Spotlight: Shake, Rattle & Roll + Free Music Class

There are so many music classes out there—each with its own cult of followers. We’ve tried several programs and always have a good time, but the one I’ve been taking my daughter to since she was six weeks old is Shake, Rattle & Roll. Flash forward two years later and she still loves going, and we now bring her baby brother who loves it too. Why SR&R? For parents, it’s the structure of the program combined with the flexibility of locations and schedule, and for kids it’s the fun they have playing new instruments while learning about rhythm and melody. For both it’s about making friends. My daughter and I have met some of our closest buddies in Shake, Rattle & Roll classes. 


During the month of May, take advantage of a free trial class! Click here for more info.

The program has been created by Susan V. Davis, a guitar-wielding, songwriting, kid person and one-(wo)man-band. At the beginning of the semester each parent gets a songbook and an album of music to listen to. The thirtyish tracks vary from traditional music of different countries to Susan’s own original songs and adaptations. We’ve learned to sing in Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and other languages. Many of the songs are accompanied by their own special movements like stomps or twirls that we act out in class.

The kids have a great time being able to get up and dance. The albums are essential because kids get the chance to experience the music they are learning outside of class. I play the songs in the car to soothe and entertain my daughter. Each semester welcomes a new album with all new material. My daughter has attended for two years we now and we have four different albums of fun, catchy songs that are a pleasure to listen to.  It’s definitely not drive-you-crazy ("Daddy Finger", anyone?) kids music.

Each class is 45 minutes long and covers about 10 songs from the album, varying in selection and order each week. Most of the kids are too young to sing along, but the parents sing and children enjoy playing the instruments, marching around the room in time, or wiggling and acting out movements to the music.

Our latest class started with our hello song, then we drummed in unison to a song about a dancing frog. Later we all stood up and ran around the room for one song and pretended to be farmers for another. Then we sat down and wiggled our fingers and toes.

During class we play all sorts of things from traditional egg shakers to tone blocks, cymbals, triangles, drums, boomwhackers, and even DIY instruments such as water bottles and coffee tins filled with sand. We also use props such as balls, scarves, socks, and sunglasses to act out our songs. The childrens’ favorite moment is the instrument free play, where all different kinds are laid out and the kids immediately hone in on their favorite item. With a different instrument for each person, we become an ersatz band shaking it up to an upbeat instrumental song, usually from Africa or South America.

Our last song of each class (before the goodbye song) is typically a slower lullaby-type song to wind down the excited little ones.

Shake, Rattle & Roll is offered in five locations throughout Westchester and is starting at a new location in Riverdale in May. The makeup policy is generous and easy, and infants six months and younger can attend free if their older sibling is enrolled. There is a 15% discount available to anyone enrolling with a friend who is new to Shake, Rattle & Roll. The Spring/Summer session is coming up soon. 

Want to experience it for yourself? Take advantage of a free trial class. Click here for more info.

As always, check our website for events and weekly library programs

See you next time!