Tiny Boppers

WeBop Lets Toddlers Stomp, Strut and Swing.

Tiny Boppers

When the Dr. Phillips Center Florida Hospital School of the Arts says it offers programs for all ages, that’s not hyperbole. Once again for spring the school will offer “WeBop,” a program developed by Jazz at Lincoln Center especially for toddlers.

WeBop invites families to stomp, strut and swing to the rhythms of jazz. The 45-minute sessions are structured for participation in groups of two — a child and an adult.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which one is having the most fun.

WeBop, which is taught at arts centers and early-childhood education facilities across the U.S., offers a creative outlet for children to explore jazz through movement, songs, storytelling and play. They learn about musical instruments and great performers.

It’s not a drop-off program; children must be accompanied by a participating adult. WeBop is led by jazz vocalist Michelle Mailhot, who trained for the program at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Mailhot, perhaps best known locally as a member of Vox Audio, was a featured soloist at the arts center’s Vocal Jazz Summit with the Dr. Phillips Center Jazz Orchestra this past September.

The arts center’s multifaceted jazz education initiative also includes “6th and Jazz” (for sixth-graders in Orange and Osceola counties) and “Essentially Ellington” (for high school jazz musicians).

-Randy Noles, excerpted for artslife