Mu­sic to tiny tots’ ears

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - HEATHER BECK

SHE has spent 40 years teach­ing mu­sic to ba­bies and young chil­dren and now Con­nie John­son wants to en­sure her ex­pe­ri­ences and skills con­tinue to in­spire lo­cal fam­i­lies.

Con­nie, who splits her time be­tween Port Dou­glas and Cairns, can of­ten be found telling sto­ries at Moss­man Li­brary, par­tic­i­pat­ing in chil­dren’s events and vol­un­teer­ing at the com­mu­nity cen­tre.

Now, af­ter a re­cent se­ri­ous ill­ness, she wants to en­sure her teach­ings con­tinue to help lo­cal chil­dren reach their full po­ten­tial.

She is gen­er­ously giv­ing away thou­sands of copies of her book, Mu­sic Fun Be­gun Young, to pre-schools, day care cen­tres, chil­dren’s cloth­ing and toy shops and other out­lets.

“I just want to make sure they are used, I’ve been given an in­cred­i­ble gift and to be able to give some­thing back is an hon­our,” she said.

The book de­tails how she uses fun mu­si­cal, per­cus­sion, singing, drama and pup­petry ac­tiv­i­ties to stim­u­late the senses and de­velop chil­dren’s left and right brain learn­ing, with amaz­ing re­sults.

“Many par­ents do not re­alise that 60 per cent of a child’s neu­ro­log­i­cal tis­sue is formed by age three years, and 90 per cent by age five years,” ex­plained Con­nie.

“It’s so im­por­tant not to plonk them in front of a TV - chil­dren want to learn and they need to learn.

“By mak­ing it fun, it’s not push­ing them into it and I find that the ones who have come through the classes are so bright when they get to school.

“You can tell from a very young age when they’ve got per­fect pitch and I think to my­self, ’There’s the fu­ture Guy Se­bas­tian’.”

Con­nie, who suf­fered from an on­go­ing ill­ness as a child and young adult, said her life would have been very dif­fi­cult with­out mu­sic.

Born with per­fect pitch her­self, she started learn­ing the piano at age three and by the time she was seven, she was teach­ing the neigh­bour­hood kids for 25c a les­son.

“I was born with a gift, and all I want to do in my lat­ter years is share what I have learned,” she said.

For in­for­ma­tion email info@mu­sic­for­tots. com.au or visit www.mu­sic­for­tots.com.au. Prof­its from Con­nie’s other pub­li­ca­tions go to a Ugan­dan hos­pi­tal to pro­vide ne­ces­si­ties for or­phaned chil­dren.

Photo by ANNA ROGERS

Gift of learn­ing: mu­sic teacher and au­thor Con­nie John­son

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