Mississippi Monday | Music for Aardvarks

Happy Monday, friends! We are so excited to share with you our Q & A with Katie Hathcock, head musician at Music For Aardvarks! Katie is a music teacher who combines song, dance and rhythm for a foot stompin', rockin' good time. Read on below to learn more about this fun, talented lady, and be sure to follow her on social media for upcoming classes and events!

What is Music for Aardvarks?

Music for Aardvarks is a music class for babies and toddlers and their caregivers. But it's not your typical music class. You won't find me singing Twinkle, Twinkle Star, or Mary Had a Little Lamb. Not that there's anything wrong with that! I love the classics! But Music for Aardvarks is based on all original music and is really diverse in its musical styles and activities. We sing, dance, shake, drum, twirl, and play in every class. Music for Aardvarks began in Brooklyn, NY, when dad and musician David Weinstone wanted a fun music class for his kids. The songs he writes often include details about city life. There's the taxi song, a song about riding on the subway, a song about living in a walk-up, etc. I want my own children to have a broad world view and this is just one way to introduce them to some things they may not see everyday. We took my daughter, Stella, to NYC to visit friends when she was around 2 years old, and I will never forget when she made the connection between the yellow car we were riding in and the taxi song. It was super fun.
How did you get started and what was the inspiration to take the small business leap? I first heard about Music for Aardvarks when we lived in Memphis, TN and my daughter was about 8 months old. A friend from work said, "You have to take your baby to Music for Aardvarks classes. It's so fun!" And that was pretty much all she wrote. Every Saturday for the next 6 years, we rocked out with Mr. Joe at his studio in Memphis.
When we moved to Jackson, I knew I wanted to try something new in my work life. (I had been in Marketing and PR for almost 15 years and it seemed like a good time for a change.) And I noticed there wasn't anything like Aardvarks in Jackson. So I called up Mr. Joe in Memphis and said, "I think I might want to bring this to my new home town."
How does Mississippi play a role in your business? Well, music is kind of a big deal in Mississippi. The birthplace of the blues, etc. And if I can help the next generation of Mississippians learn to love music, well then, how lucky am I? What are your goals for your business/brand? To light up babies' faces. Is that too schmoopy? Sorry, but it's true. There is nothing more fun to me than seeing a baby start rocking side to side when they see me pick up my guitar or to see a little kid pick up a drum stick or a shaker and know what to do with it. It's also such a fun way to bond with your kids. It becomes this shared thing, singing the songs, doing the movements; in fact, the way we clean up and transition to the next activity is to sing the "bye bye song" and parents love this song because it even works at home!
What is your background? I grew up in a small town in Florida. My dad is a musician, and he and my Mom opened a music store when I was a baby. My dad taught lessons in the back and my Mom sold instruments and accessories in the front, while I played in my play pen nearby. I took violin lessons first. Then I picked up the guitar, bass, and a little bit of piano. Of course by the time I was old enough to go to college, I thought the last thing I wanted to do was keep playing music, so I decided to get a communications degree and go to work in a non-profit.But I never could seem to get very far away from music. I worked for the Alabama Symphony doing fundraising and events. I was interested in Irish and folk music so I started taking violin lessons again. And then when my daughter was a baby, we started going to the Aardvarks classes. Life is just one big circle, folks!
Where do you find inspiration? Well--again, getting kind of schmoopy--I've found a community in these classes. Parenthood can be kind of isolating, paradoxically. Especially at first. And in class, you meet other families you might not run into otherwise. At the end of a semester, I'll hear parents ask each other, Are you doing Thursday mornings again? They want to hang out!
What do you like to do when you aren't "at the office"? I'm married to Barrett Hathcock, a writer/musician/insurance professional. Together, we have a daughter, Stella, who's now 8, and a 5 year old son, Carter. When I'm not teaching classes, I'm usually hanging out with them. I love to read (both grown-up books and kid books), take yoga classes, and hang out with friends. What are your favorite local places to shop and dine? My whole family loves Lemuria--especially the children's section known as Oz. I love hearing live music at Duling Hall and Hal and Mal's. We often get treats at La Brioche and Campbell's in Fondren. When my husband and I get a rare date night, we love a leisurely dinner at places like Lou's Full-Serv or Surin of Thailand. And of course, when I need a fun gift or card, I head to Thimblepress' new pop-up shop in Highland Village. What are some of the reasons you call Mississippi home? My husband grew up here. His parents live in Jackson and as our children got bigger, we wanted to be closer to family. I didn't know it when we first arrived here, but it's also a great place to start a business.
How do you think what you are doing is helping to shape your local community as well as the image of Mississippi? My hope is that I'm fostering a love of music in our youngest citizens and creating a light-hearted, inclusive community for parents to enjoy their kids and bond/commiserate with other parents.
Are there any upcoming events, promotions, etc. that you'd like readers to know about?
Well, right now is a great time to sign up! My Winter semester begins January 10th and runs for 8 weeks. But I teach classes year round at several locations and I'm happy to have people sign up any time. I offer a free trail class to anyone who wants to check it out and see if it's a good fit for their family.
Thanks so much for reading our blog! Have a maker, artist, creative person that you think would be a good fit to interview? Leave a comment and let's chat!
Team Thimblepress

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