Baby And Toddler Music Classes in Putney, SW15
Introducing babies and toddlers, aged 6 months – 3 years, to the joys of making music with regular fun-packed half-hour classes with action songs, dancing, dressing up and instrument playing with live music led by experienced singer/guitarist David Fisher.
All the tunes are traditional, so parents and child-minders can join in with such classics as “The Wheels On The Bus”, “Old MacDonald Had A Farm”, etc. Now in its 15th successful year, to date, Little Acorns has welcomed more than 1500 local families.
Join a group at any time during a term and pay pro-rata. No hassle make-up sessions available. Groups are not separated into ages so siblings are not split up. Workshops are available during school term times and during the long Summer Holiday break.
Please come for a FREE TRIAL SESSION!
Little Acorns GDPR Policy
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a new EU law that comes into effect on 25 May 2018 to replace the current Data Protection Act.
Like me you’ve probably been inundated with emails from companies you may not even have signed up for in the first place asking if you want to “opt in” to their mailing lists. This is because there will be fines of up to €20 million for unauthorised use or storage of your data if you have not given explicit consent for businesses to keep you on a database.
I have been advised to publicise my GDPR-compliant policy about handling data so here goes:
Before this deadline I deleted all contact details over 7 years old. I need to keep records of income streams from the last 7 years in case the taxman wants to investigate me so I can show sources of revenue to prove I’m not money laundering! I have encrypted these retained details in a password-protected zip file and will update it each year to remove older records.
I have deleted old client emails and text messages.
The only personal details I will retain digitally are for my current customers which is allowed under the act. I have always burnt or shredded the paper forms people fill out at the end of each term anyway but now I will destroy current paper forms immediately after entering them into my database.
My client database is held on an encrypted disc on a password-protected computer.
Testimonials from past and present Little Acorns parents and carers
Below is just a small sample of positive feedback we’ve had over the years. You can find plenty more real testimonials here.
What does a typical session look like?
The video below was shot during one of our regular baby and toddler classes and will give you an idea what to expect. Don’t forget you can come along any Tuesday or Wednesday for a free trial session. Please just give me a call or send me an email in advance so I have an idea of numbers for each class.
Who is David Fisher?
I am a published composer and singer/songwriter and busy music producer and run my own recording studio.
I started Little Acorns music classes for babies and toddlers after working for Blueberry Playsongs for over 6 years. It started as a student job and I found that I was really good at it (one of the few things I don’t feel a need to be falsely modest about) and enjoyed it so much that that it took over my life!
I’m a regular composer of music for Oxford University Press educational children’s courses, including working with extraordinarily successful children’s writer Julia Donaldson on Alphabet Songs for the “eSong Birds” Phonics DVD used by schools all over the UK. I have co-written hundreds of tunes for other OUP CD/books sold around the world for school national curriculums. One title, “Three in a Tree” received a British Council Award.
I have also sung and co-written a networked TV theme, sung on a top ten hit by Fat Les, and performed on the soundtrack of Hollywood thriller movie State of Play starring Helen Mirren, Ben Affleck and Russell Crowe.
I also write musicals for schools published by Lazy Bee Scripts.
How do the different ages benefit from our toddler music classes?
Music is a good foundation for early years’ learning.
Your baby’s brain is full of billions of neurons, which, in the first year, form connections with other neurons, developing neural pathways. These strengthen further with continued sensory stimulation, such as music, dancing and interaction with others.
As growing children are exposed to this sensory-rich environment, they develop both gross-and-fine motor skills (dexterity/co-ordination) through instrument playing (percussion) and performing hand-actions to songs, allowing them to practice self-expression/communication and in turn, building on their confidence.
Through imitation and singing, children learn the sounds and meanings of words, aiding memory, and thus they begin to learn vocabulary. This accelerates their language acquisition and reading skills.
As your little ones interact with their parents/carers and other children in the class, they will develop social skills and make new friends, enhancing the fun!
By introducing your child to music, he or she may later want to learn to play an instrument, which according to studies, can improve academic skills (especially mathematical learning), as well as refine discipline and patience, and boost self-esteem.
In addition to the developmental benefits of music, it enhances our mood, reduces anxiety and stress, can even improve healing, but above all, it provides us with joy! What’s not to love?!
Why do we focus on traditional nursery rhymes and songs?
There’s been a misguided minor backlash against traditional kids’ tunes in recent years. BBC radio 4’ s Today programme conducted an interview with an academic and child development “expert” not so long ago who said the old songs no longer had relevance and that they were essentially nonsensical and misleading about the real world “The cow jumped over the moon, etc.” He seemed to be arguing that this would result in children growing up as inefficient work units for the shining technological future of Great Britain PLC. Well the human spirit has always shone through such sterile visions and imagination. Frivolity and surrealism is very much at the core of the culture of the United Kingdom from the poetry of Edward Lear to the sketches of Monty Python, the children’s books of Spike Milligan, the films about Harry Potter and the stand-up comedy of Eddie Izzard. Warnings were made in different generations about the TV shows such as The Flowerpot Men and Teletubbies because they spoke in gobbledygook. Well my family and I watched those programmes in our respective generations and we’re pretty eloquent.
National kids’ music franchise Monkey Music is tremendously successful and, although I have never attended a session, I’m sure very well put together, but the concern I have heard time and again from parents is that they don’t make live music, but play recordings of their own songs which no-one knows. For copyrighting and trademarking purposes this makes sense but the cross-generational recognisability of traditional tunes and words that go back in some cases hundreds of years sit so deeply in our national psyche that they provide a firmer foundation for a shared experience. You may have noticed that the CBeebies have been singing their own “Happy Birthday” song for the past few years. That’s because they didn’t want to pay royalties for the use of the internationally familiar “Happy Birthday To You”. I think the programmes suffered for this, denying themselves the ability to make an instant connection with every child and adult watching who has had an experience of a real birthday party. (Incidentally after a recent legal case “Happy Birthday To You” is no longer in copyright and a court ordered royalties to be repaid!) It’s horses for courses of course, many may prefer the novelty of learning something new.
Don’t be fooled into thinking these songs require no effort though, when I started singing to kids I recklessly thought I knew the songs but soon found that I would so often get lost after the first verse or so and faced quite a learning curve to get to know the words for all the 100 plus numbers we do. The old ways are not without challenges of their own.
Lastly I might be so bold as to suggest that for the many parents and carers who attend a Little Acorns baby music class, traditional songs and rhymes are a good way to familiarise themselves with the English language and some of the timeless memes of British culture.
What instruments are available?
Half way through our toddler music classes we make a selection of simple instruments available for the children to play. If they are very young they may need adult assistance of course, but all are encouraged to join in by making some musical noises. The instruments are sourced from the Early Learning Centre for their robustness and safety. Tambourines, whistles, Shakers, rain sticks, castanets, recorders and bells and other percussion instruments come out each week and on occasion (during jungle week) we also pass some bongos around. Other instruments that have made special appearances include a ukuleles, kazoos and even a Theremin! The kids always get a chance to play guitar at the end as well.
What are the age ranges?
It’s never too early to introduce your little ones to the joys of music! Little Acorns infant music classes are suitable for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, starting from around 4 months to 3+ years.
Focus on fun – why do kids learn by enjoying themselves?
My experience of education was that I learnt best when I was engaged by in fun, lighthearted atmosphere by an enthusiastic energetic teacher. Raising children is a serious business, of course, but nothing beats raising a smile and a giggle with a cheerful action song, or an enthusiastic group of people making comedy animals noises, scratching and hooting like monkeys, stomping around like elephants or snaking around a room as a human train. I like to think of it a focussed excitement on fun music and dance which helps improve motor skills, co-operation, concentration and language skills and strengthens the bonds between preschool children and their siblings, carers, nannies, mums, dads, and visiting grandparents.
There’s a lot of other local musical activities for babies classes, Monkey Music, Jo Jingles, Bea’s Baby Music and Tin Pan Annie to name a few. I don’t see us as being in competition – we are all encouraging the musical side of child development in different ways. Clients will gravitate towards a style of class that they feel comfortable with whether it’s pre-recorded musical backings or a live musical experience with a real musician. It’s probably best to sample us all before settling on one or even try a few terms of each for variety. You can’t provide a wide enough enjoyable experience for babies and toddlers as long as you don’t overwhelm them!
By structuring the sessions as weekly themes there is no concept of “academic progress” involved. Anyone should be able too come to any session and not feel they are missing anything. Each session stands alone and should have something for everyone. I try to encourage as much participation as possible from the older kids as well as the adults by asking questions about the featured pictures I post on the wall relevant to that week’s theme. Themes rotate over a three month cycle and include “The Farm”, “Space, “Jungle Animals”, “The Seaside”, “The Weather”, “Food”, “Pet Animals”, “Transport” as well as many others. There are also seasonal one-offs for Christmas, Easter, May Day, St Patrick’s Day and even Burns night. When I’m in the mood I even dress up from time to time in appropriate costumes – as a jungle explorer, spaceman, chef, pirate, rabbit, festive elf, etc.
There are two reasons that I mix all the age groups together, advertising my classes for babies AND toddlers:
Firstly it’s simply a practicality – family diaries are so full these days that segregating the classes by age groups only reduces the choice of days and times for clients.
Secondly I really think it makes for a better communal experience – the toddlers love to show off in front of the little ones, and the babies are fascinated by all the happy activity of their older peers and siblings that takes place all around them.