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: ochiaimusictogether@gmail.com

Ochiai Music Together をもっと詳しくはこちらhttps://ochiaimusictogether.com/

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



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!

Teacher Training Workshops

Twice a year Music Together runs teacher workshops in Tokyo. There is a 3 day workshop where people are learning to become Music Together teachers for the first time. As part of that we invite families to come and take part in free demo classes, to help illustrate to the trainees what a class is like. Again, many families from my center took part this week and I’m so pleased they enjoyed the experience. 

Then on the 4th day, there is a Skills and Songs Workshop for existing teachers, and this is part of our ongoing training and development. Today’s topic was about advocating for early childhood music education in our centers and wider communities. 

If you are not quite sure what Music Together is all about, watch this short video (with japanese subtitles) to see the impact and passion classes can have on the families that attend. 


SHO Traditional Japanese Mouth Organ

This week, during a meeting of the Hudson Antiques Tea Club, I was treated to a private performance by one of my guests.  She brought with her a SHO, a traditional Japanese mouth organ, which was originally used in Japanese court music.

It was a really interesting sound, with quite a high pitch. Have you ever heard this instrument?

I am always very excited to find out about new instruments.

I wonder if it is difficult to play . . . . ?

sho - traditional japanese mouth organ
sho – traditional japanese mouth organ

This is not the lady I met, but here is a link to someone demonstrating the Sho that I found on youtube.

Spring Semester Starts `MARACAS`


Spring Semester starts this week, the 24th and 26th April.
Am looking forward to leading the class in song and dance.
Song great songs await us in the `MARACAS` collection from all over the world.

And we have a new exciting toy to play with this semester – an Octoband!!
Octaband stimulates self-expression, spontaneity, and awareness of others.

I hope we don`t get too tangled up in it 🙂

Jet Lag

Jet lagged toddlers. Bad news for parents. Good news for me. Was so happy to see Riku and Nana in class today. Bright eyed and bushy tailed, up at the crack of dawn I think. They just flew back yesterday from overseas. Great class with lots of mums, dads, grandma, and good friends. We did a great celtic themed dance and do si do’ed and swang our partners around the room. Yee-Ha. Thank you for my lovely gifts