Jam with Jamie has always been one of our most popular classes at State of Kid, and for good reason! Babies and toddlers shake, groove and twirl to feel-good tunes, often their first exposure to a music class (or social interaction). There are bubbles, colorful scarves, a parachute, animal puppets and instruments—perfect stimuli for your little one’s developing brain. This mommy-and-me style class involves both children (starting at six months old) and caregivers in the music interplay, and families are encouraged to sign up for four-to-eight-week consecutive sessions (though we have brought back drop-ins on Sundays).
Jam with Jamie started in 2008 in New York City when musician Jamie Kolnick expanded her children’s music classes into a full-time business. Jamie had a following from teaching famous kids at other venues (think Gwyneth Paltrow’s and Christy Turlington’s progeny), but she was also auditioning for Broadway shows and caring for her ill mom. A rave writeup in Time Out New York created even more buzz, but Jamie’s commitments meant she would have to turn down bookings. That is until she pivoted and opened her business to other performers in the theater community, who she trained to perform at her branded parties and classes.
Today, Jamie has 60 performers across nine cities—from Manhattan to Miami and Dallas to San Francisco. They are all taught the same songs, moves and structure—with an emphasis on fun. “Our classes are an interactive experience,” Jamie explains. “It’s a musical conversation with kids and their grownups. I only hire performers with the right spark. You can’t do this unless you love what you are doing and love children and families. And each performer has their own bag of tricks.”
Here in Miami, we’re lucky to work with Jesse Veliz & Andrez Franco, two professional musicians with theater degrees and incredible energy, enthusiasm and charisma. Not only do Jesse and Andre perform together as a piano duo throughout South Florida, but the two are longtime best friends, creating a natural rapport that makes families feel welcome immediately. Andrez and Jesse’s “secret sauce” is their theater background and live music experience. “We bring extra musicality,” says Jesse. “The kids get a full show, and they are dancing, clapping and finding their rhythm.” They even bring a keyboard to the jam sessions, which raises the bar way above the normal music class.
Songs range from classic favorites like “Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes” and “Wheels on the Bus,” to more contemporary hits such as “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Andrez and Jesse have introduced the contagious “Twist & Shout,” which gets tiny bodies gyrating in seconds. The party-like atmosphere spans Freeze Dance, Lummi sticks, shakers, free play, bubbles and, of course, the colorful parachute.
“My favorite part is watching the little ones progress,” says Andrez. “Many of these are ‘Covid babies,’ and this is their first time being around other kids. The kids often start out shy during the first class. There’s an adjustment period. But by the third class, they are all dancing and hugging each other. Even the families have become friends. Many playdates have been planned during our sessions.”
Interested in joining the party? Click HERE to sign up for our new Sunday JAMs.