There are numerous music and art classes for kids in NYC - each trying to differentiate themselves from one another. Allow me to shed some light on a real gem downtown - Church Street School for Music & Art. Recently, they invited the gang of NYC Dads and Kids to Pay Tribute to John Lennon and the Beatles. A relevant event based on the fact that today marks the unfortunate death that happened to Lennon 30 years ago + what would have been his 70th birthday just passed.
We are always appreciative when Matt Schneider connects the NYC Dads Group with one of his favorite children's programs around the city-- Church Street School for Music and Art is no exception. His five-year-old has taken music and art classes at Church Street since he was 18 months old, and his two-year-old just started classes this fall. The Director and Founder of Church Street, Lisa Ecklund-Flores was thrilled to hear about our group, and invited us in for a truly amazing experience.
We started our day with a gifted & talented teacher, Richard Younger. Richard is an avid Beatles fan and even teaches a Beatles guitar class for adults at the school. In honor of John Lennon's 70th birthday, Richard agreed to a special Beatles themed music class for our group. Generally, music classes at Church Street tap into the child's natural rhythmic sense. Walk notes, run notes, simple rhythm patterns, and melodic notation are part of the Dalcroze program for this age, creating an environment where children can express themselves while learning about music. Richard did an awesome job at weaving some of the best (and most appropriate) Beatles music to create this unforgettable experience! One dad in the group commented, "I thought this was a fantastic class. One of the best music experiences we've had with the kids (hard to beat the Beatle's song book, and Richard has a lot of Lennon in his voice!)" What set this music class apart was that the dads were as engaged in belting out the tunes and jamming to the music as our toddlers.
As if the 45-minute Beatle musical jam-fest was not enough, we descended down the steps to their art studio to create some masterpieces with our kids. The emphasis at Church Street School is on the process rather than the final result and the teachers encourage adults to keep their grubby hands off their children's work. How refreshing is that! The art project was the best that my son & I have ever participated! What is my evidence you might inquire? My son donned his smock (which he never does), sat in his seat, and worked his magic with colored paints, felt, sand, and sparkles the entire time. That is quite a feat for my two year old who usually prefers exploring the garbage can, hiding under the table, or painting on his friends work rather than his own. We made a mess and loved every minute of it. As you plan your winter activities with your child, perhaps you might consider Church Street School as a downtown destination...they even offer low cost drop-in classes for dads like me, who don't like to commit to a whole season of classes.
A BIG thank you to Lisa and her team for offering this wonderful experience to our group!