2020 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in Education
Jody Laura has created a music program that introduces kids to music at the youngest of ages! This may seem like a “throw away” age for music education, but Jody is teaching kids in a way that is really making a difference and is showing all of us involved how important music education really can be this young. She has everything from newborns to 4 year olds in her classes. This past summer, Little Music Makers also offered a Big Kids Rock weeklong summer camp for slightly older kids. Through Little Music Makers of Flagstaff, she has written and developed a curriculum that changes every 8 weeks.
Her Masters degree work focused on early childhood music education, so not only did she do the writing for it, but she did all of the research beforehand to back up what she is teaching! Each session is full of music that involves new fun songs, classic folk songs, well known works of classical music and more.
In class, children and parents or caregivers get to experience the music through singing, dancing, playing instruments, using scarves, a large colorful parachute, puppets, and other visually pleasing props that are age appropriate.
Classes are set up in a way that our children are learning about different concepts, cultures, and more all through experiencing music. There is no bridging the gap because these children are experiencing this at a young enough age that no gap has been created. As a parent attending the classes with my child, I’m learning so much from it too. I’ve learned little “nuggets” about various music that explains what was actually behind the song when it was written, I’ve helped my child explore basic body parts, animals, and more! To watch the children in the class take in and hold on to so much information, it makes me wish that all learning could happen in this same way!
Jody started this venture with only a couple of classes. She now offers five class times a week and is also bringing her classes into some preschools around Flagstaff. There are other programs in town who offer music classes for this age, but one of Jody’s mission is to do everything in her power to keep costs down and make this accessible to anyone. Every semester she has a few students who she waves tuition for so that they are able to attend.
Jody Laura was a public school music teacher outside of New York City for 10 years before teaching in Flagstaff. Beyond Little Music Makers, she also maintains a piano studio in town, teaching students of all ages. She is in the Flagstaff Community Band Board Chair, plays French horn in the group, and is able to bring her focus on education into the Junior Band outreach of the group, as well as helping to create kid friendly learning experiences within Community Band concerts. Jody is also very involved with volunteering in various ways to support FUSD music teachers and programs.
From Little Music Makers Parents:
“She is truly in this for the right reason, and spending one class time with her not only gives you a different outlook on music education, but it is eyeopening for what such little humans can create!”
“As a parent in the class, it has also empowered me to feel more confident in being musical and in my parenting. Miss Jody won’t take the excuse “Oh, I’ve never been able to sing”. She doesn’t believe that from anyone, and although I went into the class the first day very worried about having to sing with my child and play instruments, everything is presented in such a beautiful way that you don’t think about the fact that you spent the whole class singing and dancing and never even thought to be worried about it! Pretty amazing! Having kids at this age also makes it really hard to get out and be around other people. We went into this class knowing almost no one in town and have now established a group of parents and kids that we do all sorts of things with outside of class. Anyone who has experienced being a first time parent knows what a gift that is!”
“In each session of classes that are offered, there is music taught from different parts of the world. How cool is it that my 2 year old is being introduced to music in multiple different languages within an 8 week session, along with folk dances from different countries and instruments from all over the world? I also really appreciate that classes are diverse. There are working parents, stay at home parents, various ethnicities and cultures in these classes”