WeBop Age Groups

Hipsters (8 months – Non-walkers)
Drawing upon the natural musical communication between parents and infants and the soulful nature of jazz rhythms and tunes, the Hipster class provides opportunities for adults and babies to interact with and learn about each other through experiences with our rich cultural traditions. Through engagement with both the cognitive and the emotional – the patterns and the spirit of jazz — adults will learn about how their babies respond to musical cues, while also learning about characteristics of jazz forms and styles. Teachers will work as facilitators, providing opportunities to sing and invent lullabies, dance together freely and as an ensemble, and re-visit our own musical histories and repertoires using jazz as medium for new interpretations. Not only will caregivers and infants be building a new repertoire of songs and musical activities to use at home, they will also learn more about how and why music is important in their lives. We expect that what happens in the WeBop Classroom becomes part of a growing repertoire of family interactions.

Scatters (Walkers – 23 months)
For Scatters, we use the Hipster lessons, with adaptations necessary for the increased mobility and the thrill of newly controllable body parts of this older group. Depending upon the particular individuals in the class, one might also try an adapted Stompers plan, taking care to honor the less-developed verbal language of the Scatters.

Stompers (2-3 years)
Joining with their parents/caregivers, Stompers become familiar with a rich repertoire of jazz music through the improvisatory spirit of jazz — singing, dancing, and playing small percussion instruments with recordings and creating their own jazz-like renditions of familiar tunes and rhymes. Building on the imaginative, spontaneous, and exploratory “ways of being” for this age group, guided activities highlight the rhythmic energy, formal structures, and emotional content of music that so engages young children. Children will become characters in musical stories, have opportunities for creative movement, interact with others in call and response singing (and stomping), and express themselves through shaking, tapping, thumping, and striking instruments. Adults interact with children as partners throughout the lesson and reinforce activities from class at home with specially designed materials.

Syncopators (4-5 years)
Children in the Syncopator group are curious about the music around them – they anticipate musical patterns and find delight in musical surprises like unexpected silences or changes in accent. Maintaining the free spirit of improvisation, there is a new focus on the notion of “model,” where imitation leads to variation, and ultimately, to a personal musical voice. Children are guided in efforts to represent their musical understandings in multiple ways: in their bodies through creative movement; in musical instruments, including small percussion and melody instruments; in their voices through expressive interpretations; and in spoken language with a growing vocabulary of jazz idioms. The curriculum also builds on their interest in visual representation – children are given “listening maps” to match sound to symbol, providing an introduction to score reading, and are introduced to artistic images associated with jazz; they also create their own scores for original compositions and interpret musical works through color, line, and texture. Adults interact with children in various roles (audience, duo-performer, “sideman”) and reinforce activities from class at home with specially designed materials.

Gumbo Group (3-5 years) (mixed ages)
The Gumbo Group was designed for families with children in different ages groups who would like to experience music as an ensemble. Drawing on the strengths of both age groups as described above, musical activities for the Gumbo Group are designed for multiple simultaneous responses requiring a variety of skills: younger children might accompany a recording with shakers while keeping the beat in their bouncing bodies, while older children might be listening for their special part on the claves, reinforced by a parent’s pointing to the iconic images (lines, shapes, colors) of a musical “score” representing the sound.