Northwest Folklife Mythbusters #3

We sing, dance, play music, tell stories, teach our children, remember our ancestors, and share our meals all year long. Folk live life every day and Northwest Folklife creates opportunities for all of us all year long to celebrate, share, to be included and participate in the arts and culture of the Pacific Northwest.

Northwest Folklife has programming all year long – the Seattle Children’s Festival in October, the Cultural Arts Series and Folklife Presents. We work all year to support many of the 23 regional community organizations who compose the Seattle Center Festal Cultural Festivals. We work all year with over 100 Folklife Community Coordinators representing the unique needs of each community, their artists and culture bearers, and their audiences. And all year long, we celebrate with different communities with Nights for Folklife events.  And of course, the annual Memorial Day Festival.

Join us, join each other – every day.

Tips for Exploring the Seattle Children’s Festival

CC0A7188Northwest Folklife’s Seattle Children’s Festival is just around the corner. This one-day, multi-cultural, inter-generational festival that “Celebrates Our Big Neighborhood” takes place on October 9th. Fun for all ages, bring your family and friends down to the Seattle Center for a day of singing, dancing creating, learning, and more!

Here’s how to be a smart traveler through the Festival while exploring a world of cultures:

  1. When you arrive at Seattle Center, stop by a Donation & Information Booth and pick up an Event Passport. Use this as a guide as you choose your adventure throughout the Festival.
  2. Browse through your Passport and find out what workshops, performances and crafts await you in the schedules listed! There is a plethora of cultural performances to see — if your group is feeling energized, find the next Movement Series workshop or Dance Workshop to get movin’.
  3. Ready to get your hands dirty? Stop by on of the TWO Discovery Zones at the Festival, both featuring a variety of hands-on workshops and activities. Looking to learn how to eat healthy? Stop by the Armory balcony and see Chef T teach about using the fruits and vegetables from y our neighborhood.
  4. Before you leave, don’t forget to turn in your Passport About Me page at the Donation & Information Booth for the chance to win a prize!
  5. Your donation makes the Folklife magic happen. Please give today and add your color to the Giving Gateway! Suggested donation is $10 per person, $20 per family. Or visit give.nwfolklife.org

Folklife is the everyday and intimate creativity that all of us share and pass on to the next generation.  Inspire a Child’s Cultural IQ: Give Kids the Gift of Community.  Thank you!  It’s because of you and our sponsors that we can keep this festival FREE!  Even more importantly, that we nurture the artists, doers, and organizers of our community so we can come together and celebrate each other.  So, thank you!  You are very much a part of this!

 

Power 2 Give

Power 2 Give: Your Gift Doubles

Power 2 Give

Your gift brings Northwest Folklife’s Seattle Children’s Festival to life! Help fund performing artists and stages. Here is the stellar line-up, including Northwest Tap Connection, Kaze Taiko, The Miho and Diego Duo, and much more.  Your dollars go twice as far through the support of ArtsFund. Your gift will be matched during our Power 2 Give Campaign, an opportunity that is available until the Seattle Children’s Festival on Sunday, October 11. ArtsFund’s power2give/PugetSound is an online Cultural Marketplace connecting donors with projects they are passionate about. Ignite your passion for our big neighborhood, celebrate our Pacific Northwest Folklife, see our children grow.

Counting down to Sunday, October 11. Northwest Folklife staff pictured above are Corin Shelley-Reuss, Sheila Siden, Rob Townsend, Beth Schlansky (aka Squeeks =^+^=), Kelli Faryar, and Vanessa Snyder.

See you at the Seattle Children’s Festival!

Your Gift Makes Seattle Children's Festival Stages Come Alive!

 

power2give

Meet The Miho & Diego Duo

Miho and DiegoThe Miho & Diego Duo has been courageously blending Latin and Japanese musical traditions since 2006. Their primary goal is to encourage cultural understanding through music, and to achieve this they have developed a program that introduces youth to Japanese and South American folk music through participation and interactive activities. Miho & Diego found great joy in exploring and mastering the musical traditions of their own countries and feel it is a wonderful tool to stay connected to their roots even after leaving their homes. It is from this joy that the concept of this program is derived; to encourage participants, whether born in or outside of the United States, to begin to discover and explore their own heritage.

Both accomplished musicians, they came together after years of admiring each other’s work and discovering that their sounds could be combined to make something genuinely new and unique. Dr. Miho Takekawa graduated from Kunitachi College of Music in Tokyo, is currently the percussion instructor at Pacific Lutheran University and is currently a doctoral candidate in percussion performance at the University of Washington. Diego Coy was born in Santiago de Cali, Colombia, and was former musical director of “Fundacion Viva La Musica” and “Fundacion Funmusica,” and is currently exploring and mastering the musical traditions of his own native culture. Together, this talented duo introduces their distinctive warm native music and encourage the audience to participate by joining them in singing in both Japanese and Spanish as well as body percussion. Since Miho & Diego understand the important of cultural awareness and believe music is a key component, every free chance they get they like to go out and support their local musician friends at different shows and events!

As immigrant artists, Miho and Diego designed a program called, “Musical Trip,” which is centered on familiarizing children with different cultures and ways of life at very young ages in the hope of eliminating that harmful fear before it has a chance to take root and grow. In order to explore and expand the appreciation of alternative cultures through music, Miho and Diego continue to improve their own cultural awareness through extensive research, participation in the activities of various communities and schools, and expanding their connections, repertoire, and collection of instruments by learning from and associating with the natives of other countries.

At this year’s Seattle Children’s Festival, kids and families will participate in a workshop filled with multi-cultural experience, language education and laughter! This an award-winning musical education program for preschool through K-2 students is designed to have children understand different cultures and languages by introducing a new genre of music. Discover songs from Latin America, Japan and other countries accompanied by a wonderful array of instruments including Andean bamboo flutes, the marimba and percussions; however you want to make sure to stick around for the whole program, because the real magic happens when this duo teaches the audience how to use their own body as a musical instrument like body percussions!

The Miho & Diego Duo performs frequently for the King County Library System and the Seattle Public Library System, but you don’t have to wait because, you can catch them at this year’s 2nd annual Seattle Children’s Festival held on Sunday, October 11th in the Armory building Loft 4!

Who Is Sunshine Music Together?

SMT 1

Sunshine Music Together provides the greater Seattle community with music classes for babies and toddlers, introducing them to the wonder and beauty of musical sounds at a very early age. What lucky babies, we say!

Get to know Sunshine Music Together a little more in the below Q&A! They will be sharing their songs and good times with us at the 2nd Annual Seattle Children’s Festival again this year, from 10:45 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. in the Loft 4 venue. Parents, Caregivers, and little ones welcome and encouraged!

What will audiences experience from you at the Seattle Children’s Festival?

Community family music making! We will be encouraging caregivers with their children to participate enthusiastically in our program of songs, movement and chant activities.  We’ll be encouraging caregivers to be wonderful music making role models for their children – children learn a love of music and the disposition to be life long music makers by watching the adults in their lives model music making with enjoyment and enthusiasm! And because very young children instinctively respond to and imitate their loved ones, the active participation of parents and caregivers – regardless of their musical ability – is an essential part of the rich musical environment we create. Music Together parents discover what a powerful role model they are for their child, just by having fun with the music themselves! We will be helping grown ups to relax, find their inner silliness and enjoy making music right along with their kids.

Is there a specific age recommendation? Should parents and kids come?

Music Together is a parent/child based music development program for children aged birth to five years old and the adults in their lives who love them!

Were you at last year’s Seattle Children’s Festival? If so, what was the experience like for you?

Yes!  We absolutely loved the idea of an event that introduced parents and children to the joy of music making and the arts!  We’re huge advocates of music development during a child’s primary years and wanted to share and contribute any way we could for the benefit of our community!  We loved being a part of Seattle’s Children Festival from the beginning!

What is your connection to Northwest Folklife?

Initially we learned of Northwest Folklife through one of our fabulous teachers, Lara Clark, who was on the board of Northwest Folklife. She initially was the one who brought us all to it.  We have done events to benefit Northwest Folklife in the past and will again in the future.

What kinds of music/arts/performance/entertainment do you typically seek out around Seattle or the Pacific Northwest? Any recommendations?

Everything!  We love the theatre, ballet, symphony, concerts – Seattle and the Greater Puget Sound area is rich with the arts!  Seattle Children’s Theatre, 5th Ave, STG (Seattle Theatre Group), the Paramount.  Concerts at Chateau Ste Michelle, Marymoor – Take advantage of it all!

What does Folklife mean to you?

A communal and universal celebration of the arts in Seattle!  A huge sampling of various cultures in the arts coming together in one place!

What’s next for you after Seattle Children’s Festival?

We will continue with our mission to spread the joy and benefits of family music making to our communities!  We’ll be celebrating our 10th year of doing just this in 2016!

 

Learn more and connect with Sunshine Music Together here and join their conversation on Facebook.

 

Mexican Folk Dance in the Pacific Northwest

Joyas MestizasJoyas Mestizas is an incredibly beautiful folk dance group dedicated to promoting Mexican culture throughout the Pacific Northwest. Not only do they perform at Fiestas Patrias and Hispanic Seafair, they offer classes at the Community Center in the South Park community, and encourage YOU to come learn.

At the Seattle Children’s Festival, families will be delighted by their showcasing of rich Mexican culture and tradition by way of dance, music and, of course, costuming!

Enjoy this brief Q&A with Joyas Mestizas (translated: Jewels Mestizas) and plan to enjoy their performance October 11 from 12:45 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in the Armory at Seattle Center.

 

What will audiences experience from you at the Seattle Children’s Festival?

We want our audiences to experience a connection to Mexican culture. We strive to accomplish that through the traditional dances we perform. Our dancers are of various age ranges and skill levels and love dancing and performing for audiences of all kinds. We promote the heritage and diversity of Mexico and hope that people leave our performance excited, maybe knowing a little bit more about Mexico than they did before.

JMHow did you get started in this type of performance?

From its formation in 1988, the main mission of Joyas Mestizas is to promote the rich cultural heritage and diversity of Mexico. From the beginning it became clear that Joyas Mestizas dancers delighted audiences with their colorful performances that celebrate Mexican cultural traditions. As a result, the group has been performing throughout the years at the many events held throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Do you have a performance moment, or a moment connected to your work that you are most proud of? If so, what is it?

In 2009, our group was invited to participate in Seattle Theater Groups’ production “Dance This” at The Paramount Theatre. We were extremely nervous and excited. It would be the first time that our group participated in this type of production and we had no idea what to expect. The whole experience was incredible. Our dancers had the opportunity to learn and collaborate with a multitude of other experienced artist and dancers. I think one of the highlights of this production is how incredible dancers feel when they get to see their culture shared on such a beautiful stage along side so many other talented groups. These dancers are representing their families, their culture, their history, so when they are up on that stage dancing their hearts out, it was like all their family and friends were on that stage with them.


What is your connection to Northwest Folklife?

The majority of Joyas Mestizas members were born in the Puget Sound area. Therefore, they have a strong connection to the Pacific Northwest and, of course, the activities that are held throughout the year such as the Northwest Folklife. When the Seattle Center had its WinterFest Festivals, Joyas Mestizas was a regular at these events.


JM cutiesWhat does Folklife mean to you?

Participating in Folklife gives our group members an opportunity to experience the surrounding community and to make connections with various groups. Our dance members get the opportunity to participate in a production that instills a sense of pride in them and in their culture.

What’s next for you after the Seattle Children’s Festival?

Continue performing at this event; continue to make connections and to provide the community with the unique cultural experience.

 

Connect with Joyas Mestizas on Facebook here!

 

Podorythmie at the Seattle Children’s Festival

Podo crankie croppedThe crankies are coming! If you relish shadow puppets, homemade folk art, step-dancing, story-telling with an occasional fiddle and accordion playing, then Podorythmie’s crankie workshop is the place for you!

We are ecstatic to welcome this Folklife veteran group to our 2nd annual Seattle Children’s Festival. Podorythmie is always delighted to participate at Folklife. This incredible group has been creating smiles and laughter for five years now, and while four of those years were spent on the Northwest Folklife Festival stages, we are eager to include them for first time at the this year’s Children’s Festival! 

Step-DancingThis dazzling group celebrates Quebecois music and dance in a unique way for everyone to enjoy, so you don’t want to miss out on this workshop! Podorythmie consist of five talented members who all play in important role to create magic within every performance. What will make their workshop at Children’s Festival amazing is that it will include not one, but four crankies! Half movie, half homemade folk art, crankies are illustrations on cloth reels presented in a frame and hand-cranked scrolling slowly, while telling of a story, playing music and step-dancing. Now imagine that times four!

Don’t miss Podorythmie’s crankie workshop in the Armory Lofts at our 2nd annual Seattle Children’s Festival, and come introduce yourself to their new friend, “Accordion Man Automaton!”

Festival Starts Today – Bring the Family Down!

FIUTSNorthwest Folklife Festival has always been a great place for families to come and bring their young children and introduce them to the arts and culture of the Pacific Northwest. This year, we are bringing back our Discovery Zone area, sponsored by ParentMap. This area is specifically tailored towards children, complete with it’s own stage featuring family-friendly programming, workshops, and hands-on activity booths for all ages.

The Discovery Zone Stage is open from 11am-6pm every day of the Festival. On Friday, however, because of the opening of the Artists at Play area, the stage programming will start at 1pm. The hands-on booths will open at 11 as usual.

Discovery Zone Stage: Sponsored by ParentMap

The Discovery Zone stage will feature a wide variety of different acts, and the full list of programming can be found in our online schedule. Some additions that are different than the schedule in the Program Guide: Musical Spoon-Playing with Artis the Spoonman (12:00pm on Sunday), and Siren Spark, an all-girl rock band from the Rain City Rock Camp for Girls (5:00pm on Friday).

There is even some Cultural Focus programming! The Discovery Zone Stage will feature a Capoeira Angola performance by the International Capoeira Angola Foundation at 12:00pm on Monday, May 25th, and break-dancing by the North City Rockers at 5:00pm on Sunday, May 24th!

image2The North City Rockers are a multi-generational break-dancing crew from Everett, WA. Folklife recently had the opportunity to chat with David “Pablo D” Narvaez the founder of the North City Rockers. The NCR are a pretty diverse crew, consisting of members from a variety of age groups. The youngest is only 10 years old!

We asked Pablo what we can expect to see during their performance at Folklife this year.

image1

“Excitement! They’re gonna see stuff they didn’t expect. You’re gonna see some typical b-boying but in a way you wouldn’t expect. All sorts of different styles come out. We’re bright, colorful, loud. We are multi-generational. We’re a lot of fun to watch,” says Pablo D of his crew.

Pablo D started breaking in the early 1980’s, but created the North City Rockers crew in 2010. The North City Rockers come together to practice and have fun together, but also prepare for performances and competitions. They perform for a variety of audiences, using a variety of different styles and music.

Pablo says that he likes to keep a positive attitude with everything he’s ever done, and breaking and competing from an early age was what started that. “I’ve tried to spread that to the youth. I’ve tried my best to knock on all sorts of doors and open them up. Learning how to get through adversity and rising to the job.”

Breaking classes with NCR are taught on Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30pm to 9:00pm at Oly’s Dance Sport, 2931 Bond Street, Everett, WA 98201. Classes are open to the public and the first two classes are free. People with all levels of dance experience are encouraged to come train!

Discovery Zone Hands-On Activities

We are very excited about the hands-on activities this year, too! Some you might remember from last year, and some new!

Seattle Children’s Museum presents Exploring Rhythm: Come and explore instruments from around the globe! There will also be a craft table for making a dancing ring adorned with ribbons; dance to the music you hear at Folklife!

Active Art and Science presents Make Your Own Mosaic: Using recycled and finger safe glass and glue, children will create colorful mosaics on tiles. Creativity is welcome, and it’s a good opportunity to learn about color balance and glass art techniques.

Little Wing and Rookies, presented by School of Rock presents Rockin’ Instrument Play and Presentation: Come rock out with Little Wing! Major rock instruments will be laid out for you to try: electric guitar, bass, a snare drum with cymbals, keyboard, and a microphone for you to sing into! Channel your inner rock star!

Gage Academy of Art presents 25 Jams: Pop Up Drawing: Gage is curating a drawing jam in the Discovery Zone this year! It’ll be great fun for all ages; anyone who wants to learn how to draw from real life! Post up at an easel and practice with a live model, or draw what you see around Folklife!

The Center for Wooden Boats presents Toy Boat Building: Children will learn to use basic traditional hand tools such as hammers and hand drills to build wooden toy boats! Fun and educational, this is our largest booth so it will be hard to miss!

Creative Advantage This organization from the Office of Arts and Culture promotes the importance of arts education in the schools. This is a great place for parents to stop by and learn about what Creative Advantage is doing to bring arts back to the schools!

PCC Brings Healthy Treats to the Seattle Children’s Festival

We think being healthy is super important and starting early isn’t such a bad idea! We’ve teamed up with PCC to bring some fun, interactive activities for families to enjoy to the Festival. Find the PCC TasteMobile outside Fisher Pavilion where nutritionist Ami Karnosh will be demonstrating how the entire family can help out in the kitchen.

SCF: What exactly is a food retail co-operative and how does it work?

PCC: A cooperative of any type is an organization of people with at least one area of common interest that is owned and operated by its members. PCC began as a buying club in 1953, bringing together families who pooled their buying power for the purpose of purchasing bulk foods at lower prices. Members invest in their co-op through some level of financial payment but many co-ops include the expectation that members will support the co-op’s activity’s with their time and labor. In a retail food co-op like PCC, members support their co-op through their initial investment (a $60 lifetime membership) and their patronage of PCC locations. The interests of members are represented by a board of trustees elected by the membership. At PCC a policy governance model is followed; the board adopts broad policies that guide PCC’s activities, a chief executive officer is hired by the board to determine and manage those activities.

SCF: How is buying from a co-op different from buying from a regular grocery store? How does the community benefit from co-ops?

PCC: At a grocery co-op like PCC, anyone can shop, whether or not they are members. The price paid for products is the same for everyone but a PCC member is entitled to purchase discounts three times during a month; 5% off purchases on the 15th and 16th of the month; 10% off purchases on a day of the member’s choice. A principle of any co-op is concern for community and, in that very important regard, shopping at a co-op is different because the dollars spent by a shopper go beyond just paying for the products purchased; money paid at the check stand helps to pay for the co-op’s investment and support in the community it serves. Just a few examples of PCC’s community support are the PCC Food Bank program, PCC Scrip program and PCC’s donation program.

SCF: From organic, to non-GMO, to gluten-free and locally-grown, what should parents be really feeding their children?

PCC: The food parents choose for their families is a personal choice guided by their own values, dietary needs of family members, and family economics. Parents are urged to select the most naturally produced and minimally processed foods they can afford, and to take time to learn about product ingredients and sourcing, how to maximize food appeal and taste, and how to interest their kids in selecting and preparing the food they eat. Food is more than fuel for our bodies; especially in a family setting, it can stimulate fun, culture, communication and education.

Meet Singer-Songwriter and Crankie Maker, Dejah Leger

Singer and song-writer Dejah Leger will transport you back to the days of being a child, getting tucked into bed with a story book and a soft lullaby. Although she may perform acoustic lullabies, don’t expect to fall asleep! Dejah pairs her musical stylings with moving panoramic illustrations known as a Crankie. Performing at 4:45 at Loft 2, you will not want to miss this unique performance.

SCF:  What inspires you to create the relaxing style music that you do?

DL: I was very fortunate to grow up with two parents who both sang lullabies to me as a child.  They would sing cowboy ballads and even pop songs, but they would always slow them down to a slow, soft lullaby tempo. It helped me realize the freedom that I had as a songwriter to shape music to fit a need.  As I sang my own children to sleep, I started to revisit some traditional lullabies in both Acadian French and English, as well as creating some from scratch and putting melodies to poems, like “Wynken, Blynken and Nod,” and even pulling new songs into the lullaby tradition that weren’t there before, like “Mother Earth and Father Time” from Charlotte’s Web.  The simplicity of lullabies is deceptive — the power of lullabies is one of the greatest tools we have in our parenting toolbox, and I hope that my CD can be like having another mom and her guitar sitting in the nursery helping your child rest.  There’s such a drive in our musical culture to dress things up and layer on synth and extra frills, but I really wanted this project to remain as simple and true-to-form as possible.

SCF: What message do you hope to share with audiences?

DL: Since I pair my songs with a visual art form called a “Crankie,” I hope to show that music is multi-dimensional.  We can feel it, hear it, and in this case, see it.  There’s no limit to creativity! Music doesn’t have to be just sound. It can also be a warm blanket around you, a beautiful picture, a story, a feeling.

SCF: Exactly is a Crankie and what is the process of making one?

DL: A Crankie is an old folk-art device. Imagine taking an old TV set, pulling out everything inside of it, then taking out the screen. Instead of the screen, there’s paper or felt roll that scrolls by as it’s “cranked” (hence the name Crankie) by hand from above.  On the inside is a little light that illuminates the paper as it scrolls by!  Although it was once a common story-telling device, it disappeared from our culture almost entirely until just recently.  While it is still a very rare sight, the Crankie is beginning to see a renaissance, and now you can come see one too!  There’s no “one” way to do a Crankie; some people quilt and appliqué, some draw and color. I paper-cut.  Using just an X-acto knife and construction paper, I transform songs and stories into images!

SCF: How will families be able to participate with your performance at Seattle Children’s Festival?

DL: I love for audiences to sing along with me, and I also look forward to teaching some French words!

SCF: Your album titled Hand Sewn Lullabies is so peaceful – probably perfect for cool-down or nap time! Do you ever catch your youngest fans peacefully falling asleep during your shows? How cute would that be!?

DL: I would be thrilled if anyone actually fell asleep!! What a compliment!! With the Crankie as part of the show, kids tend to stay pretty awake and fixed on the pictures, but “calm” is a pretty accurate description of the mood I tend to see most often.

 

SCF: What can festival attendees expect when they watch you at SCF?

DL: I get very excited to show the audience what a Crankie is and how it works with music.  Expect to pick up some words in French, learn what happens when a frog asks a mouse to get married, visit lumberjacks in the far north of Quebec, and watch a crow transform into a beautiful girl!

Kindie Musician Caspar Babypants at the Seattle Children’s Festival

Chris Ballew is known on some stages as the frontman of Seattle’s own The Presidents of the United States of America. However he also has an alter ego… kindie musician Caspar Babypants! He recently took the time to chat with us about his life as Caspar Babypants and what we can expect from his performance at Seattle Children’s Festival. Performing at 1:00 p.m. at the Fisher Pavilion. We are so excited to have Caspar rock the stage!

SCF:Where does the name ‘Caspar Babypants’ come from?

CB: I just made it up many years ago. It was my nickname in the early 90’s when I was in an improvisational band in Boston and it stuck!

SCF:  Why children’s music?

CB: I wanted to make something mellow and small and that used my love of old music and public domain music and was innocent and not cool or jaded and was folksy and had elements of rock and roll and appealed to a wide variety of people. So when I made music that fit all of those criteria and listened to it I realized that it was kid’s music. I did not set out to make kid’s music. It found me.

SCF:How important is it for kids to learn music? And how should parents and teachers incorporate music in their child’s lives?

CB: Learning music is not my thing. I want kids and parents to take a trip and SEE what I am singing about and have a visual experience to my songs. I am not an educator and have no opinions really on how important it is for kids to learn music. I just don’t know much about that topic so I can’t comment on it. Incorporating music into daily life is easy! Put on a Caspar Babypants records and sing and dance!

SCF:Any memorable or favorite memories from performing with Caspar Babypants?

CB: Too many to list! One time a kid asked me to play “that song about the little green man in the radio”. I did not have a song about that so I made one up on the spot. After finishing to a big round of applause I asked the kid if that was the song he wanted to hear. He simply said “no”. I laughed all day

SCF:Where do you see the future of kindie music going in the following years?

 

CP: I have NO idea. I only take care of myself really and I am here to stay. My 8th record “RISE AND SHINE!” is out on 9/16/14 and I have the next two in the works for 2015 and 2016 with many many more songs on the way. I guess the future will look like the present only with more music out there to choose from!

SCF:What can parents expect for their kids from Caspar Babypants at Seattle Children’s Festival?

CB: Parents should expect to participate WITH their kids in singing along and moving and smiling. But every show is different for me. I have no set list so I play what the room demands. Some shows are quiet and mellow and others are crazy. You just have to come and see!

Music Together Brings Fun for the Young Set

Expect a forecast of sunshine at Seattle Children’s Festival! We are so excited for your little one(s) to experience the Sunshine Music Together workshop and get a taste of what it offers. Bring the whole family and join in on the fun at 1:00 p.m., in Loft 4.  Check out our interview with Sunshine director Summer Rognlie Trisler to find out more about the Music Together program and what activities to look forward to at the Festival.

 

SCF: Explain what the Music Together program is and the philosophy behind it?ST: Music Together i

s an innovative music and movement program for children aged birth to five years and their parents or caregivers, that is bas

ed on the belief that all children are inherently musical.  Music Together pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. At Music Together we believe that music ability is as basic to life as walking or talking, and that it is every child’s birthright to participate with pleasure and confidence in the music of our culture. We introduce children to the joys of making music instead of passively receiving it from CD’s and television. And because very young children instinctively respond to and imitate their loved ones, the active participation of parents and caregivers – regardless of their musical ability – is an essential part of the rich musical environment we create. Music Together parents discover what a powerful role model they are for their child, just by having fun with the music themselves! And by providing cd’s and songbooks to take home, we hope to inspire music-making in your everyday family life.

SCF: What can parents do on their own to inspire music education and movement activities for their children?

ST: Nothing is more important for a child’s musical growth than seeing their loved ones modeling music making with enjoyment! They don’t care if you sing in tune, they think you have the best voice in the world, but they do care that you model and participate! Around the house or wherever

you spend time with your children, try to incorporate music into your day-to-day activities. Create songs out of brushing your teeth, taking a bath, getting dressed, getting in the carseat – It’s so very simple for us to do, yet profound for your child’s music development. Families will often ask us what type of music they should be playing at home for their children, and we always tell them; “Play what you love. Remember that children learn by watching and imitating you, they are acquiring a disposition for music from you, so if you love rhythm and blues, share that with your child. If you love the Beatles, play the Beatles!” Parents need to give themselves permission to model how much fun music is.

 

SCF: What kind of activities will families be doing in the workshops at Seattle Children’s Festival?

ST: We’ll be encouraging families to unwind and join in with full participation as we lead fun, silly and playful music and movement activities together!  We’ll talk a little bit about what we’re learning and why we do what we do within the song activities.  Our hope is to send parents home with a deeper understanding of their child’s music development, and with some basic tools to help support  that development at home.

 

SCF: What is the most popular/favorite activity in the program?

ST: Singing and moving together in a mixed aged family community setting!  Where else do children get to see a room full of adults circle dancing with bells or crawling around on the floor playfully acting like cats and dogs singing.  Remember children learn through play at this age!  They respect adults who can communicate with them on their level!  We create a fun, informal, playful, developmentally appropriate, non performance oriented learning environment which is musically rich, yet immediately accessible to the child’s – and the adult’s! – participation.

 

SCF: What should parents expect for the kids from Sunshine Music Together at SCF?

ST:  To have a GREAT time participating with their parents in song and movement activities and to be inspired and motivated by the participation of the musical community around them!   We’re all there to model how much fun music making is!