It’s Not Just About the Kids

I was totally thrown off during a short trip to a local store during the height of the pandemic. As I approached the counter to pay, the woman at the register looked me directly in the eye and cried out ‘Miss Beth!’ Since I was fully masked, I couldn’t imagine how someone could recognize me, especially someone who was not at all familiar to me. She quickly came around the counter and again called out, ‘Miss Beth.’

My confusion must have been clear as she continued to explain that she remembered me from our time together when I led music groups for young children at the local library. As a music therapist, I had the privilege to facilitate integrated parent-child groups that focused on building community and a place for all within developmental music making. This woman and her son, a young one with many developmental challenges, were part of that program.

She burst into singing one of ‘our’ songs, and then emotionally shared that the music group was one of the things that kept her going through those early years of her child’s growth.

This story might not be so unusual except for the next thing this mom shared. Her son had gone on to thrive with this early support and was now attending a local community college.

She had carried her gratitude for this supportive music group for a decade and a half!

The integrated, community-based music program was the foundation for Sprouting Melodies and for the Sprouting Melodies training. The training focuses not only on musical development, but on how developmental grownup/child music-making can create a community that supports children and grownups. It’s not just about the kids, but about those who care for them and the communities in which we all live.

If you are like me and want to use your music therapy education and training to make a long-lasting difference for all people, we invite you to join the next Sprouting Melodies training. The ten-week, completely on-line course is designed to give you the knowledge and experiences to make this kind of impact in your community. Our next training begins soon, and we welcome you to be a part.


When Words Fail: Small Children and Tragedy

Dear Raising Harmony Members,

For the second time since starting this blog a few short months ago, difficult, and now tragic, events have torn open the vulnerable world of small children.  There are no words that can meet the depth of sorrow for those who lost children in this latest school shooting.  Many will write for those families and that community and offer them what they can in their grief.  But today I feel compelled to share some of my thoughts with you, our early childhood community, on some immediate and critical ways to meet the needs of our own young children in times of tragedy.  [Read more…]

Early Childhood Sessions at AMTA 2012


The AMTA National Conference is a great place to learn and share. We have put together a list of Continuing Education Courses and Concurrent Sessions on early childhood topics that might be of interest to you. There are so many amazing presenters and such a variety of topics, that we thought this list might help you negotiate the program. I would be happy to share my picks with you….but certainly Marcia Humpal, Petra Kern and Helen Shoemark would be on the very top of my list of ‘not to miss presenters’. (Of course, I would love it if you would join me on Thursday morning for Tones, Tunes, and Timbres.)
For those of you who can’t make it to the conference this time around, please let us know which courses you would like to see sponsored on-line through Raising Harmony!
Beth  [Read more…]

Hand-Me-Down: Music from Generation to Generation

I am so glad to have you join me on this first Raising Harmony blog. Let’s share our stories and songs and hopes and challenges and most of all support each other in transforming the lives of children and families through music.

I sometimes stop and think about how my life ended up this way. Most days of the week you can find me in the music room of Alternatives for Children on Long Island, New York being a music therapist just like I have been for the past 24 years. It is a wonderful space, with lots of warmth and all kinds of instruments. But the room really comes alive when moms and dads come in with their little guys. At the moment they enter, all the days and years before seem to melt away and suddenly it is just us and the music. So how come after so many years, this routine and repetition doesn’t bore me?  [Read more…]

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