Stop, Drop-In and Rock-n-Roll: Best Tot Music Scenes

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Bang-bang-bang, go his feet on the chair. His voice is loud and rising, his spoons become drumsticks on the table, the cup, your head. The little one is up now and shaking that box of cereal. You might be trying to have breakfast, but these kids want to jam! There’s no shortage of care-giver-and-me music classes around town, but some of the most inventive, festive and engaging music experiences are the drop-in sessions. We’ve rounded up some of our favorites.

Rise and Rhyme
Start the week by busting a move to the Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville for this early morning singing, dancing and storytelling session featuring a different performer from a rotating collection each week. Your kids will be entranced by art and dancing with Jessica Smith the “Culture Queen,” learn catchy guitar-driven ear-worms with Mr. Gabe, and they’ll latch on to the new-wave charms of The Singing Lizard. Don’t worry about that breakfast you couldn’t get them to eat at home—order them some oatmeal and you some coffee and eggs from the restaurant’s breakfast menu. The music will get your little ones bouncing and grooving as they grab instruments and shake their booties till naptime.

Busboys and Poets
5331 Baltimore Avenue (Hyattsville, Md)

When: Mondays, 9:30 am – 11:00 am
Cost: Suggested donation of $5.

“All pull together,” is what this drum-circle of a music party means in Swahili. And your kids will be pulling you to join the beat of the band before you even sit down. So stay standing! Sway and dance, shake and jump along with the rhythms of musician Baba Ras D’s morning jolt of sing-along merriment. It is interactive, but openly so. If you have a an aspiring star, its their time to shine. Other kids may just like to enjoy the vibe around them.

3222 11th Street NW (Columbia Heights)

When: Mondays at 9:30 am, Thursdays at 10:00 am, Saturdays at 9:30 am and 10:30 am.
Cost: Suggested donation of $7 to $10.

Boogie Babes
This live music event at Eastern Market—aka the place to see and be seen on Wednesday mornings on Capitol Hill—has expanded to shows at Union Market on Thursdays as well. (The Friday series at Atlas Performing Arts Center is on summer hiatus, returning in September). But rock the Markets till the August break with a rotating line-up of tip-top tot-acts like the Latin beats of ¡Uno, Dos, Tres con Andrés!, the Hawaiian sounds of Ukulele Phil and The Hula Kids, and the hilarity of Mr. Skip.


Eastern Market
225 7th St SE  (Capitol Hill)

When: Wednesdays at 10:30 am
Cost: $5 per child, siblings under six months are free.

Tot Rock!
This Virginia nightclub wakes up before noon on Thursday and Friday mornings with kids concerts featuring a standing line-up. “Oh Susannah,” with her funny, folksy songs, has the lunch slot at 1:00 pm on Thursdays and the musical antics of “Rocknocerous” comes on at 10:30 am Friday mornings, followed by the jazz stylings of the “Grandsons Jr.” at 1:00 pm. The kids can romp around and you may even get to eat a salad almost-mostly-kind-of-un-interrupted, since a full lunch menu is available for all shows.

Jammin’ Java
227 Maple Ave E (Vienna, Va)

When: Thursdays at 1:00 pm; Fridays at 10:30 am and 1:00 pm
Cost: $5

Saturday Song Circle
Get into the groove with this drop-in music-fest at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. The session, for babies to five-year-olds, puts the music in the kids’ hands with the opportunity to shake, beat, rattle and bang their way through a range of new and tried-and-true tunes. A live percussionist keeps things thumping along and a teaching artist keeps the kids and caregivers humming. Sessions fill up, so book ahead.


Imagination Stage
4908 Auburn Avenue (Bethesda, Md)

When: Saturdays at 10:00 am (Check website because schedule does vary and booking ahead online is a good idea)
Cost: $6 per person

Where do you and your kids go when you want to rock out?

—Anna Bahney

Photos courtesy of Bloombars via Facebook, Boogie Babes via Facebook