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Educating through instruments

Singing songs, tapping feet and playing music can have a lasting effect on a child.
Sharon Atkinson, owner of Amazing Grace Studios in Lincolnton, believes that children who are educated with music are calm, balanced, well mannered and good students.
“Children who have music early in life are good listeners, which make good learners,” said Atkinson.
She is backed up by Kindermusik International, a publisher of music and movement programs, which has recently given her a Maestro Outreach Award.
The title was not easy for Atkinson to earn. It required five years of teaching Kindermusik, documented footage of that teaching, fund raising and attending workshops, some as far away as Minnesota.
“Now it’s done on the Internet, but I had to go everywhere to get my training,” Atkinson said.
The award is also directly tied to the work Atkinson and her fellow Kindermusik teachers do with special needs children.
Children with down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy and Attention Deficit Disorder all attend Lincolnton Kindermusik classes.
The non-profit organization Grace Students Presents Kindermusik Inc. also provides Kindermusik for special needs students at A Place to Grow.
“We have seen a lot of progress there,” said Atkinson. “Some of it is slow, but there is steady progress.”
Children in the program beat drums, wave scarves, dance and sing.
“We don’t just sit there, we move,” said Atkinson.
While she believes all children who participate benefit from the music education, special needs children hold a special place in her heart.
“They seem to respond the most,” she said.
She says it is because of them that she attends out of state workshops and pursued the Maestro Outreach Award.
“All of this is not about me,” she said. “It’s about my children and the mission we have to get those children with special needs as independent as possible.”
The most recent effort to continue with this mission is a fund raiser that is being held this Saturday at the Lincoln Cultural Center.
Maria Navarro, a master teacher who debuted her work at Carnegie Hall last July, will present a Master Piano Workshop.
Students will hear first hand advice from Navarro, who will conclude the program with a concert.
After the workshop expenses are paid, all funds raised from the event will go towards the Kindermusik program at A Place to Grow.
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Want to go? The Master Piano Workshop will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. The cost is $15 for adults and $10 for students.
by Sarah Grano

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