Blueberry is a group where young children learn to have fun with live music! Located in Barnes, Chelsea, Clapham, Hammersmith, Notting Hill, Wandsworth and Wimbledon, our classes are for children from 6 months to 3 years old.
Founded in 1991 by programme director Margo Random, Blueberry is London’s original pre-school music group and many say, still the best!
Blueberry is an introduction to the joys of hearing and making music. The rudiments of rhythm and melody are learned, language and movement skills are stimulated, it is a social occasion and, above all, it’s fun! Many studies indicate that academic abilities such as maths are improved by an early exposure to music concepts. Blueberry classes are a great foundation for learning an instrument later on and will also help build your little one’s social skills and confidence around others, invaluable when starting school!
What makes us different? We believe that having a highly trained and talented live musician leading the group makes all the difference. All trained in the Blueberry method, our teachers really care about engaging the little ones in class. A guitar is the most accessible instrument which allows us to join the circle and enables us to speed up, slow down, go loud or soft as the mood of the song (and the mood of the group) dictates. This is a very different dynamic to other groups who merely sing along to tapes. When we do use our wide variety of recorded music, it is for dancing to as a ‘music appreciation’ feature.
Another difference- Familiarity. We use nursery rhymes and action songs you and your child are likely to already know or will encounter again at playgroup and nursery school. In addition, there will be some new songs and games to learn.
Keeping it interesting: The repertoire rotates enough for the grown-ups but with the strategic repetition that children need. A range of additions add to the fun such as: puppets, shaky eggs, teddies, ribbons, bubbles and a parachute! Instruments are used (and cleaned afterwards) at every session. We also use eye-catching wall pictures that correspond to that day’s songs.
Mixed-age classes: (6 months to 3 years): We find this the friendliest kind of class- the little ones learn from the olders and the older children love the babies! Everyone is together and can learn at their own level, taking from Blueberry what they are ready for. There will be actions, joining in, hopping, rhythm games, dancing and of course, a chance to bash on some instruments! The grown-ups participate in class through singing and guiding the little ones through the actions and a great time is had by all.
Margo says: ‘I think what people like about Blueberry is a sort of old-fashioned ethos, pitching the material at a level the child can grasp with a gentle approach becoming more energetic in line with the child’s confidence. While we do start the class sitting in a circle, there is a fairly relaxed attitude so that if a child feels moved to get up and dance around to a song, that’s all to the good. I’ve been told Blueberry is more personal than other music groups; more caring to the individual needs of the children in the group. And, of course, the live music aspect is what enables this flexibility and gives the classes their depth and their strength.’
Blueberry classes are 30-minute sessions taking place once a week over terms of up to 14 weeks. There are a variety of times and days available at each centre to suit everyone.
Blueberry has been running successfully since 1991 and in that time has expanded to include eight venues with a membership of over 500. Thank you to all our friends who have made, and continue to make Blueberry such good fun.
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