Let’s Play! Making Music at the Museum & Theatre

If you visited the Museum & Theatre this spring on Tuesday mornings, you may have noticed some tunes coming out of our Dress-Up Theatre. With generous funding from the Frances R. Dewing Foundation, we were able to hire local singer-songwriter Sorcha Cribben-Merrill to work with myself to develop a series of music programs and performances. We partnered with Youth and Family Outreach, a non-profit preschool a stone’s throw from the Museum & Theatre, and they brought their three classrooms of fabulous students over to the museum once a week to join in. On the last Tuesday of each month, we brought three additional local musicians for a full-blown Folk Music Sing-along, where we sang familiar songs everyone loves but also gave the musicians a chance to play a few of their originals. As a big fan of the music scene here in Portland, I loved seeing two of my favorite groups of people – preschoolers and folk musicians – singing, dancing, hooting, and hollering together. Check out video evidence of this happening here:

If you’re watching this and feeling melancholy about having missed it – don’t worry! All of the super fun lesson plans Sorcha and I developed together have been documented in PDF form. We want to share them, so download for free here.

If you’re a preschool or childcare center and are interested in a hard copy, please email me at jamie@kitetails.org. With grant funding, we printed a limited series of books with all kinds of easy music literacy ideas to use with your children. These are designed for any adult who wants to incorporate music into time with children – with absolutely no talent or experience required!

One of the biggest takeaways from this entire, wonderful project was that music is as universal as sunshine or ice cream – pretty much everyone loves it and can bond over it. It’s also an incredible tool for teaching your child invaluable literacy skills – not just reading, but practicing verbal skills like rhyming, sentence structure, and phonetics. So get out those pots, pans, and wooden spoons – you’ve got some music making to do!