Schools are back in session, our Fall Semester has begun, and the beaches are emptying. We’ve had an amazing summer filled with meeting a bunch of new friends, and unfortunately saying ‘See ya later!’ to some staff members that we love. Read on to find out more about summer at the Cunningham Music School!
The Cunningham Music School Gave Back!
Our wonderful, generous students brought in items for a drive when they attended our recital. Their donations were brought to the Dignity Housing Non-profit in the Germantown Section of Philadelphia.
Their mission is to: “provide quality, affordable subsidized housing to homeless individuals and families in three housing programs, each specially designed to meet the varying needs of the resident population. Anchored by case management, Dignity offers a range of services to residents – including life skills development, employment, and education services, health and wellness supports, housing placement services (for a successful transition to permanent housing), as well as educational activities for children and youth. Case managers assess immediate needs for livable income, food, transportation, childcare, etc. and ensure appropriate action toward meeting these needs. They connect residents with benefits and work with them to develop short-term goals and action steps with paths to long-term self-sufficiency.”
Camp Cunningham: Travel Around the World With Music
One of the most exciting things we did this summer was host the Cunningham Music School’s very first summer camp! We worked with Developmental Music Specialists and Ethnomusicologists to design a program for students ages 4-10 to learn about music from around the world. From learning South American dances, to learning songs in European and African languages, to playing rhythms in Asian and Middle Eastern specific rhythms, and even learning about the quarter tones of the Eastern Hemisphere, this camp was packed with hours of fun. We were thrilled to see that our young musical friends were thrilled to learn more about other cultures and experience the music of those cultures through dance, song, and instrumental music making.
The camp was such a success that we’re looking forward to having it be a full-day experience next summer, instead of the 9AM-12PM morning of fun we had this year! Keep your eyes peeled for updates on the dates, theme, and ages that we’ll be catering too next summer!
Library Programming: Here, There, and Everywhere!
The Cunningham Music School offered library programming to three different ages groups this summer: a toddler and early elementary class, a 1st-5th grade class, and a 6th-12th grade class!
For the toddlers and early elementary class, our very own Early Ears Class hit the road! We were happy to bring our fun and fancy free parent/child music class to libraries and classrooms in Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Camden County NJ!
Our elementary aged kids were treated to a poetry-based class, where their teacher taught them about music in retrograde through a reversal poem. The teacher also let them make music, move to music, and learn rhythms–all the while using the poetry as a basis for what she was teaching!
Our older kids also had a poetry based class–but this class was geared towards setting poems to music. Our teachers and the attendees of the program looked at basic music theory concepts through the lens of emotion. For example, the students were able to learn concepts like major vs minor and music dynamics by deciding on the mood of a poem and trying to find that mood in music. They ended the class with assisting the teacher in writing a song by picking chord qualities (major/minor), tempos, range, and dynamic to fit the mood of the piece.
We absolutely adore our students here, but it’s always so nice to go out and connect with students that are too far away to even come to the Cunningham Music School! We also particularly loved being able to go to some libraries that are in districts that don’t have well-funded music programs. We love music and we loved being able to share it with kids who might not necessarily get to do it in school! Not only that, but we were able to offer to classes right at home here in King of Prussia at the Upper Merion Library! We saw some familiar faces and made some new friends, too!
Looking to the Fall….
We had to say heartfelt ‘See Ya Later’s to Ms. Lauren, Ms. Hayley, and Ms. Hanna–two of whom are no longer in the area because of their graduate studies in music and education and one of which will be taking on many additional responsibilities as a school teacher and choir director in the School District of Philadelphia. We are so proud of their musical accomplishments with us and otherwise and will be cheering them on as they discover new ways to share music with the world!
With that, we’ve hired three new teachers! Ms. Lucia, who will be heading our violin and viola department, Dr. Malcolm, who will be joining us as another keyboard teacher and leading our music theory seminars in the Fall and Spring semesters, and Ms. Marianne, our new adaptive music lessons teacher. We are so thrilled to be able to continue to provide lessons to students with different needs, and we’re happy to have hired staff members that are skilled in strings and who are familiar with teaching at the very highest level of music.
We’ve also welcomed many new friends as students to our school! Our enrollment has seen a rather large jump since June, and we’re thrilled to get to know all of our new friends.
We hope that you had just as wonderful a summer as we did! We invite you to join us in celebrating our very first birthday at our Birthday Performance Party here at the school on Sunday, September 23rd at 4PM. Enjoy a student and staff recital, fun and games, delicious desserts, and meet students from beginner to advanced, young and young-at-heart.
Thank you for all of your support from last fall to this summer–we can’t wait to see what this year holds!