by Author Babigloomusic

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The Musician’s view of Babigloo in Covid:

Online, in the Centre, on Zoom again?

We've been privileged to work with so many professional musicians at Babigloo and even moreso during our Online sessions twice a week made possible by an Emergency Fund Grant from Youth Music. Through our local Music Education Hub Soundstorm, we made contact with Claire Jones a local Cellist and Piano teacher who has been running online lessons through her company CHJ Music.

Here she shares her experience of working with Babigloo during the initial Lockdown I, Easing and Lockdown III:

How would you feel if you sat through a workshop/class where no one talked? Awkward? Nervous? Peaceful? As adults, we often feel the need to talk; we want to fill silent voids, or talk over the top of background sounds and we’re used to this constant chatter rather than stopping to listen to our surroundings. It’s for this reason that the the first time I watched a Babigloo livestream, my initial thoughts were “this is a little odd” and I’d like to share a few of the reasons I quickly fell in love with the concept.

Babigloo use their artists experience, paired with great knowledge of a baby's engagement, to run sessions with a continuation of sounds (singing, rhythms, timbres) without the need to talk. This brings fluidity and calm to the sessions, with no unnecessary chatter that is irrelevant to the babies needs.

After seeing the babies joy, responses and concentration in the centre and Zoom sessions, I am a full convert!

I first discovered Babigloo when I saw a call out for musicians shared via Soundstorm Music Education Agency; Babigloo were looking for musicians to record videos to play during their livestreams whilst we were in the first lockdown. I met with Colin, Michele and Jenny via Zoom and they shared what Babigloo is about, their enthusiasm for musical experiences in early years was infectious. I, like many musicians found themselves working out how to manage the technical side of recording without a tech team - a steep learning curve and whilst I’m no replacement for the professionals, I’ve learnt a lot since the first recording.

Recording pieces for the Babigloo session gave me a reason to play during a difficult time, for which I am very grateful.

In December I had a call from Colin to see if I was available as Babigloo were allowed to run live sessions again! On a personal level, this was my first gig since the beginning of the pandemic so not only was I excited to meet Colin, Michele, the babies and their families in person, it was also amazing to be getting back ‘out there’ musically.

We had two sessions, Colin and Michele greet the babies and their parents - no spoken words, all music. Within the opening song, Colin shared that it was more than ok to feed, sleep if needed - there was no pressure, the babies basic needs come first and they would still absorb the music. The sessions are themed, Colin and Michele use music (rhythms, rhymes, differing genres), colour, dance and props to create a calming musical and sensory journey for both the babies and their families.

Lockdown III came along so we moved to Zoom - would this work? Would the babies engage? Would they still benefit? Yes, yes and yes. I tend to play three or four pieces during each session which means

I have the huge pleasure of seeing parents and babies interact and respond to Colin and Michele; there are so many smiles, movement to the sounds and fixation on the screen. The props add an additional sensory experience.

I leave each session feeling incredibly uplifted, I’ve always thought babies have a lot going on in their minds that we don’t know about but seeing how they engaged during the sessions was amazing. It was so lovely to have a friend and her baby join a recent session, beautifully describing it as a "soundscape for babies". I feel that you need to experience Babigloo to fully understand and appreciate the engagement and joy it brings to both babies and their families; the ‘in the room’ sessions create a very special atmosphere and as a musician, it is so wonderful to see and be a part of babies first experiences of sharing music.

Claire Jones, CHJ Music

Claire is currently working with Babigloo through their Youth Music Fund A Programme and is also facilitating the Elevate Ensemble via Soundstorm Music Education Hub. Elevate is a virtual ensemble and a wonderful opportunity for school age learners of any orchestral instrument to join together, learn and perform an uplifting piece.