I started Mish Mash in 2003 when my son Ethan was 4 and a half months old. We had been along to our first visit to a local music group and it hadn’t worked out for us.
The class was regimented. The songs didn’t grab me or Ethan, and most of the time, the babies and children weren’t being involved. The teacher had insisted all the children sit still, facing her (my little baby was clearly nervous.) Parents were being told off for letting their little ones crawl around.
A completely different music group
I came out of the class and decided there and then that I was going to give little ones including my own a different experience of music. One that was much more fun, full of discovery, freedom and participation, songs that both my baby and me wanted to hear in a friendly and relaxed environment. I wanted my child to be inspired by the music in my group and I wanted the mums to feel relaxed and have fun too. I had also heard that many of the music groups relied on CDs. My own experience, as a player of guitar, flutes and African drums showed me that children respond entirely differently to live music and already knew how enthralled Ethan and his friends were when they got to hear live music. … they get to see that music is made by people, and not Cd players
I didn’t feel too happy when after only two or three songs with instruments, the teacher forcibly collected the percussion from the children… the babies were less than pleased.
Ready to play
I was lucky that my background as a folk and jazz singer and teacher, youth worker and musician meant I already had the skills I needed at my fingertips. His little pals would come over, and I’d play and sing with them, and they would bang the big drums, amazed at the music we were making together.
In her previous life, Ruth studied Social Science at Cambridge University followed by studying Community Arts at the University of Middlesex, and did a Postgraduate teaching diploma in Literacy for special Educational needs at Hornsby, now part of the Dyslexia Institute.