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Singalong Storybook Event “Wild Animals” 14th Sept 2017

Join us on Thursday 14th September for a special wild animal themed Singalong Storybook event at Ehon House in Mejiro. We will also be making an animal pasta shaker craft. Here is a preview of some of the books we will be making music with (see picture). So take a walk on the wild side with us and come on down ….

Further details can be found here

Booking necessary:








Christmas Family Event 2016

On Saturday 10th December 2016 in Higashi Nakano/Ochiai, all OMT families came together for a special end of year Christmas class.  We were very lucky as three parents played alongside us on piano and darbuka (hand drum), guitar, oboe.

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All children made their own pasta drum, made from dried pasta and paper plates, decorated with Christmas pictures, which they played throughout the class.

Making a pasta drum to play in class

Apart from singing some of our favourite songs from the Flute Collection, we also introduced a new song from next semester`s Stick Collection, and sang some classic Christmas songs.

We also played with egg shakers and jingle bells.

We often say there are 101 ways to play an egg shaker. Here is one way I hadn`t seen before! LOL :O

We had two Singalong Storybooks: Pete the Cat Saves Christmas, and The Little Donkey`s Christmas Song.

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After a big Christmas themed free dance and play-along we finished off with a stocking raffle with one lucky winner receiving a Christmas present, and all children going home with a little Santa gift bag of snacks.


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  • All families who came to the Christmas Family Event.  I hope you all enjoyed it.
  • Mr Ikuzawa. for bringing his oboe out of retirement.
  • Ito-sensei, who just finished teaching her first full semester at Ochiai Music Together. All your hard work, commitment, and energy is very much appreciated!
  • Mr Ito, for taking these wonderful pictures of the day for us
  • My long-suffering husband, “Mr. T”, who also acted as my “roadie” by driving us and carrying all the equipment to class!

Finally, Fumi and I would like to say that we have really enjoyed spending time with all the children and parents over the Autumn semester.  It has been our pleasure to make music with you every week.

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Here`s to 2017! With more singing, dancing, and joy!

See you next semester for the Sticks Collection Winter 2017

Warm wishes,


Director & Facilitator, Ochiai Music Together

Leaves are Falling . . . Autumn 2016

leavesarefallingWhile walking with my daughters in Showa Kinen Park last week on one of the last scorching hot days of summer, a lone giant brown leaf fell down upon us stopping us in our tracks. We instantly started singing `Leaves are Falling`, a song we haven`t sung for three years. “Leaves are falling, softly floating, tumbling to the ground”.  It was like greeting an old friend – warm, beautiful, calming; and it left me smiling in anticipation of the beginning of autumn and all the wonderful songs I will be revisiting in class as I teach the Flute collection for the second time.

This semester, Ito-sensei will teach the weekday class on Thursday mornings at our new venue in Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, and I will teach the weekend classes on Saturday mornings in Higashi-Nakano, Nakano-ku.  We can`t wait to greet returning families and welcome new members.  Demo classes and the Autumn Semester starts on the 24th and 29th September. 

Also, we will be continuing our Singalong Storybook Events at Ehon House in Mejiro, with the first one planned for Tuesday 11th October.  Places are limited so be sure to book your place early.  We have been having a lot of fun with this project and it gives us time to “play” as we plan and present.  We have some great new books lined up for the next few months, including Dan Taylor`s colourful illustration of Tingalayo and Nick Sharratt`s Shark in the Park, which we can`t wait to share!

While spring is certainly beautiful, autumn is my favourite season in Japan and I just can`t wait to see all those leaves change colour “Orange, red, brown, yellow, orange, tumbling to the ground”.

Leaves are Falling piano rendition on youtube

Sing and embrace the changing seasons . . . .



Singalong Storybook Events SPRING 2016 at Ehon House, Mejiro


Singing along as we tell stories using English picture books

Join us for this parent-and-child musical event. 

NOW taking bookings for May and June

Date/日時:   11th May 2016  (Wednesday) 5月11(水)  11:00am-11:30am

20th June 2016 (Monday)   6月20日(月) 11.00am-11.30am

Place/場所:  Ehon House Café Space 絵本の家 直営店

Participants/参加者:  Parents with Children aged 0-5 years


Fee/参加料:  500yen per family 500円家族組み

To book your place email/予約が必要:

Ochiai Music Together をもっと詳しくはこちら

Venue: EHON HOUSE Bookshop & Cafe Space

Mejiro, Tokyo

東京都豊島区目白1-7-14 みさとビル1F


Singalong Storybook Event, 2015/12/17 Ehon House, Mejiro

Singalong Storytime 

A singalong storybook.  Stories aren`t just for reading, we can sing them too.
A singalong storybook. Stories aren`t just for reading, we can sing them too.


ジリアン先生と一緒に英語の絵本を読みながら歌を歌います。 ギターにあわせて歌ったり、おどったり、エッグシェーカーを振って歌ったり、身体をつかって絵本を楽しみます! 05歳ぐらいまでの親子が対象です。


Singing along as we tell stories using English picture books

Join us for this parent-and-child musical event. 

Date/日時:   17th December 2015  (Thursday) 12月17()  11:00am-11:30am

Place/場所:  Ehon House Café Space 絵本の家 直営店

Participants/参加者:  Parents with Children aged 0-5 years


Fee/参加料:  500yen per family 500円家族組み

To book your place email/予約が必要:

Ochiai Music Together をもっと詳しくはこちら

Venue: EHON HOUSE Bookshop & Cafe Space

Mejiro, Tokyo

東京都豊島区目白1-7-14 みさとビル1F


3 Year Anniversary 三周年記念 – a personal reflection

September 2015 marks the 3 year anniversary of Ochiai Music Together.  At times I thought I would not reach this point.  Since passing the teacher training course and setting up my own center in 2012 I have been on a non-stop learning curve.  At first, one struggles to even remember the words to the songs let alone all the other aspects you need to think about in leading a class.  Becoming a good teacher really is a continuous effort.  I have come a long way in three years, but am still at the beginning of a long journey in my teaching career.

The business aspect of running my own center has brought other challenges.  It takes a lot more time than I originally imagined, to keep up with all the administrative tasks, scouting classroom locations; and advertising and recruiting new families is the most challenging task.  At times I often questioned whether it was feasible to continue OMT.  As any small business owner knows, sometimes small failures can really get you down and make you lose faith in your own ability.

I heard there is a common saying in Japan that you must stick at something for 3 years before you decide to quit.  And for me that lesson has certainly rung true.  I am very proud of how far my center has come, and how my classes have grown in size over the last 3 years.  I am beginning to see a wonderful community emerge, as the families of OMT get to know each other and share this special time in their lives – the difficult yet wonderful early years of raising children.  Seeing babies grow into toddlers and toddlers grow into preschoolers has brought me so much warmth and joy as a Music Together teacher.  And when a family brings along a newborn sibling to class they are truly welcomed by all the mums and dads and little ones in our group.  Teaching a class gives me a buzz that lasts all day long, and I cant help but smile 🙂  I consider myself very lucky to be able to see everyone once a week, and sing and dance with them. What great fun we have!

OMT is my business, but this early childhood music education program has always been very personal to me as well.  I first discovered Music Together as a parent when my eldest daughter Hazel was 1 year old. Taking her to class became the highlight of my week and I was amazed at the impact it had on her outside of class too.  I was totally fascinated by the program and this led me to train to become a teacher myself. At the time I was a stay-at-home-mum and I considered myself a bit of a mum-preneur starting my own business alongside raising my daughter. Then soon after I started teaching I became pregnant with Rose.  Some mornings I felt so sick, it was a struggle to not throw-up while singing the Hello Song (ha ha).  During my first year as a teacher, Rose was there with me in my tummy hearing all the music.  And when she was born she was most comfortable when she was listening to music.  I often joke she is my Music Together baby.  Her Japanese name is Ayane 彩音, and we read the kanji to mean many `different sounds`.

I dont`t just `teach` Music Together, I `live` it everyday with my own daughters, and I can`t say enough good things about what a positive impact it has had on our family life.

I would like to say a big thank you to all the families who have joined my center over the last three years.  Thank you for sharing all those wonderful musical moments with me.  May you always remember our classes fondly, like I do.

As I enter the 4th year of OMT, there is a lot to look forward to.  I am very pleased to be joined by my good friend Fumi Ito, who will be teaching a class in our new venue in Takadanobaba.  I will also be continuing with my guitar lessons, and in December I will be taking another teacher training course to further support my professional development as a Music Together practitioner.

Autumn Semester starts this week on the 24th September, and I return to the Fiddle Collection having come full circle on the 9 collection curriculum.  My egg shakers are all polished, scarves are all packed, and the octoband is just itching to be stretched out into all conceivable directions. Can’t wait to start ….

Here`s to the future!  Gambarimasu

Warm wishes, Gillian

Ochiai Park Peace Festival 2015 REPORT – Drip Drop, Drip Drip Drop

Yesterday was the 4th summer in a row that I have taken part in the Ochiai Park Peace Festival おちあい公園ピースフェスタ(   This year however, we had terrible weather.  It rained on and off all day long, including through my demo workshops.  I`ve never sang and played guitar in the rain before! What a day!

I must thank Fumi Ito and her husband Juntaro, who helped make me a makeshift tent out of blue picnic sheets and string.  No I wasnt prepared enough with string, but one of my families who came to support me in the demo class luckily lives next to the park and she rushed home to get us string and scissors and rubbish sacks. Thank you Maki-san!!


Note to self for 2016 : pack a tent and be prepared for all weather. 😛

Due to the bad weather there wasnt many people attending the festival so it wasn`t such a good day for promoting OMT.  But in the end it was quite an experience. Hazel and Rose still enjoyed themselves, and got very wet and muddy – they were just like uk festival goers, caked in mud and looking very dishevelled indeed. LOL.

Juntaro Ito, apart from being good at building rain shelters, is also very good at taking photos and he took these nice shots for us.  Thank you so much.  So many of them captured me making strange expressions and poses.  The ones below are the least embarassing of the batch.

Fumi and my husband Tsuyoshi kindly helped support the workshop.

That’s me, playing through the rain. ‘Hello Everybody’.

We all got up and moved around to ‘Dance with Me’. Fumi is getting on down 🙂

Large movement songs, where we all stand up and move and dance around, are my favourite.

We got the egg shakers out and sang the traditional Ghanaian song ‘Obwisana’.  My youngest daughter Rose (2) found a nice seat on my lap ….

Hazel (5) and Yoshi (4) liked taking part together.

My husband, Tsuyoshi, accompanied me on guitar for ‘Me, You, We’ and ‘Dance with Me’. The festival was very loud with music coming from many different places, so it helped us to have some acoustic guitar to boost our sound.

For ‘One little Owl’ I used the singalong storybook to present the song. I thought it would be a good experience for people to see us ‘singing’ instead of ‘reading’ a story.

Hazel (5) didn’t like getting wet. The friendly yoga ladies from the next workshop slot were very sweet and held umbrellas over our music class participants to keep them dry. They practiced ‘Brain Yoga’ (I must find out what that is ….)

We finished with an upbeat version of ‘Shady Grove’ with lots of la, la, la, du, du, du verses so every one could join in.

Once we finished I thought oh dear, everyone must be so miserable and wet. But my number one fan gave me a big hug. Thanks Rose!

New Teacher, New Class, New Venue

I am very pleased to announce that Fumi Ito will be joining Ochiai Music Together in September and leading a Wednesday morning class at our new location in Takadanobaba.

Many of you may already know Fumi, as she has attended my classes with her son, Yoshi, since 2013.  She is very familiar with the Music Together program and is now looking forward to teaching the program as well.

To view Fumi Ito`s teacher profile, please click here

For details of our new location in Takadanobaba, please click here

Gillian and Fumi (with Hazel and Yoshi)
Gillian and Fumi (with Hazel and Yoshi)

‘Marie Isabel‘ – colouring pages

We have been singing this Mexican song in class ‘Marie Isabel’, perfect for the summer. 

The Spanish lyrics mean “Grab your hat and put it on. Go to the beach where the sun is hot”. 

This week the children coloured in pictures to go with this song. They did a great job, don’t you think?  

This week the parent’s homework is to make up their own verses to the song, singing about what they do with their children. I can’t wait to hear them next week. 

I also found a retro version of this song on YouTube. A 1960s recording of this traditional song. Have a look. 

Makes me want to go to the beach!

“Rhythms and Rhymes” Around the World Music Video

From time to time Music Together asks families to submit video clips of children and parents playing around with the songs. Earlier this year they asked for submissions for families playing the “Rhythms and Rhymes” chant from the Bells Collection.

Click here to see the compiled result, clips from all over the world.

“Put the rhythm in your hands and go clap, clap, clap

Put the rhythm in your feet and go tap, tap, tap”


Enjoy 🙂