We’re getting young families together for music and movement during library storytimes.
Parents, grandparents, and caregivers have already enjoyed a free Family Notes class led by CCM faculty member Holly Jennings. The Takeovers continue during this month on Tuesday, July 19th at 10:30 am at the Concord Free Public Library in Concord.
Family Notes classes incorporate simple percussion instruments, creative movement, improvisation, and playful props. Children’s physical, language, social, cognitive, and musical development are all stimulated through musical play.
To take you through the summer, our curator, Stephen Marotto, has selected pieces that are more substantial and more focused on Baroque and classical music. His narrative will guide you through the list and provide insightful background on each piece and often the instruments used in the recordings.
Are you familiar with Just Intonation and other mathematical processes to derive form and harmonies? Did you know that Ravel composed a suite inspired by fairy tales?
Remember to use your Listening Journal to find thought-provoking questions to think about while listening to the music. It’s a great way to start insightful conversations with your family, friends, or music instructor!
Take this shortcut to your summer playlist: Spotify
What do Fidelity, Raytheon, and State Street have in common?
They have matching gift programs.
If your employer matches tax-deductible charitable contributions, you can double the impact of your gift to CCM! Concord Conservatory recognizes and thanks to both donor and employer for this generous gesture!
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The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and the sound of drums and little voices can be heard streaming out of the labyrinth at CCM. It must be Holly Jennings—CCM’s newest Early Childhood faculty member—leading our very youngest musicians and their parents in a song.
Like many others, Jennings’ path to becoming a teacher was a wandering one. She started her musical training in the classical world, studying classical voice at the Boston Conservatory of Music, but she had grown up performing musical theater. At the start of her career, Jennings followed the dreams of many musical theater kids and moved to New York City to find work as an actress. She loved performing but didn’t love the uncertainty of constantly auditioning for new shows. She also spent time leading yoga classes and eventually tried out teaching voice lessons.
Jennings wasn’t sure that teaching would work for her, but after trying out the role as a substitute teacher, she fell in love. “When you find the right thing, things just fall into place… I’ve never been bored”, she says. Now Jennings gets to keep performing as much as she wants to, and at the same time, experiences all the joy and reward of teaching the next generation of musicians.
At CCM, Jennings teaches the Early Childhood classes Little Notes, Family Notes, and Beginner Vocals. These courses are designed to help introduce young students and families to the wonderful world of music in a dynamic and accessible manner. Jennings is all about making things accessible, both by curating a curriculum that suits the age and abilities of her students and also by helping parents to bring the music into their homes.
Parents play a crucial role in Jennings’ early childhood classes. She says the best thing a parent can do to help their child get involved in music is actively participating in class and making space for music in their homes. Even though families are not likely to have the exact same drums or instruments at home that they use in class, Jennings is sure to show variations on her activities that can easily be replicated at home with more common items.
Jennings wants the parents of her students to be able to weave her lessons into their home lives because she knows that parents take these classes with their children with the goal of getting involved in music. She wants parents to have the tools they need to achieve that goal.
According to Jennings, “parents are their kids’ first teacher”, and at home is when they can really see what their kids are interested in. Jennings gives the example of “sponge” children, who in class might be quieter but they’re really just soaking in the music and games. She says, “It’s when they get home that it all comes out, and [parents] realize, ‘Oh, they really got that!'”
Jennings has three young children of her own, who help inspire her lessons. Her children attend various early childhood activities and latch onto songs she would never have expected. “It’s opening up my eyes to more possibilities musically”, she says. Jennings’ children not only help inspire her lessons but are also happy to help test out the repertoire— “While I was driving them to preschool this morning, they were singing the songs I had planned for my classes”.
Jennings is excited to bring her previous experience into a new space—in particular, she has worked in an arts-integrated literacy program where the curriculum is focused on connecting music to themes in the real world. She integrates songs that have to do with things her students see in their own lives, so they can have an enriched, multisensory experience. It’s something even little kids like 2- and 3-year-olds can get. “We might sing about the seasons, flowers growing, the plant cycle, things like that…The leaves change color on the trees, so let’s sing a few songs about it”.