Family fun

Play Date: Kindie Rock Musician Jack Forman of Recess Monkey

jackformanwithoscar1Editors Note: If you need a kids' music expert, Jack Forman is the guy to call. He’s a founding member of landmark kindie band Recess Monkey, former kindergarten teacher and current stay-at-home dad with a kids' music satellite radio show on Sirius XM. (Seattle-area folks: See Recess Monkey play live for free June 15 at the Deep Sea Diver CD Release Party at the Naval Undersea Museum.)

I met Jack in between errands at Caffe Fiore in old Ballard. Over delicious drip coffee, we discussed life with toddlers, early music education and of course, kids' music.

1. You have a 2-year-old son, where do you take him for a good time?

The rainforest at Woodland Park Zoo. We’re Jaguar-Gorilla guys. We’re really into the zoo’s extended Western Gorilla family right now.

Oscar used to be into the flamingos: They make a wonderful noise. We also like the zoo’s Northern Trail — but in the winter the bears are always sleeping.

We also love the Imagine Children's Museum in Everett. It’s easily one of the best children’s museums I’ve ever been to.

2. Do you go to see a lot of music together as a family?

Oscar has been going to shows since he was 8 days old. His first gig was our show at Seattle Children’s Theatre for The Final Funkster. He’s been tagging along ever since. He’s our biggest fan.

3. You must listen to a lot of music at home. What's on your play list that's kid-appropriate but not necessarily kids music?

Let's see, adult-centric bands that we play all of the time in Oscar’s presence. ... Off the top of my head, I'd say: John Vanderslice and Elliott Smith.

The Beatles, of course. Coconut Records — that's actor Jason Schwartzman's indie pop band out of Los Angeles.

Phoenix. Air. Flight of the Conchords. Belle & Sebastian.

4. Do you have any personal theories about early music education?

Early exposure is key. Oscar has been fascinated by drums since he was 6 months old. His grandma Lola give him his first 6-inch drum with a foam mallet – and he started playing it before he really knew that his hands were a part of his body!

I think that if you give kids the tools to experiment and the freedom to experiment, they will develop their natural musical ability on their own. Other than two precious instruments, all the instruments in our house are okay for sticky fingers.

5. So, no music lessons for Oscar?

Eventually. I don’t think it make much sense to give him prescribed lessons until he is older.

6. Hey, what do you want for Father's Day?

To sleep in. Or a Rickenbocker bass.

Wonder which one he’ll get?

See also:

Recess Monkey's  Deep Sea Diver CD Release Party, June 15

Shake It Up, Shake It Off

Music Matters: 14 Ways to Expose Your Baby or Toddler to Music

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