Like many successful artists, Marc Trachtenberg’s career trajectory has been nontraditional. A keyboardist from Pawtucket, Rhode Island who studied music education at NYU, Trachtenberg started Rock-a-Baby, classes he refers to simply as “rock music for babies,” in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in 2007.
“I’m from Pawtucket but I had my heart set on New York for awhile,” Trachtenberg told Cool Things. “I was teaching piano and noticing this big explosion of kids’ music. A lot of it was fine but a lot of it was cutsie and got under my skin.”
It took him about a year to design a curriculum, puppets and props for the inaugural Rock-a-Baby program and, despite the Great Recession, it’s been growing ever since. Now back in Rhode Island, with what seems to be a growing number of NYC expats, Trachtenberg has expanded Rock-a-Baby to include the Ocean State while continuing to operate in the Big Apple.
“It’s kind of crazy,” said Trachtenberg. “I don’t know what we did but we’ve seen this recent explosion. Maybe it’s spring and people are ready to come out of their shells but there’s been a real increase in interest.” Rock-a-Baby has become so popular, there’s even a waitlist.
Trachtenberg has been hearing similar success stories from friends and family, signaling perhaps new faith in an improving economy. February 2012 was the third straight month of solid job growth in the United States and programs like Rock-a-Baby are looking more and more attractive to new parents, especially considering the seemingly perpetual decline of arts programs in schools.
“Early exposure to music is just great, no matter what kind of music it is,” Trachtenberg said, citing punk rock, heavy metal and other genres not generally associated with children. “As long as it’s played at a reasonable volume, kids can and should listen to everything.”
He added, “I’d say there’s probably music playing in every room of my house 80 percent of the time. Our kids are 1 and 3 and they listen to what we listen to.”
At Rock-a-Baby, instead of Sesame Street (not that there’s anything wrong with that!) kids and their parents are treated to the Beatles, the Stones and the Beach Boys, tunes even the hippest of the hipsters can get behind in a pinch.
“Grownups have lived these long lives and heard all these different styles of music but their kids haven’t,” Trachtenberg said. “When your kid can dig what you dig, it’s a natural extension of the connection parents already have with their children.”
For information, please visit: www.rock-a-baby.net. Tell them Cool Things sent you. You’ll still probably be put on a waitlist but just tell them anyway. If enough people are interested, Trachtenberg may add new sections!
Looking back over this post, we probably should’ve shoehorned a reference to “Teach Your Children,” a rather appropriate selection from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s record Déjà Vu—perhaps you’ve heard of it. Then we could’ve closed with another Graham Nash gem, “Our House,” from the very same record to tie it into the whole Rhode Island real estate thing. Next time.
Whether you’re looking at very, very, very fine houses or apartments and lofts in Providence, with or without two cats in the yard, you should check out The Rhode Guide: www.therhodeguide.com. We’re the very, very best place to look for cool real estate in Rhode Island and Cool Things to do.