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]

Educator Spotlight: Katie Henderson at Music Connections Foundation

Educator Spotlight

Katie Henderson is the director of Music Connections Foundation in Bloomington, Illinois, where they have an award-winning Kindermusik program that is the highlight of their not-for-profit foundation. Music Connections became a Not for Profit Foundation in 2008 in order to broaden the impact of their Kindermusik program. To date, Music Connections has drastically increased their outreach to low-income families via individual Foundation Scholarships, as well as to families of children with special needs, adopted children, at-risk two year olds, autistic children, single parents, and to seniors. Partnerships with outside organizations have included Marc Center, SPICE, Heritage Manor, Westminster Village, Western Avenue Community Center, Evangelical Free Church, East White Oak Bible Church, Illinois State University’s Music Therapy Department, the Autism Society and CIDSO (Central Illinois Downs Syndrome Organization)The Basics

TC: You are one busy lady! What other hobbies do you have besides teaching Kindermusik and running the Foundation?
KH: I would say that my biggest hobby of late is keeping track of all my daughter, Grace, has going on, and enjoying all of her musical pursuits in this, her senior year of high school! Otherwise, I love to experience the beauty of nature in all forms – sunsets, mountains, oceans, flowers peaking through the ground – this brings me joy!

TC: What do your Kindermusik kids call you?
KH: Kindermusik kids call me “Mrs. Henderson”. I didn’t know other teachers, thus other options like using first names, when I began in 1994

Henderson Spotlight
Mrs. Henderson blows bubbles with some of her kids

Kindermusik and Katie


TC
: If I could interview your Kindermusik families, how do you think they would describe you?
KH: Hm……How would they describe me?   I guess I haven’t asked them lately! I hope they would say that I LOVE their child immeasurably – I do recall a parent once commenting that I treated every child like they were the most special one in the classroom – and that was a great compliment. I would also hope they would say that I am extremely passionate about what I do in my “job” as a Kindermusik educator.

TC: What do you love most about teaching Kindermusik?
KH:   It’s hard to identify one favorite part of teaching!   One aspect is definitely the chance to empower the grownups in their important jobs as parents, helping them to understand how they can easily impact their child’s optimal development and make parenting easier and joyful using music.   Another has to be the love I receive from the children every single time I step into the classroom.   Third, I would say that I love that this profession is forever challenging me to grow and change – and I love that ongoing journey!

Favorites

TC: What are some of your favorite Kindermusik songs, and why?
KH: My favorite Kindermusik songs are typically associated with a favorite classroom moment, and many are Quiet Time or Rocking songs, as I am so often overcome with emotion watching parents take the time just to “be” with their kids during these class. Just a couple are: “The Water is Wide,” when I can remember first watching a parent with two kiddos (one little and one quite big) straddle their lap and cuddle, some twenty years ago; “You are My Sunshine,” with a cacophony of 10-12 different names being inserted in place of the word ‘sunshine’ – “You are my Gracie,” “You are my Nathan,” etc.

TC: How about a favorite Kindermusik dance?
KH: Favorite Dance – a hard choice for sure, as there are some great new dances in the new monthly units, but my “old brain” recalls when the Kindermusik Village curriculum was brand new and we had a VIDEOTAPE to teach us all the dances in Do-Si-Do! It seemed a huge undertaking to learn all of those at the time, but was such an enrichment to “Village” – I loved the “Virginia Reel” and “Tango Cha Cha” in that unit.

Success, Smiles, and Special Moments

TC: You have had a hugely successful program here at Music Connections. What’s your secret?
KH: One secret to success is to learn to let go of the lesson plan, and of the idea that you have to follow the plan exactly and/or “get to” everything; to relax and be in the moment with the children AND with the parents – to get personal with them and to be in relationship with them.

TC: And if you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik business owner, what would it be?
KH: Don’t do it all yourself. Come to understand what you are best at, and do THAT, and find others to fill in the gaps! Also – don’t look to replicate yourself in others on your team! Building of team of like-minded, impassioned folks, with varying strengths and abilities, will reap immeasurable rewards in your business.

TC: Share with us some of the most touching moments you observe or experience in your Kindermusik classes.
KH: Some of the most touching moments are celebrating the milestones achieved in class – like a baby taking its first steps, or an extremely active kiddo finally laying down for Quiet Time are special, of course. But I have also been deeply touched – often blown away, really – when we have asked parents to tell us, outside of class, what they love about Kindermusik, and they provide these eloquent testimonials about how we have changed their lives! One parent recently told how she was experiencing extreme post-partum depression, to the point that she could barely leave the house, and someone invited her to visit a class; she described in great detail how welcomed she felt, and how she was drawn to come back the next week because we had been so genuine and kind to her. She detailed how we literally “saved her life” at that time, and I had NO idea about it! (She’s been in for nearly four years and now has a second kiddo enrolled)

TC: What has been one of your most impactful moments in your Kindermusik career?
KH: Though I’ve had many individual experiences, what stands out at this point in my career is the big picture of our business’s journey. We became a Not for Profit in 2008, our 15th year in business, to be able to provide services to larger groups of kids/people with special needs or those at risk. I have a staff who teaches most of these outside classes – for Hispanic families, at-risk two year olds, special needs kiddos, seniors with moms who couldn’t otherwise afford our services, etc.; when I get to the various sites and observe these families who overcome obstacles to make a commitment to get to class (many don’t drive or have cars), and watch them try to sing in English, or reach out to interact with seniors, or work with such patience with their special needs little one – it is then that I stand back and soak in the impact of what we do! It extends well beyond me, with the ripple effect from a team of dedicated ladies (both teachers and my administrator) who give of their hearts and souls as well. I am overwhelmed with gratitude for what I believe to be God’s gift to me, 22 years ago, in finding purposeful, rich “life’s work,” and serving thousands of kiddos and families along the way.

TC: What are some new and exciting things happening with the Music Connections Foundation?
KH: In connection with our 3rd annual yearly fundraiser, an evening entitled “Open Your Heart to Music,” we had a video made to highlight the work that we do as a Not for Profit. We will be cutting it down, eventually, into “snippets” we can use in advertising/marketing efforts, but I am excited that it tells an important story, and was successful, at this event, in helping us to raise nearly $19,000.00 to support the work we do!

The Future

TC: What’s next for you and for the Foundation?
KH:   Well, if you want my 10 year, long-range plan, I believe it is that our business will find a new, young leader (or leaders) who can embrace “cutting-edge” ways of doing business that will take us into the next 20 years of Kindermusik, presented by Music Connections Foundation, in our community! I will always stay involved, but would love the role of “Community Advocate,” where I have the time to “pound the doors” of businesses and the “powers that be” in our community, educating them on how music at a young age is crucial, and soliciting funding to support the expansion of our offerings. I also want to see Kindermusik@schools becoming a part of Head Start options in our area. For now, however, I am still on the floor with the kids… for as long as my knees will allow it!


Theresa Case is the director of Piano Central Studios in Greenville, SC, where her award-winning Kindermusik program is part of a vibrant, thriving, community music school. In addition to being a former member of both the KEA and PKE Boards, Theresa has also worked with Kindermusik International on such projects as piloting Village and Imagine That!, developing the original Fundamentals course, contributing to the Imagine That! teacher guides, serving as co-author for the first two units of Family Time, working on the early ABC teacher videos, and presenting various professional development webinars and conference break-out sessions. By far, though, Theresa’s favorite life work includes serving in her church and being a wife and a mother. She and her husband have three boys.

Educator Spotlight: Amy Pennington at InJoy Music

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Educator Spotlight[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Amy (Ludwig) Pennington is the owner of InJoy Music, which offers Kindermusik® and piano classes in Kansas City, Kansas. InJoy Music has been an award-winning Kindermusik Maestro studio since 2004. Amy has taught Kindermusik for 15 years now, and has quite an impressive resume with Kindermusik International and a wonderful history of service in the Kindermusik community as well, serving as a PKE (Partnership for Kindermusik Educators representative and PKE Board member, training new educators as a Business Mentor & Coach for KI, and piloting the Sing & Play curriculum. To her Kindermusik families, she’s lovingly known as “Miss Amy.” When she’s not teaching Kindermusik or Simply Music® piano classes, you might find Amy knitting, cheering on the Kansas City Royals, or working on reaching her and her husband’s goal of visiting all thirty Major League Baseball parks![/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]TC: What’s your favorite part of teaching Kindermusik?
AP: Creating a community within each of my classes.

TC: If you had to name just one secret to success in the Kindermusik classroom, what would it be?
AP: Know everyone’s names – not only the children’s and their parents’, but also their siblings’, grandparents’, and even pets’ names! Everyone is important. When I welcome family members into my classroom by name, they instantly feel special.

TC: What are one or two of your favorite Kindermusik songs to sing?
AP: “May There Always Be Sunshine” and “The Duke of York

TC: How about favorite Kindermusik dances?
AP: I love “Mama Paquita” and “Tants, Tants, Yidelekh!”.

TC: Anyone who knows you knows that you have a great sense of humor. So I can’t resist asking… What’s one of the funniest things that’s ever happened to you as a Kindermusik teacher?
AP: My Wiggle & Grow kids LOVE to “swing hello.” One time, when a little boy’s mom was swinging him very high, his pants flew off across the room!

TC: Tell us about a teaching experience or favorite Kindermusik family that has significantly impacted you as a Kindermusik educator.
AP: One of my favorite experiences was piloting the Sing & Play curriculum. I felt a great sense of responsibility to educators everywhere and I felt so blessed to be chosen to help shape the curriculum into what goes into classrooms all over the world every week.

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Amy Ludwig
Miss Amy doing what she loves – changing lives!

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The Business of Kindermusik


TC
: You’re a studio business owner. What do you feel has made your studio business a success?
AP: I have a very strong team of educators that works with me. We are close-knit and have built a wonderful community, both inside and outside the classroom. Choosing carefully when hiring educators has made an immensely positive impact on the success of InJoy Music.

TC: What are some of the goals you have for your business?
AP: We want to constantly evolve to meet the needs of Today’s Mom, while always staying true to our studio’s core values: Connect, Explore, Love, Create, and Play.

TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your business?
AP: We are excited to host a spirit week this summer in conjunction with our summer service project – wear a pair of pajamas to class when you bring a pair of new pajamas for a family in need!

TC: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be?
AP: Know your lesson plans inside and out, so when you start teaching class, you can work on connecting with families instead of being boxed into what you “should” be teaching. No one will know if you leave out the third verse of a song – but they will forever remember that you made their child feel special.[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://animoto.com/play/Sl1BVP5M1FeB9QLm2ihbHg”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight: Christa Beck

Educator Spotlight

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Maestro Educator Christa Beck loves what she does. That love is evident in the smiles of the children and parents she serves in her studio. Theresa Case interviewed this successful teacher so that we might get to know Christa a bit more.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]Christa Beck has been changing lives as a Kindermusik Educator for 15 years. Her studio, Kindermusik with Christa Beck, is a multi maestro educator award winner, recognizing those that are among  the top programs internationally.

TC: What are some of your hobbies?

CB: Baking, running, reading and eating delicious meals that my husband has cooked. We also love to go out to eat; to experience new restaurants and breweries (and Pittsburgh has lots to choose from!).

TC: What do your Kindermusik kids call you?

CB: Miss Christa

TC: How do your Kindermusik families describe you?

CB: Fun, energetic, silly, smart, kind, loving, patient and always smiling.

Educator Spotlight Christa Beck
Always smiling!

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

CB: Enabling parents to use music to connect with their children in ways they have not known before, in a positive, joyful, supportive environment.

TC: Do you have a favorite Kindermusik song?

CB: I have about 100 “favorite” Kindermusik songs. I loved learning all the words to traditional bedtime songs like “Hush Little Baby,” and “You are My Sunshine” early on in our Kindermusik experience. My children joke that I have a song for just about everything (from toast, to trains, to animals, to cleaning the house). I do randomly burst out in “Kindermusik” songs on a daily basis.


One of Miss Christa’s favorites!


TC: What’s your favorite Kindermusik dance?

CB: ‘Liza Jane…I love the energy, the fiddles, the fantastic rhythm for dancing.

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

CB: Genuinely know and care for your families, and always give them 110%.

TC: What are some of the most touching moments you’ve experienced as a Kindermusik educator?

CB: I love the moment when a baby has learned to walk, and the parents in the class all cheer for that first walk across the Kindermusik classroom. When a toddler begins to sing in class, so pure and clear with no inhibitions, my heart smiles and knows this is the most right place to be in the world. Preschoolers are fun, silly, smart and energetic people. I love watching the self-confidence emerge, friendships blossom, and kindness happen naturally in our classes.[/vc_column_text][blockquote cite=”Christa Beck”]Every single child matters.[/blockquote][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: Describe a teaching experience or favorite Kindermusik family that has especially impacted you as a teacher:

CB: I have always been particularly touched by special needs children. I am acutely aware of the extra effort it takes some children to reach certain milestones. I still remember my first Kindermusik child with Down’s Syndrome, Megan. She had been working so hard on walking and around age 2, finally walked across the room during class. The pride and joy of that mom, and the support of the families in that class had tears of joy flowing. I realized at that moment, how much our Kindermusik communities matter. Every single child matters. And what we are doing in the Kindermusik classroom matters. I’ve never lost sight of that.

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

CB: First and foremost, being the most well-prepared that I can for each and every class. Knowing the songs, knowing the activities, understanding why they are important, and learning more every day about early childhood development. Second, knowing, caring about, and loving my Kindermusik families. I believe in the value of each and every child and parent that comes through my doors each week. My hope is that shines through, and in turn has helped our studio become successful.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://animoto.com/play/Nfw6eJE8vvsSSdsYd00ikQ”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]TC: What’s something new and exciting that’s happening with your business?

CB: We’ve been celebrating our 15th year all year long with fabulous events. A giant “on the farm” playdate at our local organic CSA, Jingle Jam holiday playdates, a recent Sweetheart Ball with 120 people in attendance, and more class offerings that ever before. We focus on adding new and exciting things to our business every year.

TC: What’s next for your Kindermusik program?

CB: I am taking Kindermusik to the Middle East this summer through a mission trip organized by another Kindermusik educator (Jessica Hanson.) My goal has been to have the studio families not only support this trip financially, but also share some of the different music from the two cultures with each other. I look forward to taking materials from our studio to leave in Amman, Jordan, and bringing activities and music back from the other side of the globe. My strong belief is that every child has value, and that music can be a universal means of communication; sharing healing and love from one country to the next.

I also hope to continue to grow our Kindermusik baby classes; to share with parents how much music can make an impact on children’s lives, particularly during the earliest years.

[/vc_column_text][blockquote cite=”Christa Beck”]Truly a labor of love…[/blockquote][vc_column_text]TC: If you could share one tip with a new Kindermusik educator, what would it be?

CB: Being a successful Kindermusik educator takes time, talent and hard work. If you believe in it, live it, breathe it, and give as much as you can of yourself, the rewards that come back are priceless. It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked, and the best time I’ve ever had in any career. Truly a labor of love.


Theresa Case’s award-winning Kindermusik program is part of Piano Central Studios, located in the beautiful upstate of South Carolina.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]


Are you interested in becoming a Kindermusik Educator?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_button2 title=”START HERE” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.kindermusik.com%2Fteach-children-music%2F||target:%20_blank”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Educator Spotlight Preview

Christa Beck, Educator

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_single_image image=”8332″ img_size=”full” add_caption=”yes” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Happy Monday, friends! Next month, we will be starting a regular feature at Minds on Music – our Educator Spotlight! I will have the good fortune of interviewing a Kindermusik Educator. The sun never sets on Kindermusik! Somewhere on the globe, at any moment, there’s a Kindermusik educator leading children in song and movement. These talented, dedicated folks make the magic happen. We should get to know them!

Christa Beck, Educator
Christa Beck

Our first subject will be 9 time Maestro Award recipient Christa Beck. As a preview, here’s a recent article about Christa and her work with Kindermusik that appeared in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. She is a wonderful example of the type of people teaching our kids, and a great place to start!

Know an educator we should feature? Let me know! Contact me at dr.boyle@markaboyle.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Why I Teach Music

Theresa Case

At certain times of the year, I find myself reflecting back on what it is that I love so much about teaching music, and specifically, teaching Kindermusik.  Little did I know the beautiful journey that would unfold for me professionally or the countless precious memories that I would come to treasure when I taught my first class way back in 1994.

Photo by Hal Cook, 2014, taken at Piano Central, Greenville, SC.

So why do I teach Kindermusik?  There are literally thousands of reasons – most of whom are under 3 feet tall, have adorable smiles, and have quite stolen my heart.  But if I had to pick a few highlights, these would be the some of my favorites.

I teach Kindermusik because I…

  • Get to be a part of helping parents linger in the moments of experiencing a music class with their children and making musical memories that knit their hearts together.
  • Get to share in the happy celebration with all the other parents when a little one takes his first wobbly steps or says his first word in class.
  • Get to swallow the lump in my throat when I hear a little voice singing parts of our Hello song with me for the first time.
  • Get to be a proud onlooker as a parent and child discover at least 10 different ways to play the rhythm sticks – together.
  • Get to smile right back with a preschooler who is just beaming with pride over raising his hand to share his best idea for singing a song.
  • Get to hold my breath in delight as a big kid confidently plays the notes of his first composition on the glockenspiel.
  • Get the best hugs from little children whose love for music and their music teacher sweetly overflows after each and every class.
  • Have had a front-row seat to see Kindermusik babies graduate from the Kindermusik program, continue on in music lessons, and grow up to have a life-long love and aptitude for music.
  • Have the deeply fulfilling satisfaction of knowing that the world will be a better place because of the song my Kindermusik kids will have in their hearts forever.

And so, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll keep teaching Kindermusik for another 20 years or so… probably until my knees give out and I no longer have a voice.

Village baby with new logoWhy do YOU teach Kindermusik?  Share your reasons on the Kindermusik International Facebook page and tag #WhyITeachKindermusik.

Contributed by Theresa Case who has loved every minute of teaching Kindermusik and running an award-winning Kindermusik program in Greenville, South Carolina for over 20 years now

Professional Development for all "Seasons" of Your Music Teaching Career

Grownups

Theresa Case teaches KindermusikOne of the things that sets Kindermusik educators apart is the requirement to not only be trained to teach our world-class curricula, but also the requirement to maintain and improve through professional development.  No matter what “season” you are in with your current or potential Kindermusik career, Kindermusik International offers professional development that’s just what you need when you need it.

When you’re just starting out as a new Kindermusik educator

After a vocal review, the professional development for new Kindermusik educators begins with a rich, in-depth online training course that helps prepare the new educator for everything from learning about each Kindermusik curriculum level to positive classroom management techniques to successful business processes.  Under the care and guidance of an experienced Kindermusik mentor, new educators are rewarded with their official Kindermusik license upon completing all of the training requirements.

Once you’ve been teaching Kindermusik for awhile

Just like the good beginning that Kindermusik gives to young children never ends, Kindermusik educators recognize that the journey towards masterful teaching never really ends.  Kindermusik International works to provide that additional professional development through Virtual Conferences, recorded webinars, and suggestions for other related training opportunities outside of the Kindermusik community.

When you need a shot in the arm

It happens to the best of us.  Because educators give so much of themselves in their classrooms and in the businesses, burnout can start to set in.  And when it does, Kindermusik is right there to support and encourage through face-to-face local meetings sponsored by the Partnership of Kindermusik Educators (PKE), recorded webinars, and other regular training and connection opportunities.

If you’re teaching for someone else

Kindermusik_SoundtrackForAnySeason_web-250x250-250x250Best of all, Kindermusik training is not just for the Kindermusik business owner – it’s for those teachers who are the backbone of that Kindermusik business owner’s program.  For Kindermusik educators who teach for someone else, there are training topics about classroom management, pedagogy techniques, child development, relationship-building, and more.

When you’re ready for a change

Teaching Kindermusik is a wonderful choice for teachers, music educators, music therapists, or moms who are looking for something different – and a way to make a difference through music in the lives of children and their families.  Kindermusik International provides plenty of helpful tools and lots of friendly guidance to help you make the best choice.
So, whether you are a prospective, newly licensed, or experienced Kindermusik educator, Kindermusik International is right there with you to support and encourage your professional development and personal growth – no matter what “season” you’re in.
Learn how YOU can Teach Kindermusik!

From a cowboy community to the Kindermusik community

Music can both bring an existing community together and create a new community. Director, Musician, and Kindermusik Educator Amy Munsell understands the power of Amy Munsell 2music to make connections between people of all ages and all backgrounds.
When she opened her studio in Casper, Wyoming, late last year, many people in her area questioned the need for music classes for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and families. Now after growing from 20 families to over 200 (and still growing!), people no longer question it. Well, local pediatricians do. They contact her to find out what she teaches in Kindermusik class, because they can tell the developmental difference during well-child checkups!
“My studio, VIBES, is about putting good and positive vibes out into our community, allowing students to excel in music and the arts, and to expose students and families to new opportunities in the world,” explains Amy.
With a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, a seasoned saxophone performer, and more than 10 years of music teaching experience, Amy researched various early childhood music programs before deciding to teach Kindermusik. “With my background, I looked for specific things in a curricula. I love how Kindermusik supports the educator as the guide and the parent a the most important teacher in a child’s life. Also, Kindermusik starts with newborns through 7, such as critical time in early childhood development,” Amy explains. “Plus, I immediately loved the sense of community Kindermusik portrays—from the training to the curriculum development to the classroom.”

Building community in the everyday moments with music

Amy Munsell 3Of course, music makes those big life occasions all the more memorable. What is a wedding without music to walk down the aisle or a graduation without a little “Pomp and Circumstance”? But, music also celebrates those everyday (and just as important!) moments.
“I was working so hard as a performer to share one big moment with an audience, but in teaching Kindermusik, I get to share so many little moments every day in the classroom,” confesses Amy. “And with babies and toddlers—especially—this is such an important time in their lives. Every moment is important.”
Each week in Kindermusik, Amy gets really silly in class.  “We have a little party every time,” explains Amy. “The parents, children, and I get to have so much fun through music and we secretly teach kids all at the same time. The magic of what I get to do and the moments that we share together is magical!” concludes Amy.

From the cowboy community to the Kindermusik community

Amy Munsell 3Casper, Wyoming, may be known as “cowboy country” but thanks to Amy Munsell—with the support of her husband, Lukas—it’s also now Kindermusik country. We know that the sense of community she and her Kindermusik families create is making a profound difference in the lives of children in Casper.

Are you interested in joining the Kindermusik community as a licensed Kindermusik educator or by enrolling your family in a class? Learn more!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer and believer in the power of Kindermusik to create community.

10 Ways Music Gives Teachers Super Powers

MusicIsATeachersSecretSuperPower_Kindermusik_Square (2)For over 30 years now, we here at Kindermusik International have been empowering music teachers all around the world with a special kind of super power – the power of music.

10 Ways Music Gives Teachers Secret Super Powers

Secret Super Power #1: Engaging a child’s mind, as well as his heart.  Many studies over the past two decades have suggested that there is a strong connection between music, learning, and academic success.
Secret Super Power #2:  Stimulating development in every area of the brain.  Music powerfully affects brain development including vision, balance, hearing, speech, behavior, sensation, skill, movement, and emotion.
Secret Super Power #3: Capitalizing on the close connections between music, movement, and learning.  It is movement, often in response to music, that “…integrates and anchors new information into our neural networks,” according to Dr. Carla Hannaford.
Secret Super Power #4: Making classroom routines and transitions easier.  Using a simple song or rhythmic chant  to transition from one activity to the next is often more effective – and more fun! – than verbal instructions.
Secret Super Power #5: Accessing a powerful tool that makes learning stick.  Ever met an adult who learned the state capitals of the United States by singing a song?  They can probably still sing all of those capitals!
Secret Super Power #6: Changing the energy level in the room at the touch of a button.  (The “play” button on your device, that is!)  Whether it’s a need for calm or a need for more focus, music can make the difference.
Secret Super Power #7: Music creates a positive atmosphere that enhances learning potential.  A classroom without music is like a teacher without a smile!  Music is one of the joys of life, and it can also result in more joyous and motivated learning.
Secret Super Power #8: Facilitating multi-sensory learning.  Children who learn through more than one sense tend to have the kinds of cognitive connections and associations that allow for more ways for information to be remembered, retained, and recalled.
Secret Super Power #9: Enhancing self-confidence and friendship through shared musical experiences.  Music has a way of bringing people together, and no where can this be more true than in a classroom.
Secret Super Power #10: Touching places in the heart that nothing else can.  Humans are innately musical beings, and we respond instinctively to the power of music.

For more ideas about integrating music into the classroom (and improving your super powers!), we recommend this article from the Johns Hopkins School of Education.  You can also learn more HERE about becoming a licensed Kindermusik educator.
 
And to all of the teachers who make such a difference in the hearts, minds, and lives of children every day… Happy National Teacher Day!  (Celebrated in the United States on May 7 and in Columbia/Mexico on May 15)
 

Educators in Italy speak the language of music and learning

Italy trainingWith educators in over 70 countries, you can imagine we speak a lot of languages when we get together! Thankfully, we do share one common language: music and learning. A group of  VYL ELL teachers in Italy recently experienced this common language at a one-day training session hosted by Kindermusik.
Danny Berryman and Laura D’Abbondanza, Kindermusik project leaders and Teacher Trainers in Italy, brought together this group of VYL ELL teachers from Lingua Point in Reggio Emilia and The Victoria Company in Recanati and Jesi for a one-day training session using ABC English & Me, Kindermusik’s English Language Learning curriculum. Lingua Point and The Victoria Company are both authorized Cambridge ESOL examination centers, recognized by the Italian Ministry of Education and Members of the Italian Association of Language Schools (AISLI), founded in 1979 to promote excellent teaching standards.
And, even though we know “We Love Kindermusik” Week officially ended last week, we didn’t want to wait until next year to share with you why these VYL ELL teachers in Italy love Kindermusik! Here’s what some of them had to say about the experience.

Why VYL ELL teachers in Italy love Kindermusik…

Italy ESL training“I’ve really enjoyed this ABC English & Me Training day. It was very informative and gave us many opportunities to try out this comprehensive and effective way of teaching. I was pleased to see that it is based on strong research and feel it is something that will surely help me develop, both professionally and personally. I am confident that this method of teaching will successfully bring a whole new way of language learning to this school that can only benefit our students.” ~ Kate Letts – Lingua Point
“During the workshop, we learned an innovative method for teaching English to children aged 2 to 7 years old. This method, Kindermusik, combines music and movement for language acquisition; and is loaded with lots of fun! We also had a great time by emerging ourselves in the method with the techniques learned in class during role-play sessions.”  ~ Julia Stegmann – Lingua Point
“Danny Berryman and Laura D’Abbondanza, Kindermusik project leaders and Teacher Trainers here in Italy, gave Lingua Point the opportunity to get to know and experience an engaging and alternative teaching approach for our most precious clients: kids! The training combined didactics, marketing, and the sharing of ideas. The above, along with a nice lunch and many laughs, were the ingredients of a day that was full of ideas and energy. It is always nice to invest in projects that make you grow! From now on, English learning for our kids from 3 to 6 is going to be set to music.”  ~ Enrichetta Antichi, school co-founder – Lingua Point
“This day gave me a new perspective when it comes to teaching English to young children. This method is dynamic, rich and most importantly, fun! It offers structure and more material than a teacher could desire while at the same time not limiting the teacher’s imagination in the education process.  It is truly interesting and one to try out!” ~ Oana Alexandra Samolia –The Victoria Company 
Italy ESL trainingThis training was very useful. In reality, putting the method into practice is much simpler than it seems with the help of the Kindermusik site and digital teachers guides. I have no doubt that the children will find the lesson activities engaging and fun. On the other hand, the teachers can find all the support necessary on the website and through the music provided.” ~ Sara Verducci – The Victoria Company
“It was a beautiful experience that not only answered questions with words, but in a concrete and practical way also. This training has motivated me even greater and I am certain that both the teachers and children are going to be enthusiastic about this project. Parents will have a real chance to take part in the development of their children as they see the method and fall in in love with it just like myself. ~ Ilaria Mandolini – The Victoria Company

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicLearn more about bringing ABC English & Me to your school!