Wednesday, 10 September 2014

What is big, shiny, loud and can fit small children inside?

This is a picture of my euphonium…  What’s a euphonium?  Well I normally describe it as a small tuba or big trumpet, but it’s big, shiny and loud and small children could fit into it!  Most people have never heard of a euphonium and I’m not quite sure how I ended up playing it, but I’m very glad I did as it started my love for all things musical!  I also love singing and, together with Hannah, have been coming along to Little Hiccups since 2010 to run music sessions with the Thursday group.  Running sessions at Little Hiccups encouraged us to set up our own early years classes called Tiny Tempo which we've been running for nearly two years now (

Even before they’re born, babies are listening to sounds or feeling vibrations and music can help babies and children to relax, to get excited, to bond with their parents and to communicate.  Every child is different and responds to and dislikes different sounds and sensory stimuli.  We plan sessions for Little Hiccups to incorporate all the senses and explore these likes and dislikes; from a hungry caterpillar session with tasters of different food to country garden sessions outside, complete with flute and euphonium duets (you haven’t heard this particular combination of instruments very often for a reason, but we like it…!)

We have loads of different percussion instruments and materials to feel and look at; shiny material with ribbons, animal fur, jangling tambourines and clock-like claves.  We try to have something for everyone and do whatever we can to include everyone and their personal preferences in each session. We even learnt every song from Frozen following a request from a child at Hannah House where we also work (and tried to pretend we didn’t love every second…!) At Little Hiccups, we try to include parents as much as possible and give simple ideas for things that you can do yourselves at home.  We think everyone can sing and enjoy music with their children, and try our hardest to make everyone feel comfortable with music, whatever their experience.

Little Hiccups is a very special and supportive group of people and we love our sessions there.  On a personal level, they have supported me through losing some of my eyesight a few years ago and being registered as visually impaired.  Having the continuity of the sessions there and the support of everyone to carry on with music really made a difference to me and is one of the reasons that I’m still working today.  I may not recognise anyone in the street but I can from the first note they sing!

Kathryn O'Doherty (Tiny Tempo)

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