LIVINGSTON, NJ — Songs for Seeds was officially welcomed to the Township of Livingston when Mayor Al Anthony—accompanied by Deputy Mayor Rudy Fernandez, Councilman Michael Vieira and Livingston Area Chamber of Commerce members Monte Ehrenkranz, Beth Lippman, Ira Drucks and Michael McMane—cut the commemorative red ribbon marking the opening of the new musical learning program.
Songs for Seeds combines its own original music with top 40 hits, classic tunes and music from around the world to help teach important early childhood development knowledge about shapes, colors, numbers, phonics, counting and animals.
According to co-owner Debbie Martin, the interactive 45-minute classes are currently offered to kids from newborn to 6 years old inside the Create U arts studio located at 615 South Livingston Avenue.
“Children are encouraged to sing, dance, pick up an instrument and play along with our live 3-piece band,” she said, adding that the energetic sessions are fun for parents as well as children.
In fact, Martin promises local parents that their Songs for Seeds class will be their “favorite 45 minutes of the week.”
With a professional background in both business and teaching, Martin said she spent many years in higher education administration, working in alumni relations and development. She has also served as the director of public and community relations for several companies. Earlier in her career, she taught 4th through 6th-grade math and science.
Martin explained that she and her husband opened the franchise in Livingston because “it’s a family town that’s committed to community development.”
She added that the Township of Livingston shares Songs for Seeds’ values and that she has been thrilled thus far with the feedback from Livingston residents.
“We have many attendees in our classes, and they genuinely enjoy themselves,” she said.
The mayor, who enjoyed the music being played at the grand opening, said that Songs for Seeds is “a great addition to our town” because it provides “a place where young children can develop while singing, dancing and playing along with a live band.”
“It was a lot of fun watching the teachers and musicians engaging the students and taking them on a musical journey,” said Anthony. “The band is really good too, as the adults were enjoying it as much as the kids.”
New Jersey musician Ray Andersen, known to the kids as Mr. Ray, writes all the original music for the Songs for Seeds program.
In addition to playing with adult favorites like Bruce Springsteen, Matchbox 20 and Meat Loaf during his 25-year music career, Andersen has also enjoyed playing for local youth.
In fact, he was playing at an event for children when one of the founders of Songs for Seeds recruited him to write music for the program. According to Martin, the children start dancing the minute they hear the band start to play Mr. Ray’s catchy tunes.
Andersen enjoys seeing the children having a great time and learning during classes so much that he decided to take a stake in the new Livingston location.
After previously owning the Songs for Seeds program in Summit, Martin and her husband relocated to Livingston and teamed up with Andersen as well as Harris Sterling.
“Ray and Harris are very talented and supportive,” said Marin. “We are committed to bringing the Best Children’s early education to families.”
Martin described Songs for Seeds as being different from typical music classes because of its “more than music” philosophy.
“Songs for Seeds is designed to enhance the learning process through play, fostering connections and confidence as well as cognitive, sensory, attention, emotional and motor capabilities,” she said.
Songs for Seeds was founded by Short Hills native Alison Qualter-Berna and Allison Schlanger in 2007 when they opened an indoor space for their kids and others to run around and play in their Manhattan neighborhood.
Songs for Seeds, a comprehensive music program that educates children while they bop around enjoying music, became one of their most popular classes and eventually grew into a franchise.
Since officially launching in 2017, Songs for Seeds now has locations in New Jersey, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Washington.
The program has been named “Best Kids Music Class” by “New York Magazine” and “Most Magical Music Class” by “Red Tricycle.”
Livingston’s Songs for Seeds offers a Tuesday class for newborns to 11 month olds as well as regular classes are for children ages 1 to 6.
Songs for Seeds offers a free trial class and also hosts parties and events.
For more information, contact Songs for Seeds at Livingston@songforseeds.com or 973-906-8188.