photo by @tarynraeleephotography
Music lies at the core of who we are, in our heartbeat, our movement and the tone of our voice
We are rhythmic, musical beings, and we can hear this in the patterns of our speech, the way our voices rise and fall, giving expression and meaning. Singing, rhymes, musical games and playing instruments are all great ways for parents and carers to share attention and communicate with children, and to promote lively interaction.
Musical activities make learning and communication fun and enjoyable. In addition, research has shown that active music-making can assist with early language development, listening skills and emotional wellbeing. These are all an essential part of learning to read, write, listen and respond.
Participation in Tempo Tots music classes provides a great way for your child to develop their social skills, peer awareness and confidence, interacting and sharing play with other children.
Tempo Tots also offers music therapy and training services that may be tailored to a range of settings and needs.
photo by @tarynraeleephotography
Emma is a classically trained singer and cellist, and studied music therapy at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Emma has extensive training, which has focused on musicianship, aspects of psychology and pathology, early intervention and health promotion. In addition to her music therapy training, Emma has studied child development at the Tavistock Clinic, parent-infant psychotherapy at the School of Infant Mental Health and parent-infant interaction at OxPIP, Oxford.
When not playing and singing with families at Tempo Tots North London, Emma can be found working as a Music Therapist with children and families at Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust.
Sheilpa is a qualified Music Therapist, and has worked with Tempo Tots since January 2016, mainly helping out with you rowdy lot at St Marys Islington on Wednesday afternoons.
As a Music Therapist Sheilpa practises with children and young people in nurseries and schools. As well as guitar, Sheilpa plays violin and piano, and also teaches the violin in secondary schools.
Although Sheilpa is not currently doing classes with Tempo Tots, having relocated out of London during Covid, she is still very much in our memories as part of the Tempo Tots story and maybe we will get to see her again one day, somehow.
Tempo Tots life before, during and beyond COVID-19
Hello, Emma here, thank you for visiting this page.
It felt like a good moment to look back and take stock of the TTNL story, some of which you will know and some of which will have taken place well before your little ones were even a twinkle in your eye. So here we go...
Until March 2020, Tempo Tots was established as a favourite drop-in early years music class with hundreds of families in Camden and Islington. Our very first classes took place at the Roundhouse in Camden, and at Waterstones (now TK Maxx) on Camden High Street. We tried out venues in Camden, Kentish Town, Mornington Crescent, West Hampstead, Highbury and Hackney, with classes run by me, as well as other leaders including Emma L, Emma G (yes we really had 3 Emmas at one point!), Edel, Bart, Mairead, Kate and Sheilpa. Sometimes you might have even spotted legendary Tempo Tots founder, Charlotte Miller at a class, just checking in on our little seedling North London Tempo Tots. Once we found a good rhythm at a few venues, we were up and running for a good 5 years before Covid came along, and everything changed.
We had classes just for littler ones, and classes just for bigger ones, all drop-in, and based on a grounding in group musicking thanks to my music therapy training, which allows for a high level of improvisation and tailoring to each group on the day, always with the aim of supporting child development and interpersonal connections through shared music-making.
What was your favourite pre-covid venue I wonder? For a fabulous few years, Tempo Totters came and played together on Monday mornings in the beautiful Music Room at Burgh House in Hampstead, on Wednesday mornings at favourite Kentish Town local The Grafton, and at St Marys Neighbourhood Centre on Upper St, Islington on Wednesday afternoons. For a while we played at Kentish Town Community Centre too, in their huge Hall. Wednesday afternoons at St Marys we had the most splendid and beloved Sheilpa with us, and sometimes visiting class leaders, Mairead and Kate for Christmas Specials. We sometimes had Christmas special events at Burgh House too, with Santa making a surprise appearance! (Thank you to my awesome bro Dan for being such a great sport!) It was just amazing to be a small part of your lives during this time, I had SO MUCH FUN.
So then Covid...
We got up and running on zoom pretty quickly and had a handful of incredibly dedicated and determined group of you who logged on and made the absolute most of everything I could impart through a screen. I saw your children growing and developing, despite the incredible challenges that lockdown posed for social interaction and creativity. One of the amazing and unexpected silver linings of zoom classes was being able to see all of you who weren't in our local area, as you logged on from Balham, Stoke Newington, Nottingham, Suffolk and even internationally! All the zooms were free to access that Summer, but you still donated over £400 in lieu of class fees, which created the Tempo Tots Funding that is now available to support families in need of financial support to attend classes. Your legacy continues, and I am blown away by your generosity.
And then to the Parks! Talacre, Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill and Highbury Fields through Autumn 2020. I will never forget that class on 2nd December when it was 2 degrees, freezing fog, and yet you came, and we played Christmas songs and rang our Jingle Bells. One of you was only 3 months at the time - quite astonishing!
The VIDEO LIBRARY was launched in January 2021, offering a selection of pre-recorded content to allow you to continue your Tempo Tots contact around classes, and giving ideas for musical and sensory activities at home.
We retreated to zoom during the Winter lockdown of 2021, after which you voted to head back outdoors rather than masking up for indoor classes. At this point, despite giving my best pitch, Islington council said we couldn't use the parks for classes (yes, really), so we played just in Camden & Kentish Town from Easter to Halloween 2021.
Like all of us, I was hoping that by now (September 2021) we might be beyond Covid, and although this does not appear to be the case, I have listened to your feedback and decided to try returning indoors, on a reduced timetable for Winter 2021-2022. I am delighted to be playing at Kentish Town City Farm on Monday afternoons from 8th November, and trialling a class at St George's Tufnell Park on Monday 15th November!
I do hope you can come along and Make Some Noise at these new venues, but if you are no longer attending, I would love to hear any memories you or your little ones may have of Tempo Tots classes. Did you have a favourite song, venue or activity, or any special memory that stands out?