Thirteen years ago (in 2010! – although it doesn’t seem that long ago) I was approached by Lindell Bils, who was working for the local Help Me Grow organization to help with a program that she wanted to implement at my library.
Tots, Tales, and Tunes was the name of the program through Help Me Grow. We ended up partnering to hold sessions in the storytime area of my Children’s Room. Initial sign-ups were only for 10 children.
Lin was a certified Musikgarten instructor, having taken the training, so she led the music. I led the “Tales” element of the half-hour program, providing a story and a fingerplay at the end of the class.
Around 2013, Help Me Grow lost funding for this program and Lin’s position there was lost. We agreed that the program was too important to go by the wayside, so, with the blessing of my administration, I stepped up to work with Lin to continue the program.
Once the library took over the program, we could not keep the Tots, Tales, and Tunes name, as that was specific to Help Me Grow. That’s when Music, Movement, and More was born and Lin and I became co-teachers.
Through advertising and word of mouth, the program quickly expanded. I turned to our local United Way as a funding source, as I contracted Lin to present first two sessions per year and then three, when we added a summer session. United Way has been our faithful supporter since 2013 and we are currently entering our 10th year of partnership with them. Our program, through them, is advertised under their “Bold Goals” initiatives and is a premier program for them.
If you are familiar with Musikgarten music, it was and probably still is, traditional children’s songs and learning simple instruments, such as sticks, egg shakers, etc. Early on, Lin would come up with the themes and the songs that we would use, with an occasional suggestion from me. Even at that point, we were steering away from those “traditional” tunes and I was adding more suggestions. Again, by advertising and word of mouth, the classes continued to grow and Lin and I continued to expand our thoughts on music and instruments. After attending a cardio drumming class with Lin at a local shop, we both decided that this was something we could simplify for the children attending our classes. After seeing yoga done at a library conference, we added a couple of “cool down” songs at the end before the storytime that incorporated yoga poses.
We simplified the drumming by using money from United Way funds to purchase 5-gallon buckets and play balls from Wal-mart, and already using the lummi sticks that we had as drumsticks. Both of us had large exercise balls with large bucket containers like you might see in a barn/tack room.
Also early on, we did Powerpoint presentations with the lyrics to the songs, but as we expanded, it got hard for me to drum or dance, play instruments, and change the slides. It was nice while it lasted and most of the parents I have now would never had been exposed to that portion of the class.
Lin and I had always talked about expanding the program outside of the library walls, but unfortunately she became a primary caregiver for her aging father, so in 2021, a staff member of like mind and talent became my co-teacher.
The old adage is that you have the kids, you raise them and feed them…and then they leave This was the case for my fellow staff member. A better library job closer to home beckoned and she took it.
Since 2021, I have been a solo act. I am responsible for coming up with the themes, selecting the songs for the playlist and leading the class by myself in addition to providing the story and fingerplay at the end.
And remember our plans about expanding the program outside of the library walls? Well, it has happened! I currently visit five schools, some of them twice monthly and do a Music, Movement, and More program with them. The classes I visit are mostly preschool, but at one school, I also work with a combined K-1 and combined grades 2-3 class. Oh, and on one of my visits to one of the schools, a teacher from their “before school” class wanted to know if I would be interested in coming in for them. “We start at 7:30 a.m., but you could come at 7:45 a.m.” Two Tuesday mornings a month, I do just that. A typical Monday or Wednesday could see me doing 3-4 classes in a single day, depending on the school that I’m visiting and if there is a 10-week session going on here at the library.
The schools require a whole different playlist from what I use at the library (it’s always themed), and the older classes get songs that are a bit more “sophisticated” as far as movement. I do reuse some songs that I think will fit across the board.
We also drum at most of the off-site programs as well! United Way has provided money to purchase balls and buckets that are left at the schools/buildings and I have a fold-up cart that I take from place to place that holds totes with sticks, eggs, bells, and whatever other instruments might be needed. I also take a parachute (the kids scream when I bring this out), balls to put on it, and recently, I’ve been doing a bean bag song with that “before school” and the combined classes. Also toted along are a portable speaker and my tablet that has all of my playlists downloaded. For the record, I use Spotify.
I would be happy to answer any questions that anyone might have on this program that has been a big success for our library and consistently one of our highest attended programs. Total attendance for all programs held either on or off-site last year totalled 3.280! Visit our Music, Movement, and More Facebook page at or email me at email@example.com.