They have the music in them

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October 11, 2016 12:00 AM

TUNE IN Danielle Martin's Music and Me Class is back for the third time, where she teaches local youngsters the basics of music and movement. Pictured are Martin and former students David Pittao and Soffeah and Koss Headon

If you think your child might be the next musical prodigy, or if your youngster just likes music for music’s sake, then the Music and Me Class might be just what they need to help foster their talent.
Geared toward kids four to six, the program covers the basics of rhythm, melody, movement, singing, instruments and reading and writing music, with other fun activities like crafts to keep them entertained while they learn.
“I think it’s extremely important to start teaching kids early because first of all, music and dance and movement are things that are universal; kids need an outlet for learning, they need an outlet for movement, so I like to provide them with that space where they can come and feel free to be creative,” said Danielle Martin, local music teacher who created the program three years ago.
“I think it’s really important to start developing creative processes at an early age and just foster that development.”
Martin admits it can be a little trying to teach such young children, as their attention spans can be short sometimes, so she tries to keep all activities less than six minutes long before she loses their interest.
The kids get to play with shakers and other percussion instruments to help learn basic rhythms and Martin also teaches them different keys on the piano to familiarize them with different musical notes, something she said is ideal for children who might be interested in piano and guitar lessons down the road.
The program isn’t limited strictly to music, though, as Martin might introduce a story and allow the children to slowly build on it by adding their own characters and movements to let them express their emotions in different ways.
“Add some movement, add some songs, and really let the kids come up with these ideas on their own, putting movements to people, talking about emotions—emotions are a big one we try to focus on,” she said.
“Different ways you can express your emotions through movement, song and dance.”
Martin puts a lot of planning and preparation into her classes because they move at such a fast pace, and often follows the kindergarten music curriculum as a reference.
She has a background in musical theatre and took piano and vocal lessons for 12 years before getting into teaching four years ago and after doing private lessons for a while, she came up with the group class idea because she didn’t notice much in the area for after school programs for that particular age group.
“I had a few parents contact me to do private lessons for their four and five year olds and I don’t like to start individual private lessons when the kids can’t read,” Martin said. 
“So I was trying to come up with a way to get them involved in music that early, that would be really beneficial to them and what came to mind was a group class, try to make it a bit more of a social activity for kids that age, and then after I talked to other parents about that, they were all for it.”
The Music and Me Class will take place at The Root: Community Emporium every Tuesday at 6:15 p.m. starting Oct. 11 and Martin said it’s still not too late to register.
The program is $72 for six weeks and all kids must be registered before attending.
There are still spots open and anyone interested can call Martin at 403-700-7830.

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