Parenting: Children love to monkey around with musical instruments – mum may not find it so easy

Monkey Music is not exactly for the faint-hearted – and by that I mean the parents, not the children.

That’s not to say it isn’t great fun, but of all the music/singing classes we’ve been to and discussed with other mums, Monkey Music is the one that puts both children and their parents well and truly through their paces.

At three, my daughter Meghan now attends the Ding Dong session for 3-5 year olds at Cramond Kirk, and it has been an amazing journey. I have been attending Monkey Music classes in Edinburgh for over three years and it still astonishes me what little sponges young children are.

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Every time we move up a class I think, “this is too difficult” and every time, our teacher, Rachel, reassures us that it isn’t. Two weeks later we’re usually eating our words and trying to keep up with the kids.

However, when Rachel turned up on the first week of term with a laminated printout of an orchestra layout, I wasn’t the only mum to look incredulous.

As usual, though, she was right about how much three-year-olds can take in and two weeks later, on the way home, Meghan was gaily telling me what part of the orchestra the violins were in and she could just about manage to say “percussion”.

Now she can play several instruments to a beat, stop to command and is learning to read the Monkey Music version of music.

She’ll also tell you if music sounds sad or happy, quick or slow and can pick out different instruments she hears. Homework (yes there’s that too) has turned into a hilarious saga of one-upmanship between myself and my husband. Daddy has a garage full of MDF and power tools to his credit and mummy has the arts and crafts box with the stickers. Daddy won the homemade violin task, though I think I won on the trumpet and Meghan was the sticker star with the maracas and drum.

And, although we don’t have homework to that extent after every sesssion, we do try and include Monkey Music time throughout the week because it’s really producing such brilliant results – and because Meghan asks for it. I’m not actually a pushy mum who wants her daughter to become a piano maestro or a violin virtuoso, I was just looking for a class in which to sing, dance and make a lot of noise, but we’ve actually learned so much more.

Little brother Sam has just graduated from the baby class – and I’m just hoping that Rachel will let me recycle the MDF violin …

Monkey Music classes are available for children aged from three months to five years throughout Edinburgh and cost £70 for a ten-week term. For more information, contact Rachel Huggins, tel: 0131-260 9667 or visit www.monkey music.co.uk