else at this point would be lagniappe.

Another good thing about this semester. This time, in all our lessons and songs, we're concentrating on trains, buses, and other things that go. Needless to say, William is thrilled. Sing and and dance and read about and make noises like trains for an hour? Sign him up.

To our mutual delight, our new "at home" kit not only came packaged in a box shaped like a choo choo train, but it also contained two harmonicas.

I think William has some real natural aptitude for the harmonica. (Monnn-kahh is his name for it.) He hasn't quite figured out that he can slide the harmonica back and forth to hit all the notes in an octave, but he does understand that if you breathe in, it makes one noise, and if you blow into it, it makes another.

I like to call that two-note song "The Toddler Blues." Think of all the things William has in his life that could inspire him to play the blues. Diaper rash. Time Out. Vegetables. Naptime. The baby gate at the foot of the stairs. It's enough to make me want to pull out my own harmonica.

Speaking of which...I am delighted to report that I can actually fake knowing something about music when I "play" my harmonica. Maybe it's not too late to teach this old dog some new tricks after all. Why is it that playing--or even just pretending to play--the harmonica is so much fun?


natalie said...

How fun! I can't wait to do this with the Critter when he gets a bit older. We did go to one music class when I was on maternity leave, but he didn't get much out of it. I did re-learn some words to some songs, though, so it wasn't a complete loss!

Anonymous said...

Can't wait to hear the "Toddler Blues" in person. Maybe you can work up a duet.