I’ve been in love with music as long as I can remember. At church gatherings, I proudly (and loudly) joined in. My mom would play show tunes at home and we would dance and sing along. My dad introduced me to Mozart, Bach, and Gershwin in the long car rides to and from town. My brother and I had our favorite songs to play on the record player/boom box. My friends and I had a set of favorite songs and we all knew the words…you get the idea. Music has been a recurring theme in most of my relationships. As a teenager, I remember one time in particular when my dad introduced me to Leonard Bernstein’s, MASS. We sat and listened to the record album, thumbing through the pictures of the production and talking about the power of the music. I don’t think we could connect about anything else at that time but we had the music. That is a day that I will always remember fondly.
I never planned on teaching Early Childhood music. As with most of the important things in my life, it found me. A friend was teaching Music Together and she invited me to come and observe a class. I was hooked after one class. I was amazed at all of the musical and developmental topics that were being addressed in such a fun class for young children and their caretakers. But even more than that, I saw the community that was being formed by a room full of families who were making music together. I went back every week for that whole semester and became a member of the group. I trained to be a teacher in the summer of 2005 and the rest is history. My rich musical community is something I hold on to and those memories brighten my soul. Enabling that sense of community in others is the most rewarding job I could have ever imagined for myself. I am grateful to all our families for allowing us to be a part of their musical memories.
Larisa Montanaro is the Early Childhood Music Program Coordinator at Armstrong Community Music School