Music performer hosts free Singing Books class March 1

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Musician Greta Pedersen hosts free Saturday workshop for kids at Fairview-Columbia Library.Musician and award winning-performer Greta Pedersen believes children can develop a love for reading through music.

“Singing Books” is a new program Pedersen came up with recently that she will teach at the Fairview Columbia-Library. The free class, best suited for children up to 6 years old, will be held from 11-11:45 a.m. Saturday, March 1.

Pedersen also hosts a similar program for elementary students.

On Feb. 8, she will bring her acoustic guitar and mountain dulcimer and sing kids’ favorite folks songs and nursery rhymes such as “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain,” “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee,” many of which originated as books or have inspired them.

“We will be playing with language,” said Pedersen, who grew up in a family of singers and began playing piano at age 6.

She said having kids sing, move their bodies and invent new rhymes to old songs can help them better develop their language skills.

Her program also helps show parents and caregivers how easy it is to use music for teaching children.

“It’s a reinforcing thing to do,” Pedersen said, “a way to engage children and be engaged with children.”

Pedersen was named 2009 National Artist of the Year by Young Audiences, a nonprofit organization that educates and inspires children through the arts.

A songwriter and children’s music performer, she has been teaching young audiences for many years.

Pedersen also teaches music to adults. “Half my students are adults who come back after they have always wanted to (play an instrument or take up music),” Pedersen said. “It’s never too late to start.”

Her reward in teaching is when students realize they can play.

“Some people have been told they can’t do music,” she said, “To empower them and help them realize they are able to do music ... it’s just very rewarding at every level.”

While older children may benefit from private music lessons, Pedersen said parents needn’t bother spending the extra bucks on pre-school age kids.

“They just need lots of singing, clapping, dancing and having fun — in the car and at home,” she said.

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