On Friday, August 12, 2022 the Floyd Country Store held a reunion to celebrate the high school graduation of Kari Kovick’s first group of Joy Jammers Babies Music Class students! Joy Jammers is a weekly group music class for babies, young children and their caregivers. It promotes music competency, social emotional awareness, and positive attachment bonding between parents, children, and their community. Eleven families formed the first Babies Music Class with Kovick at the June Bug Center in 2004 when the babies were 6 – 10 months old. Many continued for the first 3 years of their lives. At the reunion, they returned as 18-year-olds to share stories, recreate old photographs, and enjoy a carrot cake topped with their baby photos.
“I want you to know that you guys showed me how brilliant babies are,” Kovick told the group. “Every week you would come in repeating something you remembered from the week before. You grew with music right before our eyes, even before you could talk or walk. And you babbled notes from our songs in key! I had no idea babies were such geniuses. You taught me that you came in wired to learn.”
Parents and children shared their experiences and stories about Joy Jammers, including the valuable connections it helped them find.
“This gave us instant community,” said Anne Vaughn, a mother. “I was new to Floyd, and this class gave me instant connection to other parents with babies.”
Another mother noted that Joy Jammers was one of the first things to get her out of the house as a new parent. Other parents and children commented on the value of learning to love music at a young age.
“Learning through music is so helpful. I think it was really essential for us as small children to learn through music, it’s helped us remember things,” said Felix Byler, one of the original Joy Jammers.
“To be introduced to music at such a young age is so wonderful, and a lot of them are still involved with music today,” said parent Sarah McCarthy.
The parents say they still find themselves singing the songs from class. “Someday I’ll be in an Alzheimer care unit, “ joked dad Gavin McKee, “and they will wonder why I only respond to songs about ponies galloping.”
Out of the group, four of the original Joy Jammers consider themselves active musicians today, creating their own songs or studying an instrument.
“To share music and to see you light up with it has been so important to my life,” Kovick told the group. “Now you have graduated, and I feel we’ve completed a journey. We’ve all reached a milestone together.”
Joy Jammers moved from the June Bug Center to the Floyd Country Store in 2006. In 2017, Kovick and her business, Heart of the Child Music Education, partnered with the Floyd Country Store’s Handmade Music School. Together, the two organizations share a vision of using music to nurture a strong and healthy community. This reunion impressed upon Kovick that these ties can last a lifetime.
Joy Jammers meets every Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the back deck of the Floyd Country Store. To learn more about the program, visit: https://handmademusicschool.com/heart-of-the-child-music-education/.