Monday, August 20, 2012

West Philly Spotlight: Green Tambourine Musical Playgroup

There's a new music class in the neighborhood!  The Green Tambourine is hosting musical playgroups (from birth to 5 yrs) and group instrumental lessons (ages 6-10) at the Rotunda (at 40th and Walnut) and at Studio 34 (at 4522 Baltimore Ave).

Leo attended the last 6 week session of the 2 and 3 yr old musical playgroup (well, we missed the first class because we were a little busy having a baby) and he loved it.  I think it's been especially nice for him to have something just for him during this new time as a big brother when it seems like everything is revolving around the baby.

jb and I are big fans of the class and the instructor, Ann Schwartz.  Ann is incredibly kind and patient with the kids while still setting clear boundaries.  I really like that there is plenty of opportunity for exploration and free play while still maintaining structure.  Each class revolves around a theme (spinning instruments, blowing/wind instruments), but also builds on what they learned in previous lessons.

Honestly, I think any kind of exposure to music is good for kids, but there are a few things that make The Green Tambourine stand out among the other music classes we've taken Leo to.

  • Music Vocabulary - Ann regularly refers to the basic elements of music by name (rhythm, melody, tempo, etc).  While I'm sure the toddlers won't be able to define these terms after the six week session, it's great that they are getting used to hearing the words in correct context.  
  • Instrument Diversity - The class uses a wide range of instruments; some common and others more rare.  From kazoos to an auto-harp, the kids have gotten hands-on experience with instruments.
  • Other Topics - Other lessons are tucked into the classes that may not seem directly related to music, but compliment the subject matter well.  The instructor uses sign language, movement and counting to explore music.
  • Structure - The classes have defined, recurring elements that the kids can look forward to, such as the welcome song, instrumental free play, instrument solos, song requests, clean up time, etc.    

Clearly a lot of preparation goes into each class.  As a parent looking at the bigger picture, I really appreciate all the thought behind the classes - as well as the small class size and personal attention each student receives.  Though probably the best thing about the class is that the kids have a blast.  They don't realize how much they are learning - they just think it's really awesome that they get to play bongo drums and sing and dance.

The Green Tambourine is now accepting fall registration.  Check 'em out!

Disclosure: The Green Tambourine provided Leo's enrollment in the class for review.  All opinions are my own.  


  1. Eric Goering8/20/2012

    Wow! It was great to read your review. I'm actually Ann's brother. Its awesome to read about what Ann is doing from a participant in her program. I'm so proud of her and the work she's put into The Green Tambourine. I am also a parent of two young ones. Its really unfortunate that I live in Atlanta and not Philadelphia because I'd definitely go to Ann's classes all the time if we lived there. Hopefully we'll find something similar in Atlanta though. Thanks!

  2. I wonder, is this the same Ann Schwartz who is an attorney in the area?

  3. Oh I'm glad! You should be proud - it's really awesome!

  4. I don't believe so. I think she also works as a nanny in the neighborhood. She's great with the kids!

  5. addie métivier8/23/2012

    thanks for the review! i think we met her in clark park one day. she seemed great. hopefully we will have a little extra cash to sign Z up for this in the spring.

  6. San Allard9/09/2013

    Me and my wife spend time with our kid and do such creative activities. We often take our kid to indoor play centre equipment (as he likes it a lot). The combination of physical and creative activity play a vital role in building a child's character, that's what we believe.