Monkey music: behind the scenes

I think if you asked all the mamas you know, at least 95% of them would know what MONKEY MUSIC is.  And probably 90% have been to a class which means that they have signed up to a term, which also means that they have invested in a lovely class that gives them 30 minutes or so of childcare, whilst sitting with your child and singing nursery rhymes in a very relaxed, no worry if you’re sleep deprived, environment!

Being in the 90%, I signed up to Monkey Music as soon as my baby hit 3 months and it was the best money I’d spent on baby since his birth!

So as I sat at Monkey Music, I wondered, while the amazing ex-Broadway teacher was singing along, how it all started.  I am constantly mesmerised by the world of parenting and how it works and what I have clearly noticed is that it is full of possibilities and also financial benefits.

A year down the line, and with my blog as a backbone to my confidence, I contacted Jayne Harris, franchisee of the Monkey Music in the Chelsea, Westminster and surrounding areas to ask her what I have always wanted to ask to such a successful kids class!

When was monkey music born, by who and how?
The first Monkey Music classes were opened in London in 1993 by Angie Coates. As a musician and teacher, Angie knew that early exposure to music would be beneficial for her first newborn baby. Finding a lack of music classes to attend in her local area, Angie decided to write a musical curriculum that stimulated early learning and development. Her own daughter and local friends were the first class guinea pigs and Monkey Music was born.
The rapid growth of Monkey Music led to the company being franchised in 1998. Now something of a cult hit in many areas of the country, there are around 11,500 families attending classes in over 300 venues every week.
Since those early days of Monkey Music, there has been lots of research which proves the value of an early musical education and Monkey Music is now recognised as a ‘leading light’ in pre-school music education.

Monkey music is a franchise business. What made you open your monkey music? Where you a regular goer before?
As a professional violinist, I am passionate about passing on my musical knowledge so when a friend took me to a Monkey Music class in 2003 I was so inspired I bought my own franchise!

What’s your background? 
I am very lucky to have had a very prolific career and travelled the world as a violinist for over 25 years. I always felt I wanted to give something back and Monkey Music gave me the ideal opportunity to include my professional colleagues and bring all our knowledge to the classroom.

Tell me something about you that your clients and potential clients will find interesting?
Even though Monkey Music is the brand leader for music classes in the UK and I personally have over 650 children per week attending classes, each class is very personal and great for making lifelong friends. Families stay with us throughout the pre-school years of each of their children which can be up to 10 years of attending classes. This builds such an amazing platform of learning and laughter!

Describe monkey music to me in one short sentence.
Monkey Music nurtures a lifetime of music and provides the best possible preparation for nursery, school and learning an instrument.

What are the most distinct skills kids can gain from coming to monkey music?
Gosh, there’s so many. We start from babies at 3 months focusing on using music to focus on the 3 key areas of language, social and physical development, and move thru the stages of 1-2 yrs, 2-3 yrs and 3-4yrs. There is a huge benefit on all aspects of development, language, co-ordination, learning to take turns, please’s and thank you’s, getting ready for nursery, taking instruction, mirroring, basic music theory , finding the beat,working independently from their grown ups, it goes on and on! By the time the children leave at 4 yrs old they have learnt to read music, sol-fa and being exposed aurally  and physically to all the instruments of the orchestra.

Have you ever thought about doing drop in classes as well as your regular subscription classes?
No, this is not something we would ever do as our curriculums are progressive.

Who comes up with the structure of the class and does this change from postcode to postcode?
As a franchisee I use the curriculum which we all work from that was created by Angie Coates, the founder of Monkey Music.
We all receive an extensive training program and are also encouraged to be creative within it’s structure so yes, the classes do vary from postcode to postcode. For example in my classes I have a lot of things to see to accompany the themed classes as I love sourcing wonderful puppets and props and I really enjoy making wonderful things for me and my teachers to use.

If you could pass a positive message onto all your present and future clients, what would it be?
A new client came to class last week with her 3 month old baby for the first time. She came up to me at the end and said “ I cannot believe you have been teaching for 16 years, it was fantastic, your energy is amazing and the class was beautiful, I am going home to sing to my baby every day!”
Going along to a structured music class with your little one is literally the best thing you can do for their development and it’s fantastic for building a structure to your day, making grown up friends and sharing precious time together.

Well, I don’t know about you, but BYEEEE, I’m off to Monkey Music class, toddler or no toddler! I’m sold!

For more details on classes and prices, please click here and visit: MONKEY MUSIC CLASS INFO

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