Want a music class for your little one that is “Miles” above the rest? Excuse the pun and check out Miles ELP International Academy.
I’ve been to music classes with my little ones before. With my son and also with my daughter, when they were both babies. I generally liked the classes we’d attend. It’s always nice to carve out some special time with your little peanuts, no matter what you do. But, with both kids, the music classes ended after only a few classes, because frankly, I wasn’t hooked. Sure, they were cute, and the interaction with other kids was always nice, but sadly (and cheaply, maybe) I ended up wondering “is it worth this money (it was always so damn expensive) to sing songs and clap with my child while we listened to music?”- something I did with my babies at home ALL THE TIME, albeit to Beyoncé, and maybe not Row, Row, Row Your Boat.
Fast forward to 2015, specifically last week, when I took my 2-year old daughter, Stella to Miles International’s Instrument and Music Explorer class at RockABaby–and wait, what!?! She…and I absolutely loved it! And not once did I think to myself, I can do this at home.
RockABaby Music Academy is part of Miles ELP International Academy, a preschool that focuses on experience-based and developmentally appropriate approach to learning. Miles Academy is located at the pulse in Repulse Bay. Though Repulse Bay for us means a windy ride down Wong Nai Chung Gap then Repulse Bay Road, we’re always happy to have made the trip once we get to the pulse. There’s so much to do, see, eat- and the kids love it. And by “it”, I mean getting covered in and eating sand on the beach at some point of our visit. Miles International Academy is a large, basement level space that’s spacious, brightly-colored, fun and inviting. We were greeted by Serena who took us to the Instrument and Music Explorer classroom. The Music Explorer class is designed for children aged 15 months – 3 1/2 years.
The class was led by a young, energetic teacher named Terrence, who cheerfully welcomed us and made Stella feel comfortable immediately. There were three other children in the class, each accompanied by either a mum, dad or auntie. We sat in a semi-circle facing Terrence on pillows atop a furry rug.
For the first ten minutes, the kids were given free play where they were allowed to play with toys, warm up to each other (for toddlers that means not fighting each other for the same toy) and roam around like toddlers do. We knew the music portion of the class was starting when Terrence and Serena (who had stayed in the classroom for a bit) started playing the ukulele and keyboards (respectively) to kick off a ‘clean up’ song. It was time to get our music exploring on- and we were ready…
Terrence and Serena helped the kids rock out to a “Hello RockABaby” greeting song where each child is named and briefly celebrated. With Terrence on the ukulele and Serena on the keyboards, I felt like I was at a cool, private (kid-friendly) lounge enjoying live music, feeling an upbeat vibe, bobbing my head and grooving with other cool (even if rather small) peeps. Within the songs, they taught real music theory!- having the kids repeat a pattern of clapping for four beats and then stopping for four beats. My daughter, Stella, loved the music, the challenge of rhythm beat patterns and the seriously fun music teacher. We continued to sing and even break out tambourines to assist in the rhythm. “Now THIS is a music class”, I mumbled as the dad next to me looked over confused (AWKWARD).
The ukeleles came out next, with each little getting one of their own. Stella was feeling pretty cool being able to hold and play (bang on) her own ukulele. Though the sound coming from each child’s ukulele was not the most beautiful, it was giving them the opportunity to get comfortable with the instrument, to learn how to hold it, and perhaps spark their interest in really playing it one day.
Terrence brought out a big board which had the month, days of the week, date and weather symbols, which the children helped identify by way of removing and reattaching the labels. He led his tiny pupils in a catchy “Days of the Week” song set to the tune of The Addams Family. Days of the week (snap) (snap), days of the week (snap) (snap)- you get the idea.
To switch it up and keep the young students’ attention, Terrence flipped off the lights and turned on an overhead projector which let the kids participate in an interactive session with Elmo and friends. Oh, and let’s not forget the ode to Mozart, where the little ones listened to “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” the famous composer’s creation. Actually, a picture of Mozart hung on the wall behind the kids the entire class, and one little music explorer genius (who wasn’t yet 2) even pointed him out with a squeaky “Mozart!” near the beginning of the class…as the rest of us parents smiled…while feeling inadequate inside.
There was always a “tidy up” song after the change of each instrument or section, and each child seemed to know it. The catchy nature of all the songs had me singing them well after the class was over to the point that my 13-year old had to tell me to “maaawwwmm, stop!”
The class finished up with pom poms and a departing sticker given by Mr. Terrence. And what class that incorporates dancing with pom poms isn’t a total success?!
Pricing: Just like any other music class, Instrument and Music Explorer class isn’t necessarily cheap, but this one is definitely worth the money! Check out the pricing below:
Music Explorers (level 1 and 2) pricing:
$325/class (once a week for 10 weeks)
$290/class (once a week for 20 weeks)
$290/class (twice a week for 10 weeks)
$270/class (twice a week for 20 weeks
Real talk- the class was great. Stella was engaged and either smiling, giggling or squealing the entire time. Hell, I was pretty much doing all those things, too. The class agenda and content was everything a parent would want their child learning in a music class. This was not your average, clap-along, blow bubbles, and do the hokey pokey music class. The kids were actually taught music theory and appreciation. The goal of the class is to “build a solid foundation in children’s music education in an effective way.” Even just one class was on its way to doing that.
In my opinion though, what made this class ultimately effective was the teacher, Mr. Terrence. He fully committed to his role in getting the little ones hyped and interested in music. His genuine, caring and easy going energy made all the kids relax and want to experience music with him. He was patient, enthusiastic and really knew how to connect with the little toddler-aged audience, which is not always easy. Both Stella and I give Mr. Terrence and the Instrument and Music Explorer class at RockABaby Music Academy two thumbs up, a high five and a solid head banging “OHHH YEAHHH!”
In addition, it must be mentioned that Miles International Academy not only offers after-school programs such as the music classes, but offers top-notch preschool instruction, as well. The Parent and Child classes are designed for little ones between the ages of 8 and 30 months. In these classes, each month, teachers introduce a new inquiry unit to teach language skills, pre-writing skills and maths skills. This month’s unit was “Animals” and the children were taken out to the beach to collect shells and rocks for their ocean bottle craft.
Miles International Academy follows a curriculum that focuses on three major areas- natural play, where the kids are taken to the rooftop garden or the beach regularly, real life experience, which allows the children to apply what they learn in the real world and theme-based approach to learning, where a theme is used to create a cohesive learning environment for the students.
And because Miles International Academy incorporates the experiential learning program or ELP, the classes are project-based (children are encouraged to learn independently through activities that engage all five senses), inquiry-based (children are taught through exploration, experiments and discussion) and child-led (teachers design the curriculum according to the students’ ability and interests).
And in addition to all the cool stuff little ones learn in Parent and Child classes, they also get to have a 20-minute music lesson once a week.
So if you are looking for preschool and music instruction which gives lots of individual attention and encourages creativity, independence and fun, go check out Miles International Academy, mamas!
Where: B102, the pulse, 28 Beach Road, Repulse Bay
Call: 3586 3071 / 3586 3070 www.facebook.com/Milesinternational