Alexandra Adams Brings Kindermusik to Santa Barbara with Yellowbird Music
Alexandra Adams sings "Small Town"
If you peek into Yellowbird Music while passing its large-windowed storefront on De La Vina Street in Santa Barbara, CA, you'll find something cute enough to disrupt your adult thoughts and make you smile, or laugh, or at the very least remind you that life's not so serious: here, eight toddlers are discovering dance, jerking streamers up and down and side to side; babies with broad smiles are bouncing on parents' laps or being paraded ‘round the room on scooter-boards; and excited preschoolers are leaping down a giant inflatable "log" or learning to perform musical "solos" for their friends on a pretend stage with tiny, squeaky violins.
Alexandra Adams sings "The Samba"
Yellowbird Music is a musical space designed for children, but it's also a place where adults can rediscover the magic of childhood. The single-room studio looks just like any kid-friendly place should. Its walls are canary yellow with stenciled ladybugs creeping around mirrors and cabinets. A party of painted birds -- an owl here, a blue jay there, seagulls, pelicans, parrots and acorn woodpeckers -- borders the top edge of the studio walls. Hidden in all those cabinets -- the ones which lend a crisp order to a room that would otherwise overflow with goodies -- are accordions, harmonicas, hand drums, puppets, recorders, scarves, pinwheels, bubbles, ropes, art supplies, story books, bells and shakers, xylophones and glockenspiels, and tons of non-Western percussion instruments gathered from owner Alexandra Adams' world travels. When you're two years old, this place is paradise.
Alexandra Adams sings "Fly Away"
Alexandra Adams graduated from UC Santa Barbara with emphasis in Ethnomusicology (the study of world music) and Drama, and she taught music around Santa Barbara for several years before opening Yellowbird. It's hard work to own a small business in an expensive town, and Alex is the kindest, hardest worker I know. She's also a natural with children. Maybe it's her playfulness, her musicality, her spontaneity, or her decade of teaching experience that motivates her students, but whatever it is, children flock to her. Alex and her other Yellowbird instructors teach by example, and as a result of their process-over-performance approach, Yellowbird students learn that music, sans expectations or pressure, is FUN. Yellowbird Music offers Kindermusik -- a music and movement curriculum for infants through age seven -- and classes unique to Yellowbird, including Yellowbird Choir and private lessons in voice, guitar, piano, violin or flute. Yellowbird also hosts birthday parties and other special events including tea parties and Musical Guest Week, where community musicians drop by each semester for intimate, live performances.
Alexandra Adams sings "It's Funny"
When we recorded Alex in Santa Barbara for One Night Music, she was seven months pregnant with her son Mateo, who's now almost eight months old. These videos, then, are tender documents of songs she usually performs with her band Back Pocket; here, they are charged with glowing love. Alex lives with husband Mondo and son Mateo in Santa Barbara, where she continues to inspire others through her devotion to children and music.
For more information on Yellowbird Music and Alexandra Adams, visit www.yellowbirdmusic.com.
This blog post was written byMegan Sullivan