Getting our Jam On!

Music has always been part of my life. When I was little, I was in piano lessons. Then middle school band. Marching band. High school symphony.

Both of my grandparents played for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, so I guess you could say music is in my genes. I may not be able to sing, but I can hold a tune.

My husband, on the other hand, cannot. Ask him to hum “happy birthday,” and he’ll hum something completely unrecognizable.

Fortunately, my kids seem to be somewhat musically inclined, so I knew they’d be into a PB&J Session.

Did you know that research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas? According to the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation, a music-rich experience for children of singing, listening and moving is proven to benefit children as they progress into more formal learning. Music helps with language development, spatial skills and has even been shown to boost IQ.

During PB&J performances, children are invited to sit on the floor, close to the performers, and be part of the action. A music educator hosts each concert, leading movement, dances, beat patterns, songs and a Q&A. At the end of the concert, families are invited to meet the performers and get an up-close introduction to their instruments. (And thanks to Graeter’s, each child receives a free cookie after the session!)

Kids of all ages are welcome at these 35-minute concerts. While PB&J’s activities are aimed to connect with 2 – 6 year olds, older children and adults will still enjoy the music and content. PB&J Sessions are designed for the entire family to enjoy music together.

Last week, we attended a free PB&J concert at the Kennedy Heights Presbyterian Church. From time to time, there are free jam sessions courtesy of ArtsWave.

This was the last of the winter Music Inside Out concerts, which takes kids on an emotional odyssey through music.

My kids loved it.

The session started with an interactive story and song. Julian got really into the hand and arm motions. Mary, as usual, took it all in quietly, while Harvey sat wide-eyed with a goofy smile on his little face.

Then the musicians took center stage. There were three musicians: a pianist, violinist and cellist. Each introduced themselves, then played a song to evoke a certain emotion. They were very friendly and played fun music (like the “Sesame Street” theme song, which none of these little, born-in-the 2010’s kids recognized!). Afterwards, the musicians invited the kids up to touch and play their instruments. J was very excited to play the piano (my parents have a piano, but aren’t too keen on him banging on tickling the ivories).

There were lots of interactive moments during the presentation, which is great for the toddler/preschooler crowd. This is a perfect way to expose kids to classical music in a very warm and welcoming environment!

There’s a month-long hiatus before the spring series starts — and you won’t want to miss that! Starting April 9, look for Madcap Music-Making: The Story of the Frog Prince at various locations around town.
Your kids will get a kick out of this spring show, which incorporates Madcap Puppets into the classical music mix!

For Linton’s PB&J Session’s spring schedule, be sure to visit the website!

Source:, The Benefits of Music Education.

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