I often hear parents asking for ideas of music for kids or places to take their tiny music-lovers to see live music. So I sat down to write a blog that would list off a few of my favourites in both these categories. Then I came to a realization - music is so personal - every family will have a different musical vein running through their history and will be drawn to completely different ideas of what is "great music". So I've decided to do a reoccuring feature of different families and the music in their lives. As I criss-cross through different musical tastes, hopefully you will be inspired by some old favourites you may have forgotten about or find some new ideas to share with your family.
To kick things off, this week we'll be meeting Myles and his mom Danielle who are into all things jazz and R&B. I just loved getting a peak into this family's musical life because they are listening to music that is so different than what I'm listening with my daughter. It was lovely to hear about Myles' love of jazz music and also about how Danielle is passing down some family musical traditions to her son.
The Mom: Danielle Lewis is a Leslieville artisan whose company Attn2Detail Designs specializes in modern handmade nursery decor, valentines cards and notecards that feature the art of Origami.
The Child: Myles, who is 3.5 years old. He also has a little brother on the way which, if Myles gets his way, will be called Norah Jones!
What kind of music did you listen to before you were a parent?
Bon Iver, Alicia Keys, Sade, and lots of acid jazz. Hubby listens to old reggae, classic house, soulful house, deep house, soul, funk, R&B, jazz, latin jazz and classic rock.
What was your favourite music as a small child?
Raffi and Sharon Lois and Brahm, as well as some unique choices for a young kid - Sade, Base is Base and Lionel Richie. I still remember dancing to Lionel Record with my parents big headphones on - to this day All Night Long still gets me! Also, my aunt and I used to drive around listening to Sade and that is still one of my favourites.
What lullabies did you sing to your son?
When I was pregnant and up until Myles was two-years-old, I sang to him every night - either Frère Jaques or an old Nana Mouskouri song, Le Tournesol which my dad used to sing to me when I was a little. Also, when he was small, like 0-2, Myles would listen to Blue Six acid jazz for naps and to calm down.
What are your son's favourite songs to dance to?
Norah Jones Come Away With Me and Sunrise, and Ella Fitzgerald/Louis Armstrong Lets Call the Whole Thing Off - he listens to that on repeat and does interpretive dance to it. For him to feel the music and dance in the way that a true dancer expresses their movement is pure beauty to me, it melts my heart instantly.
What is your son's favourite song to sing to?
Raffi's The Sharing Song
Editor's Note - I asked Danielle if her family had a special place they went to listen to jazz live and they did not. So I've added in a couple of good spots as recommended by my friend Henry Heillig. He's a local jazz player and incidentally was Sharon Louis and Brahm's bassist for 25 years!
This Danforth bar has jazz duos and trios, primarily vocal, from 2 till 5pm on Sundays. Food is very good, no cover. Last time Henry went there, the vocalist had her 2-year-old on her lap for the whole gig. Definitely kid friendly.
Free concerts, not always jazz, which are open to all. Most of the year, they are at noon on Wednesdays in the atrium. In the summer, they are at noon on Fridays on the outdoor deck, 16th floor - a lovely spot. Henry has played here many a time with local powerhouse jazz vocalist Jackie Richardson.
Does your little one love singing and dancing too? Why not try out a free trial class with Lovenotes School of Music. In our parent/child music classes our expertise lies in building solid musical foundations for 0-5 year olds in a fun and nurturing environment.