A ‘Kinder’ approach to musik | ParkRecord.com

A ‘Kinder’ approach to musik

Greg Marshall, Of the Record staff

Lara Davies wasn’t born singing in the literal sense, but she didn’t wait long to start.

The flaxen-haired girl, who turns seven in May, began the Kindermusik program when she was eight months old. Kindermusik, which is German for "children’s music," is a philosophy of music and movement that incorporates stories, geography, dance and group play, among other educational elements.

Lara, like many of instructor Mary Antinori’s students in Park City, began attending classes with her mom as an infant. She learned basic rhythms before moving to simple percussion and wind instruments. Next month, Lara will graduate from the Kindermusik program and become the first student to complete each semester from infancy to the doorstep of second grade with Antinori.

Lara’s graduation is a milestone for both student and teacher, said Lara’s mom, Wendy Davies. Lara’s early start in music will give her a head start in school, when she applies musical patterns to math and reading. "It’s a great foundation," she added. "What I loved is that each semester built on the previous one. . . . If nothing else I hope she’ll develop a true appreciation for music. It’s a great outlet."

Parents participate with their kids for portions of the 45-minute classes, held at Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church. They clap, tap beats and listen to stories. The songs, such as "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and "Hot Cross Buns," are familiar, but the approach of Kindermusik departs from other music classes. Don’t let the Saxon name deceive you. These classes aren’t for the von Trapp family, children raised with militant musical asceticism.

From the beginning, Antinori’s music classes focus on education rather than performance. During class April 23, Lara and four of her classmates learned Spanish words and danced the Mexican hat dance. They made animal noises and imitated them on dulcimers, string instruments. Guiros were used for percussion and Glockenspiels, keyboards played with mallets, provided the melody. "We’re not trying to make them little musicians. We want them to make music," Antinori said. "We’re teaching the whole child."

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Antinori’s approach as an instructor is high energy. She teaches 65 students, who are infants to first graders, in 10 classes. She encourages kids to run, skip and gallop all to a steady beat.

Antinori plays the French horn, pipe organ and sings. She worked as a registered nurse for nearly 30 years and completed Kindermusic training in 2003, after she had enrolled her own daughter in the class in Salt Lake City. "I wanted music to be second nature to her, something she took for granted, like reading books or going for walks," Antinori said.

For more information on Kindermusik, call Mary Antinori at 649-6877. Email her at kmusikmary@yahoo.com or visit music-in-the-mountains.com