About Mr. Skip
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From my earliest of days, oh, say, from nearly
the middle of the last century, singing has been a part of my life. In the car,
at home, at church, in school, for me, music was everywhere. Then came a variety
of music lessons on the accordion, the organ, the trumpet, even a year of french
horn. The one that stuck, that, forgive me, really struck a chord was the
guitar. I'd already discovered the magic of The Beatles, and being able to sing
while strumming was absolutely the best.
forward through school choirs, state competitions, some musicals and garage
bands to vacation church school in New Castle, Delaware. The director, Sue, was
an in-home family child care provider. One day, after I'd finished teaching
Bible songs to the kids, she asked if I'd ever played at a daycare.
"Nope," I said, "But I'm sure it can't be that hard!" That
was the beginning of my journey into the world of early childhood education and
development, and, with a few blips along the way, I've never looked back. Little
did I know how much work, determination and luck it would take to make a career
of entertaining young children ...
Every day, 3
Times a Day
...I played for the children at
Sue's daycare the following week. Zowie! I loved it. And so, as I recall, did
the kids. Word spread to other providers and soon I was performing several times
a week! Not long after that the day came that truly set me on my path.
Delaware Association of Child Care Professionals (DACCP), a grassroots
organization established by in-home providers to assist in educating and
empowering other providers, invited me to be a vendor at their annual
conference. How could I go!? I didn't own a car, had no Mr. Skip literature, and
certainly not the $25 for the entry fee!
are moments in our lives when the generosity of others and the grace of God
shine above all. A friend was going out of town the weekend of that conference -
she lent me her car. The wife of another friend had access to paper and a copier
- she made me thousands of copies of my hastily put together brochure. My mom
set me up with a tablecloth, a vase full of silk flowers and the $25 for
the fee. The vendors at the table next to me knew everyone and, learning of my
newness in the child care world, sent everyone to my table to check me out.
Serendipity? No, just the kindness of others and a nod that I was doing the
right thing. Six weeks later I was playing from 9 -12, M - F, for as many as 15
groups of children a week, and just making enough to survive as a professional.
Workshops & Conferences
Another break occurred when the president of the DACCP insisted I do a
workshop for their next annual conference. "You know what to do [in a child
care environment ]. Take this and learn the terminology, " and she handed
me her college textbook on early childhood development. Reading the text I
realized that she was right. Instinctively, I knew
how to use music as an educational and developmental tool with young
children. That first workshop for 100+ child care professionals was a joy.
And it was a rousing success.
Many workshops and keynotes later, I still love sharing my knowledge with
providers, teachers and administrators on how and why music is an essential
element of early childhood development.
Young Children are Gathered
that time over 20 years ago, I've had the privilege of performing at child care
centers, preschools, libraries, elementary schools, festivals, fairs, and
concert stages from New York to North Carolina. A sampling of some of these will
be listed here shortly.