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Real instruments; real music; real fun

Musician offers classes for children to turn them on to live music


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Pablo Grabiel strums his guitar while moms encourage their children and join them, making sounds that blend with the music of the group. Grabiel will offer classes at the Sandy Community Center in April.Here’s a class enjoyed by parent and child alike. Both participate in games, making music and singing. And everyone leaves each session with a happy spirit and a smile.

The class is called Music for Babies and Toddlers, and is offered at the Sandy Community Center.

Teacher and professional guitar player Pablo Grabiel says the point of the class is to “expose kids to music and to pique their interest in the real McCoy — making real music with real instruments.”

Grabiel is upset that too many kids are exposed only to recorded music, which he says is nothing like listening to real music from real instruments. He recalls seeing classes that taught music from CDs.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Pablo Grabiel guides his daughter, Estela, 3, and together they create musical sounds with his guitar and peak her interest in the instrument.“The classes I saw used canned music,” he said. “They would just put on a CD, and someone would press ‘play’ and sing songs with them. They weren’t being exposed to real musicians and musicianship.”

But there is more, including the sharing of an activity between parent and child, an activity that can be continued in the privacy of their home.

“Children learn hand-eye coordination,” Grabiel said, “as well as rhythm, group play, cooperation, following directions and to appreciate live music.”

But this is not just a class for children to learn more about music. A parent or caregiver for each child must attend the class.

“It is very important,” Grabiel said, “that each child is accompanied by an adult caregiver who is going to actively participate in the session.”

Among the activities in one session or another are songs related to animals where the kids bring their favorite stuffed animal, a special focus on music and movement where there is dancing and hand gestures, and emphasis on the Latin beat and percussion instruments as well as songs that would accompany the many transitions of a child’s day.

Grabiel doesn’t believe he is going to create musicians out of toddlers, but he does believe he can create music lovers whose lives are enriched with the experiences of learning how to make sounds with an instrument.

“I bring in instruments to expose them to,” he said, “for example, percussion instruments. It’s what they can do at that level. They’re not going to play music as we know it on guitar or piano. But I bring in instruments that are appropriate at that level, and we can make music together.”

Grabiel often brings in another professional musician from Portland to assist and show the kids what making music is like.

Registration for the class in the Sandy Community Center is ongoing for the session beginning at 12:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, and another session beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13.

Each class includes four weekly sessions that are 45 minutes to one hour in length.

To register, call the Community Center at 503-668-5569 or register online at cityofsandy.com.

For more information, call Grabiel at 202-441-8344 or visit his company website at dcmusicentertainment.com/entertainment-services/kids-music.