Earlier this year, Pasadena Unified School District surveyed parents about what their kids need and found a strong need for more music learning opportunities. Well, Pasadena Public Library has traditionally offered all kinds of free musical performances especially during the summertime. But today we really stepped up our music literacy game, by hosting a class with instructor Dayita Datta.

Kids learned about rhythm and tempo, they sang and clapped and danced to music, and they sang along to a “music map” from a beautiful book with illustrations that, just like sheet music, tell you how high or low, how short or how long, your notes should be. I was really impressed by the literacy applications of it. The book was called Under the Spreading Chestnut Tree.

They also got to play a metallophone and did activities using scarves. This one was really cute and I want to use it in storytimes:

They clapped complex rhythms to books like Freight Train by Donald Crews.

They danced, jumped and clapped to rhythms too:

Dayita sang the book Fortunately by Remy Charlip. Kids participated with the “Oh yes” and the “Oh no,” sung on chanted pitches.

The kids learned about pentatonic scales and sang a song about a Firefly, then played it on the metallophone.

Dayita was great with the kids. She was able to connect with kids of all different ages and was very patient. I’d love to have her back!

If you’d like to see Dayita perform some Indian music, we’re having a very special concert on Saturday, September 23 at 2 pm at the Central Library. Dayita and many of her students from Shruti Music Academy will be performing. You’ll also get to learn all about the great Indian writer and composer Rabindranath Tagore. Mark your calendar!