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Music for Minors Stories

 

Please send us your story.

Please send us your story — your experience with Music for Minors, or a memory of your own early music education, and how music features in your life today (a few sentences or short paragraphs). We will review it and share it here to add color and depth to our collective story.

I had my two classes of first graders celebrate Chinese New Years by talking about the traditions of that holiday and teaching them two songs about it. I showed them video snippets of a real dragon parade and the dancing lions on my iPhone downloaded from YouTube. Then I had them become a dragon parade under a beautiful red and gold Chinese fabric of mine and gave the first student a dragon mask.

The whole parade was lead by a special needs student who was given a lovely little Chinese Dancing Lion puppet to wear on his hand.  When we were finished, the children were still excited and wanted to talk and when I asked the little boy with the lion puppet what he thought, he responded with the most breathless and sincere statement, "It was awesome."
–Donna Davies, MFM Volunteer Educator

The echoes of the beats steadily thumping in our hearts are a reminder that music is in all of us. As the beating of our hearts is essential to us, so is growing through music. Music can help us to express our feeling when words cannot. It can be a soothing sound to calm us in a chaotic world. Through music, we can share the rhythm of our hearts. This is why I think music is so important.
–Ann Nguyen, MFM Volunteer Educator

As docents, we make written lesson plans for each class, using the training materials (songs, dances, rhythm activities, listening activities, movement activities, etc.) that we have learned during the MFM training. These go along with the California Standards for Music Education and are spelled out for each grade, to be taught primarily through experiential involvement using the whole body. In training, we actually DID all the activities, not just learned about them. For me, it was the most fun I'd had in my adult life. Full story
–Kathleen Virmani, MFM Volunteer Educator

As docents, we make written lesson plans for each class, using the training materials (songs, dances, rhythm activities, listening activities, movement activities, etc.) that we have learned during the MFM training. These go along with the California Standards for Music Education and are spelled out for each grade, to be taught primarily through experiential involvement using the whole body. In training, we actually DID all the activities, not just learned about them. For me, it was the most fun I'd had in my adult life. I did all those fun activities as if I were seven years old again! That fun almost pales compared with the fun I've had teaching the activities to my classes over the past seven years. What I liked about training was that we were given a formula for making a lesson plan and then could plug into it whatever we wanted from the training. Currently, docents are provided pre-written lesson plans to follow. Even classroom management is taught, though, as a credentialed teacher, that part came as naturally to me as teaching songs, dances and movement. Some trainees have not ever taught in a classroom, so that part is extremely valuable. Even trainees with experience teaching children learn a lot of new strategies for behavior management and how to ‘keep it moving.’ This program that is now in so many schools all started 35 years ago with a small group of parents who were determined to keep music alive in our schools. This just shows what can be accomplished by a grass-roots group!
–Kathleen Virmani, MFM Volunteer Educator

In early June I ask the kids (often English Language Development 3rd grade students) to vote for their favorite songs/activities/dances/chants to fill our last day together. I love that we never have enough time to complete the list!
–Linda Hoff, MFM Volunteer Educator

To be a member of the Music for Minors family is an honor and a privilege because our mission is to bring music into the lives of children who would not experience and assimilate a lifelong love of music. Full story
–Sharon Barkoff, MFM Volunteer Educator and Board

To be a member of the Music for Minors family is an honor and a privilege because our mission is to bring music into the lives of children who would not experience and assimilate a lifelong love of music.

Speaking as an elementary school teacher with a passion for music, I believe a childs learning modalities are stimulated when music is an integral part of their lives be it in or out of the classroom setting. Music effects moods, body rhythms, relationships, and more. MFM has and will continue to enrich children’s inner and outer beings and provide our next generations with a ZEST in every realm of development.
–Sharon Barkoff, MFM Volunteer Educator and Board

In the fall of 1999, I received fantastic training from Music for Minors that has allowed me to share my love of music with over 1000 young students in the last ten years. Full story
–Georgia Sutherland, MFM Volunteer Educator

In the fall of 1999, I received fantastic training from Music for Minors that has allowed me to share my love of music with over 1000 young students in the last ten years. The information I received, the resources I have had available, and the support for my efforts in teaching music under the sponsorship of Music for Minors has been invaluable. Without this, the school at which I volunteer would not have a music program for the younger students (K-3).
–Georgia Sutherland, MFM Volunteer Educator

I was a docent for 7 years, providing 1/2 hour music classes to two local 2nd grade classrooms. Music for Minors trains its docents (the training is thorough and brilliant), develops the relationships with the schools, and provides ongoing support. Full story
–Lissy Abraham, Former Volunteer

I was a docent for 7 years, providing 1/2 hour music classes to two local 2nd grade classrooms. Music for Minors trains its docents (the training is thorough and brilliant), develops the relationships with the schools, and provides ongoing support. All you have to do is prepare your lessons and show up to give them. MFM offers docents free workshops throughout the year so they can continue to build their repertoire and skills. I can't speak highly enough about MFM. It provides a critical need for our children. Arts are basic!
–Lissy Abraham, Former Volunteer

As a founding member of Music for Minors I have been privileged to see how music in our public schools has enriched and enhanced education for our children. They learn to clap, sing, move and use sequential learning which helps in all academic work. Full story
–Gunilla Follett, MFM Board

As a founding member of Music for Minors I have been privileged to see how music in our public schools has enriched and enhanced education for our children. They learn to clap, sing, move and use sequential learning which helps in all academic work. We teach about 10,000 children per year and have been in Santa Clara, San Mateo Counties for over 35 years. Without this program, many children would have no music. It is essential to continue to this program. Without it we will leave a gap in our society where as adults, none of these children will have any appreciation for the arts.
–Gunilla Follett, MFM Board

I first found out about MFM in 2004, and it sounded like just the organization I was looking for to expand the music offerings at my children's elementary school. The staff at MFM was very supportive of my efforts to start the MFM program at Marshall Lane. Full story
–Julia Goldstein, Former Volunteer

I first found out about MFM in 2004, and it sounded like just the organization I was looking for to expand the music offerings at my children's elementary school. The staff at MFM was very supportive of my efforts to start the MFM program at Marshall Lane. The docent training program is excellent, and it gave me a solid foundation for teaching music in the classroom. The wealth of resources available to new and continuing docents is fantastic. I truly enjoyed my five years as a docent with MFM.
–Julia Goldstein, Former Volunteer

MFM is an amazing organization that has allowed me to personally make a positive contribution to the lives of hundreds of young kids through music. I didn't learn of MFM until, at the age of 61, I was retired from a PHD level engineering job and self-employed by my own acoustical consulting company. Full story
–Kirby Miller, MFM Board

MFM is an amazing organization that has allowed me to personally make a positive contribution to the lives of hundreds of young kids through music. I didn't learn of MFM until, at the age of 61, I was retired from a PHD level engineering job and self-employed by my own acoustical consulting company. As a youth I had played the trombone in numerous bands, and ever since my teenage years, I had been singing in choruses and choirs. Therefore, having the available time and the musical background, I was in a perfect position to take advantage of MFM's program. I took the amazing 14-week training course they provide through a local community college, and in late 1998, I walked into my first classroom, a third grade at a Title 1 (less affluent) school in San Jose. When I looked at the 33 faces staring at me, I noticed that nearly all of them had black hair (my hair was blonde at that age). I wondered if I would be able to establish a rapport with kids young enough to be my grandchildren and with kids from cultures somewhat different from mine. I needn't have worried. Music seems to easily overcome age and ethnic differences. I taught them songs I had learned in camp when I was that age. I taught them folk dances I had learned in graduate school. I taught them basic musical symbols and notation. I taught them rhythmic claps that we then used to reward classroom accomplishments. I brought in instrumentalist friends, who explained their instruments and often let the kids try to play them. We put on performances for the parents. The kids loved it, and so did I. For five additional years, I was a MFM docent at three different San Jose schools. Unlike many docents, I didn't have kids in a particular school, so I went wherever MFM needed me. As my confidence grew, I gradually increased the number of classes I taught. It was especially gratifying when, between classes, I would wander out on the playground at recess and see kids teaching other kids the songs and dances I had taught them. After I stopped teaching, I joined the board, and have been on it for the last several years.
–Kirby Miller, MFM Board


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