Music can be essential in a child’s fundamental development, and it’s scientifically proven active learning can have a positive effect on their mental and physical growth.
There are some on Maui who are working hard to keep music education alive and well—even if our school system can’t due to budget restrictions.
The vibrant and loving Aubrey Myers (“Miss Aubrey”) has made it her personal mission to educate children and caregivers about the power of music and its lifelong benefits.
Miss Aubrey Myers provides music education and creative encouragement to kids.
A longtime nanny, this charming Midwestern girl arrived three years ago to work with a family. She fell in love with the island’s verve, yet was amazed at how little music instruction for keiki there was.
“It blows my mind the lack of music education on Maui,” said Aubrey. “Knowing how to appreciate music, playing an instrument or singing can build confidence, intelligence and encourages curiosity in children—in anyone.”
This award-winning performer is also a trained massage therapist, graphic designer and avid photographer, but she decided to follow her heart and developed a company to integrate her love of children and music.
This “Jane of all trades” founded La-ti-Da Music in 2007, which is “dedicated to nurturing in children a lifelong love of music and movement.” She hopes to one day develop a “comprehensive, credited and well-respected music education program” that embodies the benefits of music and island culture through music.
“I never saw myself doing this for a living, but it feels right,” said Aubrey.
Aubrey was born to a musical family—her mother was a general education and music teacher—and she has a degree in Music Performance (flute/vocal focus). She trained by an internationally recognized early childhood program called Music Together Inc. of Princeton in 2007.
La-ti-Da’s class activities are research-based and support children developing competence in tonality and rhythm. And, of course, include fun!
La-ti-Da is not “performance-based,” nor a model for musical perfection, but yet corresponds with the Orff-Schulwerk method of music and dance, an approach to early childhood music development based on educational research on the subject.
Aubrey offers music classes for babies, toddlers and kids—from three months old through fifth-graders.
She leads an assortment of programs, including family music classes, “Music Babies” and “Music Tots.” There’s preschool enrichment programs with “Music Kids” and elementary students can attend “Music Big or Lil’ Adventurers,” “Rockstar Camps” and “Recorder Karate.” (Check out her informative Website for specific details.)
Classes run about 45 minutes, and involve an artistic flow of songs, nursery rhymes, instruments, “finger-play” and movement activities.
Miss Aubrey performs fun keyboard tunes while the little ones dance around in tutus and scarves and play instruments. The giant drum is an obvious favorite.
Aubrey leads year-round classes in South Maui and Upcountry, with one nine-week session held during each season.
Music theory tutoring and private/group lessons in flute and piano are also available.
Aubrey is in tune with singing at birthday parties, or even throwing a pajama party so parents can have date night.
For the last two years, she’s had the wonderful opportunity to work as music teacher at St. Joseph School in Makawao. Aubrey calls the school a “secret jewel” of Maui.
“It’s sad that there are only a few schools left that even have music programs,” said Aubrey. “St. Joseph’s is such as special school—kids there are very lucky.”
Unfortunately, the Upcountry elementary recently announced plans to close its doors next spring after 65 years due to low enrollment.
Last fall, Aubrey was added to the artist roster for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Statewide Cultural Extension program, and has traveled a bit around the state doing music programs with all ages.
The future looks bright and sunny for this ambitious lady. She aspires to expand classes throughout the island, produce her own children’s album and get arts programs back in our schools. She also dreams of one day having La-ti-Da obtain grant money to provide funding for families who would like to join her classes, but need aid.
La-ti-Da will also be accommodating future “Furlough Fridays.”
“There are a lot of studies that show it (music) keeps kids out of trouble,” said Aubrey.
“Kids are the best to work with,” she said. “I put a lot of joy into what I do and I have a great time, too. I love it—it’s very rewarding.”
Look for La-ti-Da Music in Makawao’s Christmas celebration.