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News: Time to discover the magic of music

Rebecca Bull yearned for a musical career.

When deciding her options before doing GCSE music, she took part in a test which said her ideal career would be running her own music shop.

She laughs at the recollection. "I always loved that, and I always wanted to be a musician or work somewhere in music," she says.

Rebecca's musical interest stems from the instruments she played as a child - guitar, piano and saxophone - but her interest waned when she went to university to study psychology.

Working as a civil servant focusing on workforce development for the early years, Rebecca didn't have the opportunity to re-awaken her musical interest until she had her son Oscar, who recently celebrated his first birthday.

Taking Oscar to Rhythm Time sessions - musical sessions for young children - wasn't simply a fun and educational way of spending time with her little one, it also offered Rebecca an alternative career giving her the flexibility to fit around her family, including four-year-old daughter Maya.

Having benefited from the Rhythm Time experience herself, Rebecca decided to look into the possibility of starting her own franchise. After completing a training course with Rhythm Time founder, music teacher Kathy Doolan, Rebecca launched her own Rhythm Time sessions in Calderdale and Bradford last month.

Sessions are designed for babiesfrom birth to 14 months; toddlers from 14 months to three-years-old and pre-school for children aged three to five.

"It's not just a sing-a-long," says Rebecca. "Using percussion instruments, drums, triangles, chime bars and slide whistles, along with activities, the idea is to give youngsters an understanding of music. It's about encouraging an understanding but in a fun way and appreciating music for what it is."

Youngsters also learn about the beat of the music "which is really important for language development," says Rebecca.

Unaccompanied singing within the class enables babies and children to start vocalising and to sing in tune. Singing together also helps to establish the neural pathways which stimulate growth of language and memory.

The sessions also build on the three C's - Confidence, Creativity and Co-ordination.

"There has been a lot of research supporting the fact that music is important for future development and things like balance because we do things like dancing and movement in the class," says Rebecca.

"The children are free to appreciate it how they want. It is about exploring their own sense of music really and it develops things like balance, co-ordination and creativity."

The 35-year-old from Gildersome has seen firsthand the benefits Rhythm Time has brought to her own son. Any time a piece of music comes on he jigs about and starts clapping, he absolutely loves it. Sometimes if he is upset in the car I have a Rhythm Time CD and he is calm straight away. He really loves it," says Rebecca.

"It is a fun, educational thing. It is not teaching music; I am the facilitator, I introduce music to the children and support the concept with the activities Kathy has designed, and help them in their development. There is no set way of appreciating it, it is about getting a love and understanding of music."

Rebecca says the sessions also provide that all-important quality time for parents to spend with their children and also promote interaction among the young ones.

"People really appreciate that special time with their child because the world is so busy now - I am here, there and everywhere with Oscar but that time at Rhythm Time I get to see him shine, I get to see him light up when he sees something and he likes the interaction with other children," says Rebecca.

Kathy Doolan, who set up Rhythm Time 18 years ago after having her own children, says: "Music is fundamental to a child's development and that's why it's really important that children progress through the different stages in order to build on the skills they've learned and continue to stimulate their senses."

Rebecca's classes take place on Tuesdays, at 10am for toddlers and 10.40am for babies, at Jungle at the Junction, Black Dyke Mills, Queensbury and at 10am for families and the nought to four-year-olds on Saturdays at St John the Evangelist Church, Church Street, Cleckheaton.

For more information, visit rhythmtime.net/rb4.

Posted: 18th Jul 2014

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