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Sing and Play

Backup band for the pre-K set.


Smith Street in Cobble Hill may be the most babycentric spot in New York, and its Pied Piper is Nanette De Cillis. Her 45-minute ArtsCetera classes take parents and children through boppy original songs using simple props: handkerchiefs, balls, bells, blocks. After several years in the neighborhood as the local franchisee of Music Together, the big national network of music classes, De Cillis struck out on her own with ArtsCetera, and the company’s low-key, no-tech quality has made her a huge hit with the Brooklyn brownstone set. Kids have been known to mob the musician-teachers like tiny, enthusiastic moshers, and nobody, parent or kid, is shy about singing out loud. (“It’s a little bit ‘Kumbaya,’ but in a good way,” says one mom who loves the experience.) Moreover, the social aspect for kids and moms alike is a key part of the experience: Moms chat and exchange child-rearing notes, kids meet potential playdates, and everyone gets out of the house. Newcomers leave with a free CD of the parent-friendly music, so they can continue the fun at home. “I seem to be filling a gap,” De Cillis says. “Here in Brooklyn, there are parents who are now up to their fourth ArtsCetera child.”

ArtsCetera, 212 Smith St., nr. Baltic St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn (718-643-6817 or; $215 for ten sessions.


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