#dadlife: time for baby music


By - Monday 3rd September, 2018

Making music with our daughter in Croydon


Photo by Oliwia Jesionkowska, used with permission.

They say that babies are never too young to enjoy music and I’ve certainly been putting that theory to the test with some great local activities this summer.

In July Zoo Co turned a space in the Whitgift Centre into a pop-up theatre. We took our daughter to an adaptation, by Collar & Cuffs Co, of the storybook Little Meerkat’s Big Panic.

It combined multi-sensory experiences, songs and interactions to create a wonderful introduction to musical theatre for our baby girl. The production also explored the neuroscience of anxiety and calm and was followed by a play session in which our little one enjoyed banging the bongos.

Photo by Musical Bumps, used with permission.

My wife and I love music and so our baby has always been surrounded by it. I kind of hoped that subjecting her to an eclectic mix of indie, rock and pop while in utero would increase our chances of raising the next Kate Bush or Joni Mitchell. At eleven months of age the signs are promising.

She loves banging things to make sounds and her reports from nursery reveal a love of the ‘music mat’ where she shakes the tambourine and tinkles the baby piano. At home, she drums on everything and loves her maracas and xylophone. I like to think of her as a female, baby version of Prince, expert in at least twenty-seven instruments.

Musical Bumps provides an environment full of singing and fun

It is this enjoyment of music that led us to try the Musical Bumps family classes at St Mildred’s in Addiscombe. Musical Bumps provides a learning-rich environment full of singing, percussion and fun. It teaches songs to soothe crying babies. There are also songs for playtime and lullabies for bedtime. Maree, who runs the Croydon classes, is great and the kids love the songs, games and toys.

Music is something that kids enjoy. It also supports learning. While musical education is intrinsically valuable, it is also proven to raise attainment in other subjects. It is never too early to start, and we hope to make the classes a feature of our child’s development.

I was once in a band that played the Black Sheep Bar several times on our world tour of… Croydon

Strange as it now seems, I was once in a band called The Swines and we played the Black Sheep Bar several times on our world tour of… Croydon. Sadly, though, I had to turn my back on my musical career, not because of the demands of fatherhood but due to a lack of talent.

I wonder if my daughter’s early interest in music might align with some natural ability and whether I can live vicariously through her. Or perhaps I could give up the day job and become my child’s manager, like Paul Weller’s old man. I can see our first goal: a homecoming gig at Fairfield Halls!

More likely, she’ll simply love music as I do… and that would be lovely, especially if we occasionally enjoy the same stuff. For now, I’ll just continue to encourage my baby’s interest in music and be thankful that there are so many cool, creative things for us to experience together in Croydon.

Martin Leay

Martin Leay

Martin has lived in Purley since 2014 and is passionate about the borough of Croydon. From 2015-2017 he presented and produced ‘Happy Sundays’ – an Indie, Rock and Pop show on Croydon Radio. His day job is in politics, carrying out research for Labour MPs. Martin became a Dad in September 2017 and is very proud that his daughter was born in Croydon.

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