This picture of me was taken not long after I begin teaching Kindermusik in Grants Pass in the early 2000’s. I like this picture because it shows how happy I am teaching Kindermusik. Besides spending time with family, there is nothing else I would rather be doing!
How I got here is a bit of a story…
I grew up in central Wisconsin and went to college at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point. After graduating with my Bachelor of Music Degree I moved to Iowa and taught a combined first and second grade class in a private school. Since I enjoyed teaching in the elementary classroom, I took the classes I needed to become certified in elementary education as well as music. When the private school where I taught closed, I opened a music studio teaching piano and voice lessons and began to pursue my Master of Arts in Music Education at The University of Iowa.
One day I saw an ad for Kindermusik Teachers that was pinned to a student bulletin board. I was intrigued – having both a music degree and elementary teacher certification it seemed a perfect fit. I decided to take the week-long training at Northwestern University in Chicago. I LOVED what I was learning about the Kindermusik program and while driving back to my lodging after the third day of training, tears streamed down my face as I began to recognize that teaching music to young children is my passion and calling in life.
I soon opened Kindermusik of Iowa City, located in space I rented from West Music, a nationally known provider of children’s musical instruments. At the same time I was also working on my master’s thesis titled From Heartbeat to Steady Beat focusing on research about musical development in children from prenatal through age 8. I graduated with my M.A. in Music Education in 1998. From Heartbeat to Steady Beat was published online by the National Association for Music Education in 2000.
After my graduation, my husband and I moved to Grants Pass, Oregon. I began teaching Kindermusik in rented space from Stillpointe Dance Studio and Gilbert Greek Child Development Center, and in 2001 opened Music4Kids in the Town Center Plaza. It grew into a music academy of 150 students including teens and adults as well as a retail store, so in 2006 I changed the name to Great Northwest Music.
My mother’s passing in 2007 made me reevaluate my priorities. Teaching, supervising a teaching staff of five, AND running a retail store was leaving me very little time for family. So in 2008 I sold the store and teaching studio to Andy and Teresa Martin and began seeking a full-time public school teaching position. However, in 2008 budgets were declining, schools were laying off teachers, and my search was unsuccessful. I did, however, find a new career as a substitute teacher.
I missed teaching Kindermusik and in 2013 and returned to Great Northwest Music to teach Kindermusik as well other music classes and lessons. In 2017 I reestablished Music4Kids as a separate entity from Great Northwest Music, now renting space there for my Kindermusik classes, piano classes, and lessons.
In my personal life, my husband and I have become grandparents, with four ugrandsons and three granddaughters ranging in age from 10 to one year. All of our grandchildren live in the Midwest, and I don’t have the opportunity to spend much time with them, which makes my time with your little ones even more precious to me.
It is my goal as a Kindermusik teacher to create an atmosphere of family in our classes where everyone feels loved and finds that their life is more joyous because Kindermusik is a part of it. I want you to know how dear you and your children are to me. I miss you when you are absent and my heart hurts a bit when for one reason or another you must take a break from Kindermusik or your children graduate from the program and I don’t see you for awhile.
One young lady who began with me as a two year old and went through the entire Kindermusik program some years ago just recently began singing in the Rogue Community Chorus, which I direct. She is like family to me and it means so much to have her in my life again. The next milestone in my teaching will be when I have my first 2nd generation student – the student of a former student. It’s already within the realm of possibility…I just met up with a former children’s choir student who has three little ones…it could happen any day now!