Monday, September 26, 2016

The Music Is In Me: A Picture Book About Music Class

The Music is in Me, by Kathy Wells
For students in the Let's Play Music and Sound Beginnings classes, attending class becomes a significant part of their world and perception of self. Finally, here is a picture book portraying a child having these experiences. 
Ever since Mommy sang me All the Pretty Little Horses
when I was a baby, I've heard music!
  Such lovely lullabies as she rocked me to sleep.
The music was in her!

Daddy sang in the shower, boisterous and bellowing.
I heard him all through the house.
The music was in him!  

So begins the picture book, The Music is in Me, by author and Let's Play Music teacher, Kathy Wells, illustrated by Whitney Staheli. 

This endearing picture book follows a girl as she experiences music in the world all around her. Her mother makes music, her father makes music, the trees and crickets and nature make music. She finds musical sounds everywhere in the expansive musical world. She begins to wonder, "is the music in me, too?"

Shortly thereafter, she attends the Red Balloons semester of Let's Play Music and begins to discover that she has music inside herself as well. She plays the autoharp, helps puppets dance to classical music, and plays tone bells with a mallet.  She begins to gain confidence in her ability and to view herself as a musician.

I had a chance to interview Kathy and find out more about the book.

Gina: Why did you write this story? Does it have anything to do with your childhood? 

Kathy:  As a young child I was very shy and had a difficult time feeling confident. I am grateful for my parents, who encouraged me to try things and work at things so I could grow in confidence. 

Thankfully, they enrolled me in piano lessons at age six. I never had formal music class before that (parent-tot classes didn't really happen back then.) I loved lessons immediately and discovered music was my niche in life. I went on to also play the violin and organ, and to sing in choirs all throughout college. 

I found the music inside myself, and it has been an immensely powerful influence in my life. I really wanted to connect to young readers through this book, and encourage them to aspire and have confidence in their own abilities.

I also wanted to write a book for children about this amazing experience they're having in their life. For many students, Sound Beginnings and Let's Play Music class is memorable and pivotal. It becomes a huge part of their self-view. Finally, here's a book about someone experiencing music the way they are.

I often wished I could have had LPM in my childhood, because when I took music theory classes in college it was overwhelming.  My LPM graduates are not going to have the same overwhelm that I did.

Although I wasn't in LPM, some parts of the story are similar to my childhood.  When I was a girl, I would sleep out under the stars at my grandmother's farm in Vernal, Utah. I would listen to the sounds of the night and recognize how musical they were. I was able to recreate that experience in the book.

Gina: What about the artwork? Is it special?

Do you recognize the story of "The Red Balloon?"
Kathy: I hoped the pictures would convey my message just as well as the words, especially so children can look through the book and enjoy it even if they are not reading yet. I hunted for an illustrator who could capture that vision. When I discovered Whitney Staheli and saw her work, I knew she was the one.

The artwork invites imagination from the readers. I hope they imagine themselves going to music class and doing these same things.

Gina: Is this your first book? Is literature perhaps your other niche?

Kathy: Yes, this is my first book. I had such a fun time writing this book. I am grateful to Shelle Soelberg, creator of Let's Play Music, for helping my dream come true by being supportive of my idea and helping it come to fruition. I always wanted to write a children’s book, but didn’t get my muse until I became a Let’s Play Music teacher in 2011 and saw how this inspired curriculum enriches and changes young lives! It is truly remarkable and I love teaching this curriculum. 

I always loved children’s literature and always loved curling up with a good book as a child. I guess it is my other niche.  Reading with a child is so important! From a young age, reading together not only enriches family bonds but prepares children to succeed in school. Exposing them to a rich and vibrant vocabulary is an easy and powerful gift to give.

I hope that many children will get to experience this book as they move from Sound Beginnings into the Let’s Play Music program.

You can PURCHASE A COPY HERE. If you would like to order multiple copies or get a bulk discount, contact Kathy directly (

No comments:

Post a Comment