5 Ways Music Positively Impacts Children with Hearing Loss

5 Ways Music Positively Impacts Children with Hearing Loss

Music is vital in the development of all young children, including children with hearing loss.

How do I know? I live it every day.

I’m someone with total hearing loss in one ear.

I’m a music educator who works with hearing-impaired children (at the Central Institute for the Deaf in St. Louis, MO).

And I’m a mom of a child with severe hearing loss who, with the help of bilateral cochlear implants and years of music education, has now successfully transitioned to mainstream school.

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Educator Spotlight: Buffie Dumas


In this educator spotlight, we visit with veteran Kindermusik educator, Buffie Dumas. She has been teaching Kindermusik since 2000, the same year she first opened her Kindermusik studio business, Kindermusik with Miss Buffie, in Auborn Hills, Michigan.  Lovingly called Miss Buffie, Miss “Buppie”, and even “Miss Puppy” (her personal favorite!), Buffie is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of children and families – so much so that one of her Kindermusik colleagues nominated her to be spotlighted on our Minds on Music blog!  Buffie is a special person and when you read her interview, we think we’ll see why she has captured the hearts of minds of the children and families she touches every week in her Kindermusik classes. In fact, ask them and they’ll tell you that she is their real-life Mary Poppins!

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Educator Spotlight: Yeoh Sheau long

For this Educator Spotlight, we look to our friends in Malaysia. One of the pioneers to introduce early childhood music in Malaysia, Yeoh Sheau long and her sister, Yeoh Sheau in, first brought Kindermusik to Malaysia in 1994.  Kindermusik at SIM grew from two students in Yeoh Sheau in’s inaugural class to a program that today has 15 licensed educators teaching over 50 Kindermusik classes at 12 locations.  Our interview today is with Yeoh Sheau long, lovingly know as Mrs. Teoh to her Kindermusik classes and described by her families as warm and cheerful, “like Cinderella’s fairy godmother.”  It’s no wonder that Kindermusik International has recognized Kindermusik at SIM as a top program since 2003.  We’re not sure how Yeoh Sheau long has time for her hobbies of reading, watching movies, and traveling, but we do know that you’re going to love getting to know this dynamic educator who has a heart of gold.

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We Love Our Kindermusik Educators

Kindermusik programs worldwide are celebrating “We Love Kindermusik” month, and we thought it would be enormously appropriate to share just why we love our Kindermusik educators. Normally we have a regular monthly feature highlighting one of our very special educators. This month we want to highlight them ALL!

Our Kindermusik educators are truly the heart and soul of everything that Kindermusik is and everything that Kindermusik means to children and families all around the globe. Here are just a few of the many reasons why we adore and appreciate our Kindermusik educators so much.

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Educator Spotlight: Marie Kusters

Marie Kusters

Lovingly known as “Mrs. Marie” or “Madame Marie” to the children in her Kindermusik classes, Marie Kusters has been bringing Kindermusik into the hearts and homes of children and families in Ottawa, Ontario at Mieke Musike Music Studio for over 24 years now.  Marie is a dedicated educator and accomplished musician, with a heart not only for her own Kindermusik families, but also for her Kindermusik colleagues.  She has served as a Kindermusik Faculty Member, a Kindermusik Mentor, and is a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas as well as the Suzuki Association of Ontario.  She is passionate about sharing her love and knowledge of music in a way that her families describe as loving, nurturing, and encouraging.  Anyone who has been around Marie Kusters for very long at all will agree — to know Marie is to be inspired by her…. and “Mr. Marie” too (aka, Marie’s husband, Doug)!  

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Educator Spotlight: Dee Pierce

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you get to spend any time at all with Dee, you are immediately touched by her joyful energy and beautiful spirit, something which completely infuses her studio, Music with Ms. Dee, as well. A licensed Kindermusik educator and business owner since 2006, Dee’s Kindermusik program is flourishing, attracting south Florida families to multiple class options at her two studio locations in the Boca Raton, Florida area. Described by her families with words like “engaging,” “energetic,” “loving,” and “fun,” we are delighted to feature this dynamic educator known as Ms. Dee to all of her Kindermusik families and to highlight what it is that makes Music with Ms. Dee so special!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dee Pierce[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: What do you feel has made your studio business a success?  

DP:  I’ve been blessed with AMAZING families who have been so loyal and supportive throughout the years.  I am TRULY grateful!

TC: What’s your favorite part of teaching Kindermusik?

DP: I hear parents tell me repeatedly how their child’s love for music is because of their coming to my Kindermusik class.  This could not make me happier!

TC: This is always a fun question to ask a Kindermusik educator who’s been teaching as long as you have, but what’s your favorite Kindermusik song to sing?  

DP: There are too many to count!  At the moment, I’m loving “Walk Along Rover” but I also love “Butterfly Wings” which is one of my all-time Kindermusik favorites!

TC: And how about your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?  

DP: Today? “Kerry’s Ten Penny Wash.” But I will probably have a different answer tomorrow![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/243921752″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: If you had to name just one secret to success in the Kindermusik classroom, what would it be?  

DP:  Connection.  Connecting with the children while teaching is a must.

TC:  Connection – love that!  Is that part of what makes your studio such a special place?

DP:  Yes!  I really feel that our studio is a special place because it’s where families come to intentionally connect with their children. Learning is an added bonus.

TC: What are some of the goals you have for your business?

DP: I look forward to growing with more teachers and families, and adding seasonal playdates with Grandfriends at either an assisted living facility or convalescent home.

TC: Outside of the studio, what are some of your hobbies?

DP: I love the beach and anything music related.  Singing, dancing, going to see live shows, concerts, musicals… I love it all!

TC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

DP: I have several on rotation.  Here is one very special one to me: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11 NIV[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


Shared by Theresa Case, director of Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight: Emilie Gaschke

Educator spotlight

You can’t be around Emilie for long without sensing her deep love for children and her absolute belief in the power of Kindermusik, something that led her to begin her Kindermusik business and became a licensed Kindermusik educator in 2010.  Lovingly known as “Miss Emmy,” Emilie’s families describe her as patient, kind, fun, and energetic.  Her enthusiasm for teaching music is absolutely infectious, as evidenced by how Emilie’s Kindermusik program has grown and thrived since she first opened Kindermusik with Emilie.  Emilie not only inspires a love of music in the children and families in her program, but she also supports and inspires her Kindermusik colleagues as a member of the SOUND Board, an advisory committee and professional organization for Kindermusik educators.

TC: What makes your studio, Kindermusik with Emilie, so special?
EG: Our studio is bright, cheery, full of laughter and joy, with teachers who genuinely enjoy what they do and love the families in their classes. Love and joy comes through in everything we do at our studio and our families see it and see that our studio is a special place.

TC: Every Kindermusik educator seems to have at least one favorite Kindermusik song to sing. What’s your favorite?
EG: I would have to say “Love Somebody.” I like to sing it slowly when I’m introducing this song to the families in my class so they can really take time to connect with their little one and it’s usually how I sing it to my own little ones. But it’s also fun to put on the fast, recorded version and dance along as well.

TC: And how about your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?
EG: This is a hard one as I have many favorites! But my top ones would be “Mama Paquita” and “Shoo Fly.“

TC: What’s your favorite part of teaching Kindermusik?
EG: Seeing the growth and transformation in children from week to week. Oftentimes a child will come in very shy, hesitant, and unsure and within just a couple of weeks (sometimes sooner even!) they are running into the classroom eager and excited to be there. Also, seeing the joy on parent’s faces as they see the change and growth in their child. There’s nothing better.

TC: If you had to name just one secret to success in the Kindermusik classroom, what would it be?
EG: I know it sounds cliché’ but for me, success in the classroom comes from me being in the moment. I try not to think too much about what’s coming next in the lesson plan and just completely enjoying what’s happening in that moment and noticing the “little things” that are going on. Being in the moment allows me to truly focus on my families and being well prepared allows me to be in the moment and not stress about what’s coming next.

TC: What’s one of the most touching things that’s ever happened to you as a Kindermusik teacher?
EG: I could share many individual stories here as well, but what has been the most touching that I’ve been able to witness is watching the kindness of our families. Each year in February we collect hundreds of new pairs of socks for a women and children’s shelter in our city and in the spring we do a food drive and collect non-perishable food items for a homeless shelter. I’ve also had families donate money to help pay for Kindermusik classes for families who otherwise couldn’t afford it. Our families are some of the most kind and generous people I’ve ever met.

TC: You’ve mentioned having a special Kindermusik family that really impacted you as a teacher. Can you share a little more about them?
EG: I have many Kindermusik families who are special to me and have become like family, but one family that will always have a special place in my heart is a family who was one of my first families ever enrolled in my program 7 years ago. They enrolled in a Village class when the little boy was 15 months old and last May he was in my first ever Young Child graduating class. He’s the first child to go all the way through my program and graduate and he and his family are some of my biggest fans. And now his younger brother is enrolled in my YC class this fall!

TC: What do you feel has made your studio business a success?
EG: I would say being willing to try different things to find what works best for our studio and thinking big. If you name it, we’ve probably done it and if it worked we’re still doing it but if it didn’t we’ve moved on quickly. Nowhere does it say that you have to keep doing the same old, same old. If it works, fantastic! If it doesn’t, it’s time to move on and find what does.

Educator SpotlightTC: What are some of the goals you have for your studio business?
EG: My goals for my business would be to continue to grow to reach more and more families in our community with the specialness that is Kindermusik. I also want our studio to become a place that our community sees as the “go-to” place for early childhood learning. We’re getting there!

TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your business?
EG: After renting classroom space for the past 7 years, an amazing opportunity presented itself and on July 24th we purchased a beautiful, 5,000 square foot building for our Kindermusik Studio! We now have 2 Kindermusik classrooms, a coat and shoe room, a waiting room, an office, a playroom, smaller rooms for private voice and instrument lessons, a full basement for storage as well as a kitchen! Our Grand Opening at our new studio was September 11th and we are LOVING our new space! I am so grateful for God’s provision in giving us this amazing building. This will allow us to offer so much more for our Kindermusik families and community, from private music lessons to Kindermusik birthday parties to much more in the future. The possibilities are endless!

TC: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be?
EG: Know your value and don’t apologize for it. When I was first starting out I would practically apologize for what I was charging for classes. I was nervous people couldn’t/wouldn’t pay what I needed and I was nervous to talk about tuition costs. That changed one day when a parent overheard me talking with another parent who was trying out the class. She sent me an email later that day listing child-related activities in our area and what they were charging. She pointed out that we were right on track for and told me to be confident in talking to parents about costs because our classes were worth it. That was life-changing for me.

TC:  I think I already know the answer to this one, but what are some of your hobbies?
EG:  I used to have lots of hobbies but to be honest, the last year especially has been focused on my family and my business. After 12 years of marriage, God blessed my husband and I with our daughter who we adopted in January of this year. She just turned 1 in August and she is the sweetest little blessing you will ever meet. Then on August 1st, we welcomed into our home a little baby boy who we are fostering. Life with a 1-year-old and 2-month old is both exhausting and rewarding all at the same time, and while running a business and being a Mama to two little ones definitely has its challenges, I wouldn’t trade my life for anything.

Shared by Theresa Case who has loved bringing children and families together for over 20 years now in her award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful upstate South Carolina.

Interested in learning more about Kindermusik University, starting a new Kindermusik business, or adding Kindermusik to your existing business? Just fill out the quick form below. We look forward to seeing you in our next training class!

Educator Spotlight: Tricia Murrish

Tricia Murrish

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]This is a big celebration year for Tricia – her 10th year of being a Kindermusik educator.  Music has always been a big part of her life, but she found her heart’s calling when she took over an existing studio in 2007. Now known as Kindermusik with Tricia, Tricia’s program serves families in Kearney, Nebraska, where her studio is housed at Yandas Music. To know Tricia is to love her, with her gentle spirit, generous heart, and love for children and music.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/232055011″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC:  Your studio has such a fascinating history.  Tell us a little about how Kindermusik with Tricia came to be.   

TM: Kindermusik in Kearney began in 1998 with Educator Rick Mitchell who is currently our Kearney High School Band Director.  In 2002, it passed to then Yandas Music Employee and now local Pastor, Brian Jenkins.  I took over the Kindermusik Studio in 2007 as Educator and Business Owner.

TC: What made you decide to become a Kindermusik studio business owner?

TM: Music has always been important in my life. At 5 years old, I remember begging my parents for piano lessons as I sat at my Grandmother’s old upright piano, swinging my feet and “pretending” to play a song. I was able to start private lessons in 2nd grade and began playing regularly in church when I was 16. Band, jazz band and marching band were important throughout Jr. High and High School (I even met my husband at marching band camp!). I graduated from college with a degree in Elementary Education and have served alongside my husband for the last 30 years in full-time youth and children’s ministry first Pastoring, and now serving with Royal Family KIDS, a non-profit camp, club, and mentoring program for children in the foster care system. During that time, music played a vital role in every position I served in – with preschoolers up through adults. When I was presented with the opportunity of taking over the existing Kindermusik studio in Kearney – with my passion for parenting, love of teaching, and involvement in music – it was a perfect fit![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: You not only give to your own local community, but you’ve also served in other organizations. Share with us a little about some of the ways you have given back.

TM: I just finished my three-year term as a member of the Kindermusik SOUND board. It has been an honor to serve the Kindermusik community that way, and I know I grew professionally and personally with the friendships and relationships formed during that time.  I also lead the National Music Board for Royal Family KIDS.

TC: What’s your favorite Kindermusik song to sing?

TM: My husband says I have a song for everything. My 4 children (Jarrad, Natalie, Noah, and Ethan –  now 25, 22, 20, and 14) would often roll their eyes over the years when I started spontaneously singing a related song during an activity of our day. My husband has even been known to play a game to call out a word and then wait for a corresponding song!  We have a lot of fun and laughter in our home together. So, back to my favorite Kindermusik song…. it’s Sing Your Way Home from the Sing & Play Zoom! Album.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Educator Spotlight[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: And this is a fun question to ask too. What’s your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?

TM: I love Turn, Cinnamon, Turn and Mama Paquita.


TC: So I have to ask.  What do you love most about being a Kindermusik educator?

TM: There are so many things I love about being a Kindermusik Educator – I love the music, and of course, the children, but I think what I really love most is the natural encouragement and affirmation of parenting that happens in a Kindermusik setting. Parents often share with me how much their child loves me and looks forward to seeing me at Kindermusik. I always try to take that moment to turn it back to the parent, encouraging them with the truth that what their child deeply looks forward to are the moments of love and laughter that happen with THEM at Kindermusik. I am simply the one who gets the credit for those moments of joy because I create the atmosphere and facilitate the magical moments they spend together as parent and child. I am able to give parents “tools” for their parenting “tool belts” that they can use throughout their relationship journey. That’s what I love about my job.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: If you had to name just one secret to success in the Kindermusik classroom, what would it be?

TM: Early in my Kindermusik years I was challenged to change the way I saw “problems” in my classes. If something doesn’t go the way I think it should with a child’s behavior or response, the first place I need to look at what to change is me. That has shifted so much in my preparation, attitude, and outcome of my classes.

TC: What makes your studio such a special place?

TM: Kindness and respect for every person “where they are” is practiced. There is a treasured gift that hangs in my studio – a sign that says, “Do the kindest thing, in the kindest way.” A mom shared that her son picked it out to give me when he graduated from Young Child to describe his feelings about his Kindermusik experience.

TC: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be?

TM: I believe a large part of my studio success is that I am a “by the book” person. My tip for a new educator? Follow the recipe. On the business side, KI provides us with great training and tools to help us succeed. On the educator side, our curriculum and teacher guides are based on the most current research and best practices. We can add our own distinct flavor and garnish – but it is a successful recipe … so follow it![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Educator Spotlight[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your studio business?

TM: I am excited about expanding my studio reach in two new ways this year. I will be adding Simply Music piano classes for Kindermusik graduates this fall.  Also, I will be partnering with Country House for Memory Care here in Kearney. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and now resides at Country House. I have been longing for a way to combine my deep respect and love for my mother and others with Alzheimer’s with my passion for music and families. I am so excited to begin Kindermusik with Grandfriends! I will be offering a Kindermusik class 4 to 5 times this school year at Country House. My current families will have the opportunity to share the Kindermusik joy with elders with Alzheimer’s and dementia as we sing, explore, learn and grow together on a whole new level.

TC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

TM: I have always been captured by the picture of a strong life-giving tree.  My life verse from the Bible is Jeremiah 17:7-8, “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord… they are like trees planted along a riverbank with roots that reach deep into the water.  …They never stop producing fruit.”[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, has been a happy advocate for the benefits of music for over 20 years now.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight: Louise MacDonald

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Lovingly known as Miss Louise by all and adorably called “Miss Moo-eeze” by some, Louise MacDonald has been bringing Kindermusik into the hearts and lives of children and families in Novia Scotia since 2003 when she became a licensed educator.  She started her own Kindermusik business in the basement of her home 2005, but quickly outgrew the space.  The name Joyful Sounds Music Studio was born in 2011, and her permanent studio location was developed in 2013. We join with Louise in celebrating a large expansion that she is opening in September of 2017![/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/226475036″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: Why did you first open your studio business?

LM: I have always been passionate about sharing my love of music with others. I know the positive impact music teachers had on my life as a child and youth, and I knew there was a need in the community and the timing felt right. I left my permanent teaching position as a public school music teacher and took a leap of faith, and I have never looked back.

TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your business, or a goal you have set for your business?

LM: Our studio is going through a massive growth year. We have just taken on 2000 extra square feet in our current commercial location. We will be offering more classes and lessons than ever before, and growing our incredible team. Everything is slated to be up and running in September, so we’ve got a very busy summer ahead of us!

TC: You are active not only in your own local community, but also in the Kindermusik educator community as well.  Tell us a little about your involvement in both.

LM: I am currently sitting on the PKE Board (new name to be announced at conference!), I Lead the Children’s Liturgy program at my church, I volunteer at school when I can.

TC: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be?

LM: Be Yourself! Know from the beginning WHY you are teaching Kindermusik, and then share that passion. Make every class a memorable one. Prep, prep, prep – it makes you the BEST educator!

TC: Without a doubt, you have taken your own advice to heart![/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Educator Spotlight[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: This is always such a fun question to ask since we Kindermusik educators have 1000 (or more!) songs in our heads.  What’s your favorite Kindermusik song to sing?

LM: My all-time favorite is Butterfly Wings. Right now at home, it’s the Hello-Lah song since my two-year old is obsessed with it.

TC: So now I have to know this, too.  What is your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?!

LM: Definitely Sail Away and Mama Paquita!

TC: What do you love most about being a Kindermusik educator?

LM: That my cheeks get sore from smiling when I am teaching.  There is so much joy in every single class. I am so blessed to do what I do.

TC: If you had to name just one secret to your success in the Kindermusik classroom, what would it be?

LM: I find that when I am the best prepared for teaching the class, when my lesson plan is ready and my props are organized, then the magic can happen because I can be truly present with the children and the families. We can enjoy the time together playing, dancing and singing.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: I learn so much when I ask this question, so I hope you don’t mind.  How do your Kindermusik or families describe you?

LM: Joyful, Special, Engaging, Personal, Caring, Amazing, Friendly, Loving.

TC: I couldn’t agree more!

TC: Describe some of the ways your experiences with your Kindermusik families have impacted you as an individual and a teacher.

LM: There have been many amazing families over the years that have impacted me as a teacher. I have received the most amazing cards and letters reminding me that what we are doing is making a difference in these families. I have seen families go through hard times, beautiful times, and I am blessed to be able to provide a place for them to have a musical outlet and community feeling.

TC: What do you feel has made your studio business such a success?

LM: I think my amazing team of educators and staff, and our dedication to putting the families first has made us a success. We are committed to valuing each student, to nurturing them as musicians and people, and igniting the passion of music in their bodies. We hear time and again that we are personal, caring and providing high quality music education to our community.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Educator Spotlight[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]TC: When you’re not at the studio, what are some of your hobbies?

LM: I love to go camping with my family and spend time at the beach. Our summer is short and we try to make the most of it. In the winter, I love playing ice hockey on a local women’s team (yes, typical Canadian!). Right now with three small children, that’s about all the time I get for hobbies, and that’s perfectly okay. My husband V.J. and I are enjoying watching our children Cormac 8, Breton 5 and Flora 2 grow into sweet people. It is a beautiful life.

TC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

LM: I’m not sure it’s very inspirational, but it certainly has kept me grounded for many years now.  “Worries are like bedcrumbs – the more you wiggle, the more they scratch.”

TC: What’s something about being in the Kindermusik classroom that’s especially touching for you as a Kindermusik teacher?

LM: The most touching for me is every time a baby takes their first steps at Kindermusik class. I absolutely LOVE watching the parent experience that moment for the first time, and the celebration from the class that then happens. It never gets old. Being a part of the milestones that occur each week – from a child rolling over to a child learning how to play a tune on the glockenspiel. The learning that goes on fills my soul.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Shared by Theresa Case who has an award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in Greenville, South Carolina.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]