We had the good fortune of connecting with Kira Rappaport and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kira, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
I support parents and families in the first 3 years of their children’s lives through Music, Movement and Mindfulness. My weekly outdoor music classes provide a routine and a community for new and veteran parents and the songs we sing become part of the daily lives of the children. Songs can mark the beats of the day from waking up and eating breakfast to playtime, lunchtime, nap time, bath time and bedtime too. I talk to parents about current research on the social/emotional development of their children and I support parent self-care as well. Parenting is the great equalizer and research shows that the healthy and loving connections children form with their parents at an early age have a lasting impact for the rest of their lives. My classes build community among families and provide them with tools to help their children stay connected and emotionally regulated which will hopefully translate into adults who have the ability to connect and regulate.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was always into the performing arts. My parents really valued the arts. They took us to plays, musicals and concerts. My siblings and I all learned to play an instrument. I learned to play the flute at age 8 to be like my older sister and started taking lessons at age 10. The summer before my freshman year of high school, I had the privilege of being able to attend the National Music Camp at Interlochen, Michigan. I got to go for 2 summers and I knew then that my path lay in music. In high school, I practiced many hours a day and played chamber music and in orchestras. I went to college to study flute performance and moved to NYC after I graduated to play professionally. While in NYC, I shifted from strictly classical to folk-rock and while playing in bands, I made ends meet by nannying for a family whose young children were studying violin and cello using the Suzuki method. I was quite taken with how musical these young children were and it turned out I had gone to music school with some of the teachers my charges were studying with. At the end of the year, one of the teachers was leaving to go to grad school and I took a job teaching music theory to children ages 3-12. At about this same time, I trained to be a Parent and Me teacher in another play and music program in NYC and it turned out that I was much happier making music with young children than I’d ever been as a performer. Teaching came very easily to me. I was good at it, I loved it and I was completely un-self conscious when I was working with the children and their families. Eventually I moved back out to LA , where I completely geeked out on music education. I studied the Orff Schulwerk approach, as well as Dalcroze Eurhythmics. I went on to earn an M.A. in Music Education at CSULA with a focus on early childhood music education. Over the years, I’ve taught Parent and Me Music Classes and I created a preschool music curriculum using literature and storytelling as a jumping off point for musical experiences. I regularly present to teachers on the use of music in the early childhood classroom and last summer I had an opportunity to teach a college course on early childhood music. I have recorded 2 children’s CD’s: Sing Together and Beautiful Day. My path has been slow and steady. Days, weeks, months and years of teaching have given me experience and wisdom, in addition to becoming a mom myself. I see music as an essential part of the human experience and I strive to provide families with the tools to make music a part of their daily routines with their kids.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people deserve credit in my story. My mom and dad, who spent years paying for and driving me to flute lessons. All my flute teachers, especially Anne Zentner. My first Parent and Me teacher trainer, Susan Izaat. David Connors and the M.A. program at CSULA, which allowed me to focus on early childhood music when I got my M.A. in Music. My many years teaching Parent and Me Music, first in NYC at The School for Strings, where I was given the opportunity to create my first early childhood music program. Then 15 years at Pressman Academy in LA, where my passion for teaching young children was allowed to grow and thrive. A fellowship in the First 36 Project in LA, which enhanced my knowledge of child development and the importance of care-giver connection in a child’s first 3 years of life. My husband and daughters, who put up with mom singing ALL the time. And all the wonderful families who have come to my classes and allowed me the honor of being a part of their journey as parents.
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