Uptown Music Collective begins early music education program

PHOTO PROVIDED Aegina Leidhecker sits with musical instruments for her classes for the Uptown Music Collective’s new early music education program, Discovering Music. The Collective will host an open house 11 a.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.uptown music.org/discoveringmusic.

The Uptown Music Collective will host an open house 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at their headquarters at 144 W. Third St., Suite 201 for their new venture in music education, Discovering Music.

While the Collective currently caters to musicians, ages 10-18, this new program will focus on age groups 3 to 5 years-old and 6 to 8-years old.

“As an organization, we know that early childhood music education and experiences heavily influence the development of young minds in all areas of education. When we discussed areas in which we wanted to expand our offerings, the early childhood music program was at the top of the list,” Dave Brumbaugh, executive director of the Uptown Music Collective said.

Brumbaugh said the program will entail small group instruction and will use concepts from the works of early childhood music pioneers like Kodaly and Dalcroze.

“This includes movement, group singing, instrument instruction and the development of listening and comprehension skills,” he said. “Of course, since it’s the Uptown Music Collective, the curriculum is based on proven traditional foundations but emphasizes contemporary music.”

The program will be taught by Aegina Leidhecker, who graduated from Mansfield University in 1982 with a degree in music education. Leidhecker continued her career by teaching music to pre-school and kindergarten-aged children in a daycare setting, then moving on to the public school system for 27 years in the Loyalsock Township and Bloomsburg Area School Districts. Leidhecker also is a professional flutist who has performed for more than 30 years freelance and with the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra.

“Dave Brumbaugh had the vision to see an early childhood music program be established in this area for quite some time now,” Leidhecker said. “Dave and I had been talking about making that desire come true once I had more time available, which ended up being after I retired from teaching music in the Loyalsock Township School District this past June. (We) had been working together since that time to establish the Discovering Music program, which we hope will fill a need in this area.”

“We are so excited to have (Aegina) and her husband, drum instructor Bobby Leidhecker, join our staff. Her years of experience as a beloved music instructor in the Loyalsock School District, and her ability to connect with children, along with her genuine love and passion for music will be an amazing gift to every student who participates in this program.” Brumbaugh said.

Leidhecker said she is most excited about the individualized attention she will be able to provide for the children in the program. “Each class will have a limit of five students in it, so the children will have plenty of opportunities to experience musical instruction designed to foster and inspire musical enjoyment and early musicianship skills.”

Both Brumbaugh and Leidhecker agree on the importance of introducing music to children at an early age.

“Children naturally respond to music in the form of singing, moving and dancing from the time they are very young,” Leidhecker said. “It is an important part of their development and can have a very positive effect on their lives. There is plenty of research available that shows that early exposure to music ignites all areas of child development and skills, including intellectual, social and emotional, motor, language and overall literacy. Music helps the body and mind work together.”

“Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words,” Brumbaugh said. “Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. Music is just too fun.”

Classes for Discovering Music: The Early Childhood Music Program will begin Nov. 14 with spaces limited.

“I hope (this program) will continue to improve and grow our offering of the program we have the opportunity to strengthen our music loving community with fresh generations of young music lovers who will grow up and make our world a better place,” Brumbaugh said.

For more information, visit www.uptownmusic.org/discoveringmusic.