What?: As a horribly self-conscious human who can neither sing nor dance, I was more than slightly apprehensive about trying out Tots Tunes, which is described on its organiser SoundsCreative Project’s website as a series of ” interactive, energetic parent and baby classes combining learning original tunes and songs from around the world with a bit of a workout”. I have to say I never find the words ‘energetic’ or ‘workout’ particularly enticing, but when they’re combined with the promise of “quality ‘non-baby’ acoustic music” they increase their allure somewhat, so I decided we’d brave a class.
Our 10am session was pleasantly busy and, apparently, is the quieter of the two time slots, so I took that as a pretty reliable indicator of how good it was going to be (that and, y’know, the fact that it’s been running for six years and was named Best Class in Hackney by Netmums). Classes are usually led by cellist and SoundsCreative Project founder Tara, and accompanied by her cello and djembe, but ours was headed up by brilliant violinist Preetha (who also plays the djembe) while Tara was on maternity leave.
Tots Tunes newbies are told to expect new tunes, revamped tunes and folk tunes, and it was so refreshing to sing along to something besides ‘Hop Little Bunnies’ and ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’, which Bab already demands I sing to her during every single bath time and nappy change. I particularly enjoyed the updated version of Stand by Me because I’m a massive loser, and Bab was so mesmerised by the song that involved throwing her in the air and spinning her around it was a miracle she didn’t throw up all over the djembe.
My favourite thing about this class though, aside from the fact that it wasn’t just another hour of my life lost to nursery rhymes, was how into it everyone – and that includes parents and babies – was. Between the beautiful live music, the welcoming teacher, the element of interactivity and the fast pace, there wasn’t a lot of time for anyone to get bored or feel like a tone-deaf dickhead with two left feet – which is no mean feat if you bear in mind that I’ve sat through every Rhyme Time session I’ve ever been to feeling like Sharon Horgan in Catastrophe and wondering how the hell life turned out this way.
Where and When?: Thursday sessions take place at 10am and 11am at Vortex Jazz Club. Vortex is located at 11 Gillett Square and is a two-minute walk from Dalston Kingsland and five from Dalston Junction (Ginger). There is also a session on the third Saturday of the month at 10.30am at Paper Dress Vintage, opposite Hackney Central (Ginger) station.
Best Bits: This class is so engaging you barely notice you’re actually doing exercise or that you probably look like a bit of a tit.
Worst Bits: I kept forgetting the words and having to mouth something ambiguous like a gormless goldfish.
Facilities: Buggy parking, baby changing.
Cost: £6 drop-in.
Would We Come Back?: Yes and we’re also very excited to try out SoundsCreative Projects’ Tea + a Gig events for parents, which take place on the first Tuesday of every month beginning in February 2018.
Bab plays the djembe at Tots Tunes, Vortex Jazz Club, Dalston.