On Monday, at 9.30, the Kiosk at The Park is delighted to welcome one of our favourite Superstar Storytellers back to Storytime: Mark, from Piccolo's Music Club. Inspired by his enthusiasm and great songs, we tracked him down and had a chat with him about his music club, his favourite floor-fillers and being a stay at home dad who fits his work around his children:
Mark started his Piccolos Music Club two years ago, but says that it is something he has always wanted to do. After deciding to take on a stay-at-home Dad role, he needed something that would fit around looking after his daughter. Having been along to other music groups for children, he decided that there was room for a group that was more interactive, and was all about getting the children to participate, rather than just be sung to. He started holding informal music groups at his house, inviting friends with children to join him and his daughter. When his daughter was old enough to go to preschool, he would bring his guitar in and hold sessions there.
These days there are weekly groups at The Harrold Centre, and fortnightly groups at Buskers in Bletchley. (For more info, have a look at his Facebook Page.) The very exciting news for Bedford people is that in September he will be starting a new group at The Place Theatre in Bradgate Road! The sessions are pay-as-you-go, so you can turn up and see if it is the kind of thing you're looking for without having to pay for a whole term of classes. And we have a feeling that this group might be pretty popular with the under 5's of Bedford...
Each month at Piccolos has a theme: Africa for example, or Hip Hop, or The Beatles. The sessions are a mix of songs and dancing games that everyone knows and some that are written by Mark (a CD is available to buy of his songs, so you can learn them off by heart and sing along in the car/bath/at dinner parties, etc.) Introducing children to things like rapping nursery rhymes, hip-hop dancing and Indian dance make this a music class with a difference. The Goodbye Song which Mark sings at the end is made up from anecdotes the parents write about each child during the session and includes a personal goodbye to each attendee, with an additional bit of information such as 'will be having fish fingers for tea', or 'is wearing her favourite fairy dress'. During the sessions, kids get the chance to win 'piccolo points' for good joining in, enthusiastic dancing and suchlike. At the end of the session points can be exchanged for biscuits. (You can imagine the excitement.)
Mark reckons his favourite Toddler Floor filler is his self-penned punk-classic 'No peas, no pudding' - an intereactive song about the age-old battle of wills over vegetables and the reward of a good pudding where he gets the kids to shout the names of their favourite puddings out, to be included in the song. He also has a song called Peas and Green Lentils, and says that he hopes eventually to have enough pea-themed songs to create an L-Pea...
Mark also does his Piccolo sessions as musical entertainment for childrens' parties, which might be worth bearing in mind if a room full of excited three year olds waiting to be entertained is not really your cup of tea; we bet it would be a popular choice!
If you want a flavour (it's pea, obviously,) of Piccolo's Music Club, have a look at some of the videos on facebook, there are lots of great ones but this Robot one is our favourite.
So please come down and support Mark at Storytime on Monday at 9.30. As ever, there is milk and biscuits for the little ones, and of course tea, coffee, cold drinks and cake are available for the grown ups. We can't wait for some Piccolo themed Marvellous Monday Musical Mayhem at the Kiosk!