Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ann Cue: Exuberant Grandmother

Ann Cue: Loving Grandma, Exuberant Teacher

At an age when most grandmothers have retired from career and childcare, content with activities no more demanding than quilting, crocheting, and gardening, I found Let’s Play Music and began a new, very active, almost full-time career. (And I still find time for quilting, crocheting, and gardening, along with my other businesses of photography and distributing Sunrider herbal products.)

How did you get started?

Actually, LPM found me (read the whole story on my personal blog). My friend,
Gina Weibel, posted on Facebook that she hoped a new recruit would attend training and help teach in her studio. I had time and interest, and knew I would love teaching such fun classes. After a year of teaching in Gina’s studio, I decided to open my own home studio. Things progressed rapidly and within a year I had over 60 students!
What obstacles did you have to overcome?
Mostly, I worried about being too old, but I was motivated. I lost 30 pounds, began a workout program, and discovered I could keep up with and even outlast many of the younger teachers at training. I also learned to appreciate the blessings of experience and wisdom in dealing with the children and their immediate needs.
What is your educational background?
My MA is in English literature; my PhD studies were in Twentieth Century American Lit. (I never finished the dissertation; marriage and children interrupted that.) I have taught high school and college, and all ages in church Sunday schools. I also studied herbology, became a Master Herbalist, and founded the Wisconsin School of Natural Healing. I love teaching, and am always involved in teaching something.
Your music background?
I took six years of piano lessons back when I was in grade school. In high school I voraciously studied any musical instrument I could get my hands on, and performed on both oboe and trombone! Piano is my favorite instrument. 
About 20 years ago I decided to use my gift of poetry (I have won many awards) and my love of musical improvisation to write original songs for choirs (links here). Since I was writing for 4-part choir plus accompaniment, it was time to seriously study music theory, so I did my independent study and I'm glad I did.
What do you like about teaching Let's Play Music?
So many things! First, I love my studio. My husband has lovingly built tables, stools, easels, and anything I could think of. We turned the entire lower level of our home into the perfect place for LPM.
I love the connections I feel with the children. I am able to tune in to their needs, encourage their creativity, and figure out what makes them tick. I will frequently ask a child why he is not responding during an activity, listen to the answer, and provide a solution on-the-spot.
I love teaching the moms (and dads). They are my students too, and it is a special blessing to show them new ways to bond with their children. They know they can be called on at any time during class, and are expected to be fully involved in all activities.
I am loving what I am doing this year with the puppet shows. I am encouraging full-body movement to each of the musical themes. I let the children work these out as a class, then I tweak them just a bit, making sure that some of the actions are closer to the ground and not too wild. We call it dancing, and allow any child who still wishes to sit still and hold puppets to do so. Moms have caught a few of these on their videophones.
I love that I get to be silly, have fun, and know that I am blessing the lives of families.

If I have only one word, I sum up my LPM experience: JOY.

The world can be a scary place,
A song in minor key,
But when it’s Let’s Play Music time
I suddenly break free. 

And when that red balloon floats up
I feel my spirit soar, 
Or with a silly turtle dance,
I laugh, and wait for more. 

So even though I now beat time 
With genies and monsters galore,
They don’t scare me: I only see
The end we’re waiting for: 

That final great recital day
When fears are set aside,
And young composers take a bow
With confidence and pride. 

Then off they go, they know their chords,
The yellows, blues, and reds,
And even when there is no sound
There’s music in their heads. 

And when life brings its troubles by
Perhaps they will recall
The happy sounds of harmony
To  cushion every fall. 

So with my friendly Echo Pal
I have ONE WORD for you:
The word is JOY; it’s mine; it’s yours; 
And all the children’s too.

By Ann Cue
If you would like to read more about my classes or register, check out my music class blog.
-Ann Cue, Madison, WI


  1. Wow! This is an amazing story. Thanks for being so diligent in your life and blessing so many!

  2. Amazing! I teach my own children LPM in Texas but I can imagine how incredible it would be for them to have someone with your wisdom!

  3. I am so grateful I know you and can call you friend. You truly are an amazing lady and I'm so lucky to have you in my life. Thank you for blessing our family with your musical, and many other, gifts.