Minneapolis Memories: Kindermusik Educators Take Over The City of Lakes

Close to 200 Kindermusik Educators from across the globe gathered together at the mind-blowing Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota July 27-29 for three, fun-filled days of learning, connection, friendship, and, of course, shopping!

Wednesday evening Maestros were treated to a memorable reception at The Hard Rock Café joined by President and CEO, Scott Kinsey.

State Representative Drew Christensen - former Kindermusik kid!
State Representative Drew Christensen – former Kindermusik kid!

Thursday morning special guest, former Kindermusik kid, and the youngest candidate to ever be elected to Minnesota’s House of Representatives, Drew Christensen, opened the conference sharing how his Kindermusik experience attributed to his successful political career.

We were then introduced to Occupational Therapist, Paige Hays, who skillfully led us through The Brain Architecture Game, developed through a partnership of the Center on the Developing Child and the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Look for an interview with Paige later this month!

Paige Hays

A conference highlight was meeting Stephanie Johnson, educator, therapist, and author of Baby Bare: A Bottom Up Approach to Growing Strong Brains and Bodies. Her informative presentation explored the body’s role in early learning. Educators took away valuable insights to share with families.

Other conference highlights include: hearing from special guest and marketing guru, Kari Switala on the importance of storytelling in marketing, class demonstrations led by Robyn Pearce and Helen Peterson, and watching Kindermusik legend, Carol Penney, and Maestro Louise MacDonald’s powerful presentation on Intergenerational Learning.

Conference is about connection!
Conference is about connection!

Outside the conference, Minneapolis offered a relaxing retreat to Minnehaha Falls with breathtaking waterfalls.

We can’t wait until next year’s conference in the Big Easy – New Orleans! Hope to see many of you once again – and perhaps some new faces as well!

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]

Educator Conference Recap

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Stay tuned for a conference recap by our own Niki Dominguez, Director of Global Marketing![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight: Nancy Aasland

Nancy Aasland

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Once you get to know Nancy a bit and see her beautiful heart for music, children, and families, it’s no surprise to learn that Kindermusik Discovery is the top Kindermusik program in all of Canada.  Nancy’s thoughtful and careful commitment to making a difference in the lives, minds, and hearts of children and families began in 1998 when Nancy herself first fell in love with Kindermusik.  Serving families in multiple locations in the Winnepeg, Kindermusik Discovery has become “the” place for a delightful and top-notch Kindermusik experience for local families.


Nancy Aasland makes musical memories with her families at Winnepeg's Kindermusik Discovery.
Nancy Aasland makes musical memories with her families at Winnepeg’s Kindermusik Discovery.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: What led you to first open Kindermusik Discovery back in 1998?

NA: I had been working in child care for several years, and though I loved that, I was looking for a way to bring my love for children and my love for music together. Especially since I had a new baby of my own. I researched numerous different music programs before choosing Kindermusik. The choice was easy, really, because of Kindermusik’s philosophy of allowing each child’s natural learning style to unfold, rather than driving very young children toward performance goals.  This allows us to nurture creativity and joy, and who could ask for a better experience than that?!!

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

NA: I LOVE to sing, and my personal favourites are the slow and pretty ones.  You Are My Sunshine, Tell Me Why the Stars Do Shine, Sweetest Little Baby… There’s probably one in every unit!!

TC: What’s your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?

NA: I get a real “kick” out of Tants Tants Yidelekh from the Village Dream Pillow unit.

TC: Any teacher or parent who’s danced that dance knows exactly what you mean!!


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

NA: I think it would have to be hearing the children sing, whether it’s a 6-year-old making up their own verse to An Austrian Went Yodeling, or a 2-year-old joining in on Fiddle Dee Dee.  And then there are those moments when a tiny baby is clearly adding her own voice to our song![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/222252359″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: How do your Kindermusik kids (or families) describe you?

NA: I’ve been called “Mary Poppins” more than once!


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

A deep respect for each child and adult as a unique individual; to encourage and celebrate each one’s own natural learning style.  

TC: You’ve recently been named the top Kindermusik program in Canada.  Congratulations!  How are you feeling about that?

NA: I am delighted that my team and I have been honoured as the #1 Kindermusik program in Canada.  Our hearts are bursting that we continue to be loved and trusted by so many families in our community, and we will continue to do our best to bring them an awesome musical experience.

TC: What is one thing that has impacted you as a Kindermusik educator?

NA: The thing that has impacted my journey as an educator the most has been my own experiences of parenthood.  The insatiable curiosity I felt about what was going on in my child’s miraculous little brain.  The deep desire to share with her moments of incredible beauty through the arts.  And my hope that creativity would be the best trait I could nurture in her from the start, that would be valuable to her personally and professionally, no matter where life might take her.  The things I desperately want for my own child are the things I want for every child who comes through our doors.

TC: What is so meaningful to you about using Kindermusik to bring music into young minds and hearts?

NA: Music is one of the first things we respond to as infants, and one of the last things we cling to in our later years. There is no other human pastime with such lasting impact.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

For the Love of Musik: Starting a Kindermusik Studio


I became a member of the Kindermusik family over 20 years ago now, thanks to a dear college professor who encouraged me to pursue my love of music and young children by becoming a licensed Kindermusik educator. Little did either of us know that the first step of enrolling in Kindermusik training would lead to so many years of doing something I love with all of my heart – teaching and owning a Kindermusik studio!

So what does it take to start a studio? Well, you can get all of the practical logistics from the Kindermusik International site, and I highly suggest starting there. You’ll find lots of great information that will not only answer your questions, but will also help guide and confirm your decision.

But if you want to know what it REALLY takes to start a Kindermusik studio and join the incredible community of Kindermusik educators and programs all around the world… read on!

It takes a heart that never stops expanding…

The best Kindermusik teachers have the capacity for boundless love for children AND their adults. With love comes connection, and with connection comes families who adore you and stay with your program.

It takes a commitment to always be learning…

I’m talking about more than just learning the lesson activities – it’s about learning and growing as a professional. If you are always growing, your teaching will always be fresh.

It takes persistence and dedication…

Starting a business isn’t easy, but it has huge rewards. Those rewards come in all shapes and forms, and they are definitely worth working for.

It takes a willingness to continually strive for excellence…

It’s about both doing your best and also giving the best. The Kindermusik curriculum is the best on the planet, and as Kindermusik educators, it’s our job to deliver an incredible experience.

It takes connecting with other Kindermusik educators…

One of the absolute BEST benefits of being a Kindermusik educator has been meeting and getting to know – and love – other Kindermusik educators around the world. Some of my most cherished friendships are with Kindermusik educators!

It takes creativity, planned and spontaneous…

A Kindermusik lesson plan absolutely comes alive in the hands of a creative educator. Much of that creativity is carefully planned in advance, and the rest happens in the moment.

Theresa Case
Theresa Case, uses her Masters of Music Education to teach students of all ages to appreciate music in Kindermusik.

Hear what inspired Mary Pratt to become a licensed Kindermusik Educator:

It takes an understanding of child development…

You’ll learn so much by studying the Benefit Statements in the curriculum and by observing the children in your classes. But doing some extra reading and study will really enhance your ability to relate to the children and affirm the parents.

It takes an absolute love of music…

Singing, dancing, making music, and leading and inspiring others to do the same – you have to love it with all your heart so they will too.

It takes an unshakeable belief in the power of music…

This is what will motivate you, what will keep you going – knowing that music has the power to make such a difference in the lives of children and their families. When you see it firsthand, over and over, you’ll want to teach Kindermusik until you are no longer able to sing and move. Starting a Kindermusik studio is worth everything you will invest in it…and then some.

Join a World-Class Music Education Community!

The heart and soul of Kindermusik is our highly passionate community of educators and business owners around the world. They’re musical, business-minded, enthusiastic, and extremely committed. Does this sound like you? If so, become part of the world’s most carefully researched, developmentally-appropriate early childhood music program! I promise…teaching Kindermusik will make as much of a difference in YOUR life as it does in the lives of the children and families you will be privileged to love and teach.


Shared by Theresa Case who’s kept at it for the love of “musik” for over 20 years now… and hopes to be at for at least 20+ years more! Theresa’s award-winning Kindermusik program is part of the program at Piano Central Studios in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina.

Want to learn more? Follow us this way!

Educator Spotlight: Jessica Hanson

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Jessica Hanson opened Take Note Studio in 2006, the same year that she became a licensed Kindermusik educator.  Since 2006, Jessica’s studio has grown to include offering Kindermusik, music theatre, and private music instruction.  A busy mom of five, Jessica’s heart for children, families, and the difference that music can make in their lives shines through in everything she does.

[/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?

JH: Building relationships with students’ families and creating systems to provide great communication.

TC: What makes your studio such a special place?

JH: I was taking a video of my Young Child 3 class acting out “Little Feather” the other day, and was standing by the door.  I didn’t notice until I watched the video later all the background noise of all the parents talking and laughing in our waiting room.  It was so affirming to hear relationships being formed not only with the kids but with the parents.  We are definitely a place where friendships and connections happen, and we highly value the support and kindness we give each other.

TC: What do your Kindermusik kids call you?

JH: Ms. Jessica[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/194815177″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: How do your Kindermusik kids (or families) describe you?

JH: I think families would describe me as a confident and calming presence in the classroom.  One mom said the other night, “You are so patient yet prepared and equipped!”  That is what I want for all my parents – to be enabled to handle any situation in a loving and effective way.

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

JH:  So hard to choose!  I love fostering parent/child connections and providing an environment for parents to be completely present in our fast paced, busy world.  It’s so satisfying to empower parents with tools to be the best parents they can be – teaching them to love their children authentically and feel successful in this challenging and so important job of parenting.

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

JH: I especially love the ones I can change the words to for use in any context.  I use “Rise, Sugar, Rise” a lot, especially when we’re working on patience… “waiting here together two by two”.  But we change the verb up a lot!  I also love the silliness of “Hey, Lolly”.  I ALWAYS have a Kindermusik song running through my head, day and night! 

TC: What’s your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?

JH: Hands down, Tants Tants.  We call it the “Tuba song”.  Both parents and kids love it and it is so fun to see 2 year olds doing deep knee bends and saying “Tuba” in their low voices during the Tuba section!

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

JH: Becoming a better observer and learning how to be more “present” myself.  Learning how to relax and gauge the dynamic of the classroom at the moment.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

Jessica Hanson
Ms. Jessica gets her kids moving!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][blockquote cite=”Cheryl Lavender”]“The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music makes beautiful children.”[/blockquote][vc_column_text]TC: Describe a teaching experience that has impacted you as a teacher.

JH: It’s too hard for me to pick just one.  I am weekly impacted by the power of music and its effect on the whole child.  First words, first steps, first songs, and new skills happen in the classroom a lot.  But I am even more impacted by the stories of parents who come in and report how music has helped their daily life and family connectedness throughout the week.

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

JH: The Kindermusik curricula is AMAZING – utilize and learn every bit of it and then as time goes on learn how to adapt, lengthen, and customize each lesson plan as you learn each child and family.

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

JH: I am increasingly learning about what energizes me most. The top three are training excellent teachers; providing parenting workshops to support and empower parents; and mobilizing our outreach initiatives both locally and globally.

TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your business?

JH: We are very excited about our growing teaching staff!  We are training two more Kindermusik teachers now to add to our team of four already.  We are also looking forward to offering classes at a nursing home this winter, and are preparing for our annual fundraiser for scholarships and outreach.

TC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

JH: From Cheryl Lavender, “The fact that children can make beautiful music is less significant than the fact that music makes beautiful children.”[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Take Note Studio in Wisconsin has studio locations in Manitowoc, Kohler, and Sheboygan Falls. Regular Blogger and Kindermusik Educator Theresa Case brings us our monthly Educator Spotlight feature. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight: Cathy Huser, Owner and Director of Kindermusik of Cleveland

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] For Cathy, the magic of teaching Kindermusik is about bringing music into the hearts of children and helping educate parents about the incredible, rich, developmental and musical benefits of music. Her Kindermusik kids lovingly call her Miss Cathy or Aunt Cathy, and one time she was “Miss Poffy.”

With over 20 years experience and an award-winning Maestro program, Cathy has helped make a difference in the lives of thousands of Cleveland-area families, and she has even bigger plans to expand her reach by establishing an Arts Center this coming year.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: How long have you been teaching Kindermusik and operating Kindermusik of Cleveland?

CH: Since 1996. Heading into my 21st year!

TC: What are some of your hobbies?

CH: I love to read, but lament that I don’t read enough. My husband and I like to garden – I point and he plants. It’s a good combination.  My dream is to take photography classes and French lessons. Some day…

TC: What is your favorite inspirational quote?

CH: I read so many that come through on Social Media and they touch me depending on my day. Too many to pick just one. Of course after reading the Art of Possibility, being able to say “How Fascinating” in response to a problem has really helped me get through some negative energy days. Not sure that’s truly an inspirational quote but it’s been a big help!

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

CH: With each new unit, I have a new favorite. Of course I love singing the lullabies.

TC: What’s your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?

CH: Probably Tants Tants Yidelekh from Dream Pillow, but really any dance where we can come into the center and back out, because those giggling, smiling faces are the best.

.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/186258165″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: What’s your favorite part of teaching Kindermusik?

CH: Several weeks into a new session you hit a point where the magic happens. All of a sudden you see those “aha” moments on the adult’s and many times the child’s faces. They get what you’ve been saying from the beginning and realize that what we’re doing is making a difference. My favorite “feeling” of teaching Kindermusik is what I call being “in the zone” – all are present and engaged, and learning, and singing, and exploring, and soaking it all in, and of course loving it.

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

CH: Be prepared enough with your lesson and music, so you can focus on NOTICING without judging. Who is not engaged? Who might not be comfortable enough to make new friends? Why might a child be crying? The more you can notice without judging, the better you can understand how to help.

TC: How do your Kindermusik kids (or families) describe you?

CH: The words I hear most from parents are patient, helpful, understanding, fun.  I hear that some of the kids talk about me at home all week long. I’m not able to decipher their lingo just yet.

TC: What’s the most touching thing that’s ever happened to you as a Kindermusik teacher?

CH: Back in the early years, I had a special needs student, Alex, with Downs Syndrome. She had been with us for over a year and was still not walking at 31/2 yrs. We were doing a circle dance in Our Time, walking around to the right. She let go of Dad’s hand and started walking with us. The entire class had tears in their eyes, watching how proud she was of her big accomplishment. I will always remember that.[/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?

CH: I have a business background which helped me from the beginning. I also am able to separate head-making decisions from heart-making decisions. I’ve learned not to take anything personally. I’m also able to see the big picture, rather than allow something little to affect my decision making. The two biggest positive impacts on my business have been 1) taking a week-long course with Dr. Becky Bailey, author of Conscious Discipline, and 2) joining Studio Expansion Program and then becoming a private client of Chantelle Bruinsma Duffield.

TC: What are some of the new and exciting things ahead for your business?

CH: My husband and I are now business partners and we’re opening up a full Arts Center in January. My ultimate goal is to keep the Kindermusik kids longer and have them age into our offerings: music lessons, dance, theatre, visual arts. Hoping this builds our older KM programs as an added benefit!

TC: What makes your studio such a special place?

CH: I think families love being there. I hear from parents that their child’s face lights up when they pull in to the parking lot. It’s the totality of everything you do, from having an amazing staff that are treated well and trained well, to the experience you give your families from the moment they walk in to when they leave and how you communicate with them during the week.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Cathy Huser is the owner and director of Kindermusik of Cleveland, a Maestro program serving the Cleveland, Ohio area. 

Are you interested in Kindermusik? Find a class near you![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][class_finder_form css=”.vc_custom_1476103011117{padding-top: 20px !important;padding-right: 20px !important;padding-bottom: 20px !important;padding-left: 20px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight: Helen Peterson – Kindermusik of the Valley

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Regular Blogger Theresa Case brings us our monthly feature, the Educator Spotlight. This month, we introduce Helen Peterson, director of Kindermusik of the Valley in Burnsville, Minnesota. Helen lives near the area of the state known as the Land of 1000 Lakes, but from what we hear of Miss Helen’s Kindermusik kids, it should be called Land of 1000 Smiles!
[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: How long have you been teaching Kindermusik?

HP: 25 years

TC: What do your Kindermusik kids call you?

HP: Miss Helen

TC: How do your Kindermusik kids (or families) describe you?

HP: I think as loving, welcoming, cheerful, understanding, and knowledgeable.

TC: What year did you first open your business?


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

HP: As most businesses that have been around this long, we have had ups and downs – no matter where we are, it is excellent teaching, a great understanding and acceptance of children, loving the community, and really just a lot of hard work!

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

HP: I am looking at a 3 year plan right now to take Kindermusik on a growth trajectory back to 300 students. I am also stepping into the Kindermusik@Schools market with increased energy. Too many kids at daycare are missing out – we want to serve them![/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://vimeo.com/182839856″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Helen Peterson
Helen Peterson

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]TC: What makes Kindermusik of the Valley such a special place?

HP: Our teachers! I am so blessed to partner with such a special, committed, brilliant and loving educators. They do amazing work and love, love, LOVE our families every day! Much gratitude to our wonderful Kindermusik of the Valley educators – Robin Lamoreaux, Tina Egli, Merry Sawdey, and Summer Jothen!

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

HP: Parrot Talk

TC: What’s your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?

HP: Oh so many! Tants Tants, Pirates Treasure Dance (formerly Sailors Hornpipe), Dance Little Baby, Up Up in the Sky, Bingo – any dance that goes into the middle and comes back out.

TC: Describe a teaching experience or favorite Kindermusik family that has impacted you as a teacher.

HP: There are so many beautiful families who have come to Kindermusik of the Valley studio over the years but have to say the experience that has been the most impactful for me as a teacher was the work Sherry Grimsby and I shared for 20 years teaching Kindermusik to the underserved and economically challenged families in North Minneapolis. We started there before Kindermusik school programs had been created so we adapted Beginnings and Growing with Kindermusik for the students. It was here where I first understood the power of Kindermusik as a therapy. The incredible value of giving children in crisis the ability to calm themselves using music, that playing musical stop and go games with children who had not developed any inhibitory control because of their circumstances would be something that could save them one day. Even though the teaching was incredibly hard, loving the children, singing with them, rocking with them, playing and giving them so many choices and chances taught us so much and really made me the teacher I am today.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be?

HP: Focus on knowing and loving the parents of your students. Be knocked out by how much they love their children and what they are providing for them. Not every parent does it, those that come to Kindermusik are something special.

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

HP: Falling in love with every parent and student in the room.

TC: What’s the most touching thing that’s ever happened to you as a Kindermusik teacher?

HP: It is when a parent who had missed class earlier in the day because of an emergency that was very upsetting, came by later in the afternoon saying that she knew if she could just be in the Kindermusik room with me for a few minutes she would feel better.

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

HP: Oh! It is definitely when I catch glimpses of pride from parents for their children, when they are surprised by how much their child has understood and been creative with the activities. AND – when I see children feeling proud of themselves as they concentrate, listen, create, and make beautiful music.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Helen Peterson holds a BS degree in Music Education from the University of Minnesota. Helen taught elementary and high school band before starting a family and her Kindermusik business. Helen has served on the Kindermusik Educators Association national board from 1999 to 2003 and has continued to serve on the international conference committee.


– Photo credits: Aaron Sawdey[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]


What Does It Take? Becoming a Kindermusik Educator

Theresa Case

It’s been over 20 years since I started my Kindermusik journey with my first Kindermusik training.  But I still remind myself often of what it takes to become – and to be! – a Kindermusik educator.  Here are a few of my favorite characteristics of a Kindermusik teacher:

A song in your heart. You can’t inspire others to love music unless a love of music is bubbling out of you!

A love of kids… and parents! Kindermusik is as much for the parents as it is for the kids, and Kindermusik educators get to love and nurture them both.

A beautiful smile. The most beautiful smiles come straight from a loving heart that sees the good and loves the child – and parent! – just as they are.

A child-like sense of wonder. The best teachers see the world through the child’s eyes and hear the music through their ears.

A sense of humor. You have to have a gift to laugh at yourself and delight in others – especially the kids who will never cease to surprise you.

A streak of creativity. The lesson plans can only come to life in the hands of a vibrant, creative teacher.

A commitment to excellence. It may look like fun and games, but it takes dedication and work to be the kind of Kindermusik teacher who makes the biggest difference in the lives of her Kindermusik families.

Becoming a Kindermusik Educator
Theresa Case teaches her Kindermusik classes with love and a boundless energy

A big imagination. The kids will have one – you have to have a big imagination to in order to enter their world and connect with them at their level.

A boundless joy. Kindermusik does something special for each one – the child, the parent, and the teacher.  And each new class only increases the joy of teaching and making music.

And that’s what it takes to be a Kindermusik teacher – heart, love, smiles, wonder, humor, creativity, excellence, imagination, and joy. It’s also what Kindermusik teachers get back every time a child’s eyes light up in class.

So, I guess I have to say that teaching Kindermusik isn’t really about what it takes, but what it gives.

Shared by Theresa Case whose award-winning Kindermusik program at Piano Central Studios in upstate South Carolina has been inspiring children and families to learn and make music together for over 20 years now.

Educator Spotlight: Jenn Horak-Hult

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Jenn Horak-Hult found something special when she discovered Kindermusik in 2003 and then went on to start her own business, Pied Piper Studios in Des Moines, Iowa, in 2006.  She is a vibrant educator, talented musician, and brilliant business owner.  Jenn has served on the PKE (Partnership for Kindermusik Educators) board and has contributed in countless other ways to the Kindermusik educator community over the years.  She is the beloved “Miss Jenn” to her Kindermusik kids, and lovingly referred to as “Zen Jenn” by Kindermusik mamas who admire her calm ability not to get rattled.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator color=”green”][vc_column_text]TC: What makes Pied Piper Studios such a special place?

JHH: We believe active listening isn’t just part of the curriculum we teach. We listen with our hearts and we strive to respond in the way that helps every family thrive. Every person, big and little, that comes through our doors has a story to tell, and we are continually challenging ourselves to engineer an experience that meets families where they are and then comes alongside to celebrate their own unique journey.  

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

JHH: I have many favorites for lots of reasons. It’s difficult to choose just one. But perhaps the song that holds one of the most special places in my heart is Manx Lullaby. I was teaching Dream Pillow while pregnant with our oldest child over 10 years ago and that lullaby quickly became “his” lullaby. I sang it to him as I waited for his arrival and I painted the lyrics on his nursery walls. I’ve sung it hundreds and hundreds of times to him, and it still remains something special we share all these years later.

TC: What’s your favorite Kindermusik dance to lead?

JHH: Tants Tants Yidelekh! I’ve always loved this dance. Bouncing babies along with the tuba is a hit every time.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Jenn Horak-Hult[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”“I treasure most…the connection and community created in our classroom“” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%235fd60a”][vc_column_text]TC: What do you love most about teaching Kindermusik?

JHH: There are so many things to love, but one piece I treasure most is the connection and community created in our classroom. It is a tremendous gift to see families meet and form friendships that go on to last for years and years. Parenting is brave and beautiful work, and it is blessing that we are able to provide the time, space, and type of environment where families feel welcomed, nurtured, and loved. Seeing those relationships blossom into support systems that go beyond our walls is incredibly gratifying.

TC: What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you as a Kindermusik teacher?

JHH: I once split the backside of my pants wide open while riding the pretend Elevator and Escalator up and down in an Imagine That! class. With no change of clothes available, I spent the rest of class (including Sharing Time) with a makeshift humongous scarf skirt draped around my waist.

TC: How about the most touching thing?

JHH: The most touching things I’ve experienced while teaching Kindermusik have been the first steps, first words, and other precious milestones reached with so many witnesses to celebrate together.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Passionate People + a Shared Vision = Success” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%2359d600″][vc_column_text]TC: What do you feel has made your studio business a success?

JHH: I have an incredible team and I am very lucky to work with a group of women whom I adore and admire. They inspire me and I do my best to create an environment that feeds their passion, nurtures their skills, encourages their curiosity, and affirms their gifts. Their hearts share my vision, and our success as a studio is very much tied to our desire collectively and individually to make that vision a reality one day, one song, and one dance at a time.

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

JHH: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be? Surround yourself with people who inspire you. My Kindermusik buddies have taught me more than I could ever have hoped to learn on my own. They challenge me to be my best self and there is nothing more fun than being brave in our dreaming together.

TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your business?

JHH: We are celebrating our 10th anniversary this year so we have lots of surprises up our sleeves for our families![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Horak-Hult[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]TC: What are some of your hobbies outside of teaching Kindermusik?

JHH: My children would say napping! And it’s a little bit true. I am a night owl and am at my creative working best in the wee hours. I’m typically up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. So, when I have the opportunity, there is nothing more heavenly than the chance to crawl back under the covers for a little afternoon snooze…especially with the windows open on a warm day. I also love working in the kitchen and making yummy food for our family to enjoy together around the table. I’m a vegan and I particularly love figuring out how to vegan-ize the Midwestern comfort food I grew up eating. I make a mean vegan mac and cheese.

TC: Do you have a favorite inspirational quote?

JHH: I find that a deep breath is always my best medicine and the most effective catalyst for connection. So it doesn’t surprise me that many of my favorite quotes center on the idea of breath. One of my favorites is on an art print I keep near my desk: “The trick is to keep breathing.” Another painted on our studio wall is “Breathe it all in. Love it all out.”

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

JHH: Laughter. Joy is never far away and children are our best teachers. If we are present enough, they will always lead us there.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]