BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Staff Writer
Music filled the air at Depot Park last Thursday night as children graduated from Clarkston Conservatory of Music’s Kindermusik program.
It was an evening for celebration as teachers and families got to see each other again after months of virtual classes.
Another reason to celebrate was CCM having the No. 1 Kindermusik studio in Michigan. They are also ranked 32nd in the nation and 46th in the world.
“I am speechless. I am humbled,” said Giselle Graham, Kindermusik Director at CCM. “I worked really hard to create this program for young children. We are just excited and we worked really hard to reach this point. We have amazing dedicated families that have been coming from all over Oakland County. We don’t just have Clarkston families. We have families from all over – Lake Orion, Oxford, Davison, Ortonville, Fenton, Waterford, Bloomfield – we have them coming from all over.”
She added she couldn’t do it without the Kindermusik families, Director of the Conservatory Dr. James Wilhelmsen, and her three other instructors – Buffie Dumas, April Boucké and Ivy Khouri.
“I have amazing instructors,” Graham said. “Between the four of us we have been teaching from mornings to evenings to weekend classes.”
CCM will be celebrating its 61st anniversary next year and Kindermusik at CCM will be celebrating their 20th anniversary in the new year as well.
When Graham was searching for a young child music program to have at CCM she wanted a company which was established for a long time with a curriculum based on brain development.
“Music is more than just teaching children music,” Graham said. “It’s helping them with all different cognitive developments and balancing coordination. Music is known to help with reading and math and other curriculums. So when they start our program at a young age, they are excelling more than musically, they are excelling on other levels of schooling as well.”
She found Kindermusik, a pressure free music education program for ages newborn to 7-years-old. It is international. It was well established as they have been around for over 40 years.
Graham added many of their Kindermusik students continue playing music after graduating the program and continue with private lessons from CCM faculty.
“Some even get scholarships to colleges with a music education because they started music so young,” Graham said. “We have had many of them tell us they’re math wizards now and reading wizards because they started the music program early on as well.”
Graham added the program has helped students who have special needs and who have speech impediments.
“We have helped their ability to speak again or really to speak for the first time,” she shared. “It has been a blessing to our program as well because music can really help trigger the right parts of their brain, and get them to balance and concentrate a little better than every day activities.”
Graham said the Kindermusik curriculum has a lot of repetition and a lot of variety.
“During particular stages of those classes we are doing a lot of repetition. Kids need that. They need to constant remembrance of a song they have heard once,” she added. “The more they hear it that’s when memorization and comprehension comes in. It’s really amazing to watch these little ones grow in our program. I have over hundreds of success stories of children.”
Children receive a home kit for their Kindermusik class which includes all they music they will hear in their class, an instrument and a couple of books.
Kindermusik International does the rankings based on enrollment, achievement and how long the studio has been in service.
“We have held the award for top program since 2006,” Graham added. “We were at five percent at that time which is called the messamine level. Now we are at conductor level which is top 50. We are in the top one percent of all studio programs in the world.”
During the stay at home order, CCM held virtual classes which helped not only the children and family but the instructors as well as they got to see their students at least once a week.
“The kids are going crazy at home so they definitely wanted to have a class once a week so they had some normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Graham, adding they will offer more virtual classes for the summer. “I don’t know if I could have gotten through the pandemic without virtual. Seeing the kids in the morning every day has been great. But it’s that one-on-one contact, the teacher-student relationship. You have it, but you don’t have as much of it. Plus, the kids connect with each other. We have friendships develop.”
They are waiting to see what they can do for the fall, even if it is some class and some virtual.
“We are able to accommodate for whatever families feel most comfortable for the future,” Graham said.
For more information about CCM’s Kindermusik program please check out the CCM website, www.clarkstonconservatory.com; follow them on Facebook – Kindermusik at the Clarkston Conservatory; or email Graham at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CCM will have We have ongoing virtual Kindermusik classes starting this month and July for ages newborn-7 years old to kick off their 5-week summer camps.