From fostering a love of the arts to encouraging routines and social interactions, enrolling your child in a music class is a great way to broaden their horizons. To hear more about the benefits, we spoke with Lady B at Lavender Blues — a Brooklyn based music class geared towards babies and toddlers.
We spoke with Lady B about the benefits of music, her recommendations for virtual learning, and about how she infuses her community activism into her teachings.
Tell us a little bit about Lavender Blues and how you got started!
While being a Nanny I realized the traditional teacher was being replaced by cartoons. Understanding the value that comes with the humanistic element of teaching, I decided it was time for me to transition my career towards education and entrepreneurship. Knowing the traditional aesthetics of school wasn't my lane, I created a curriculum I believed would be efficient for 0-3’s. So, I built the Lavender Blues program around music and movement.
I knew Lavender Blues would not only be valuable as an early learning resource but also for families and caregivers. I started in 2012 in Brooklyn going neighborhood to neighborhood from Brooklyn Heights to Bay Ridge and now I finally have my own studio in Bedford-Stuyvesant (175 Malcolm X Blvd.)!
We love hearing about how you built your programming. It’s now one of our favorite classes for our little ones. To you, what are the benefits of music classes for children?
Children start learning and absorbing the environment around them from 0. Music is a valuable teaching tool as it’s a universal language. Children thrive significantly when their structured learning includes music. With a class such as Lavender Blues, they are being stimulated in an environment that is geared to build up their confidence and independence as I teach.
The Lavender Blues curriculum builds social skills, attentiveness, and listening. Your little ones will also learn how to follow directions, anticipate actions, promote independence, bond with their parents, numbers and letters, and so much more! All of which are valuable elements of development that are heightened when teaching with music.
We know music is fun, but how is it educational?
The stimulation that comes with the fun of singing while learning has a valuable impact. My class is the same everyday and I created it that way because it builds confidence in the children because they’re able to anticipate what’s coming next. Building that muscle memory promotes independence and leadership. Music also helps children understand their sounds — a vital element in learning to speak. Even though we are a music class we also instill the importance of following directions, listening, sharing and being nice to one another.
Shifting to online learning can be tough, what recommendations do you have to make a child more comfortable?
Consistency. That is the key to most educational learning for children. They need a routine and having a consistent curriculum for them is crucial. One that they’re familiar with everyday is even better because, again, that builds their confidence. Children need to have a personal attachment to their educator and program to allow themselves to get lost in it. Having that element of consistency builds a level of comfort. Children will take their cue from you so when engaging online, we must give the children an example to follow.
What’s your favorite thing about online music classes?
I can access more people outside of my network. This has allowed Lavender Blues to have a global audience.
In addition to teaching music, you’re also very involved with community activism — promoting Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ rights through your social accounts. Do you incorporate your important community activism into your work at Lavender Blues?
When I created Lavender Blues I wanted to make sure my program was inclusive to all people by being a drop-in, affordable class that everyone can access. This was a very important factor to me because I know low income families in Black and Brown Communities are unaware of the benefits of early education, don't have access to the programs and cannot afford it. I didn't want them to miss out on Lavender Blues. I want my classes to reflect the city we live in, and that means being diverse and promoting unity
I also created a FRIEND WITH NICHOLAS Program for children with special needs who attend my class for free. It’s important that these children have a safe space to learn and grow during their baby and toddler years.
Lastly, all that come to Lavender Blues understand what I represent as a Black Queer Woman. I promote Equality, Positivity and Love — and never Homophobia, Racism, Transphobia or any other level of negativity in my classroom.
Educating children about social justice is difficult, especially at a young age — what’s the best way to talk to children about big issues?
Be honest. Never treat them as if they are too young. I read a great article that stated you can talk to your children about social issues/racism as early as 3 weeks old! As I mentioned before, children start learning at 0. They are absorbing the world around them no matter how much you think you're protecting them from it. There truly is no one way to educate your child. Everyone has to figure out their own way, but as adults the most important factor is that we MUST educate ourselves before we look to educate our children. We must lead by example.
What messages you’d like to share with the Sawyer community?
Early Education is a vital resource we must continue to champion and support. This is a valuable experience that every child should have in their lives. I hope the Sawyer Community will spread the word about the work I am doing with LAVENDER BLUES. I also have a TV SHOW that I am currently fundraising money for to extend my curriculum even further. You can go to my website to make a donation at Lavender Blues Music.
Find my Studio Album THE REMIXES by Lavender Blues on your Favorite Digital Streaming Platform!