Parent-child music classes are a core activity for many families. Sadly, my toddler hasn’t been able to experience the joys of a music class as easily with the pandemic. So I jumped at the chance to take her to SingJam, an all-aged music experience that’s held outdoors at various Berkeley parks.
SingJam was started by a group of local musicians and they set out to create immersive events for people of all ages and familiarity with music. The events are casual, but the music is lively and engaging for both children and adults.
I took my toddler to a recent session on a Tuesday morning at San Pablo Park. Two musicians, one on guitar and another on percussion, led children and caregivers through about a dozen songs. The playlist included childhood classics like “Wheels on the Bus” and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, plus songs adults could recognize like “Yellow Submarine” and “One Love”. Shakers and other percussion instruments were available for use so participants could join in making the music. The group was mostly toddlers and a few babies with caregivers from mid-twenties to seniors. Kids seemed to come and go between playing at the nearby tot lot and jamming to the music. The event lasted about 50 minutes.
SingJam is entertaining and fun. It’s not a structured music class, rather a time to gather and enjoy music with others. My toddler enjoyed dancing to the music and joining in, trying nearly every percussion instrument available. I appreciated the playlist—sometimes listening to the same children’s songs can get old. It was also nice that toddlers could be toddlers, and weren’t expected to sit still for the entire session. Sitting out for a song and going down the slide was welcomed.
Even though SingJam isn’t as structured as other music offerings, I thought the participating children were still receiving all the benefits of a traditional music class: cognitive engagement, motor skill stimulus, language exposure, parent-child bonding, and community building.
SingJam sessions cost $18-$36 per family per session (sliding scale) and a weekly schedule is sent out to email subscribers or posted on their Facebook page.
The Bottom Line: SingJam is a fun music experience for children and caregivers. The outdoor sessions are laid-back, and a mix between a music class and live entertainment. The San Pablo Park location seemed best for families with kids 6 and younger, but SingJam strives to make all ages welcome. I recommend it to families who want to offer their child music exposure in an outdoor setting.