My name is Michael Showalter and I’m a parent of two children, Stephen and Maggie. Our family has lived on Capitol Hill for 10 years and love the neighborhood feel of our section of Washington DC.
I studied music in college and enjoyed participating in many musical groups in the Washington area over the past 15 years including Cantate Chamber Singers, The Washington Bach Consort, and The Palestrina Choir of Washington as well as participating in many of the fine church choirs in our area.
Becoming a father changes one’s life dramatically, but music has remained important to me and I hope I can make it an important part of the lives of my children. As I searched for musical opportunities for my children I began to realize that the majority of children’s music seldom offered any diversity of rhythm or tonality. Then I discovered the Music Together program. I immediately realized that this music offered a richer experience yet capsulated in songs that young children enjoy as well as parents with no formal musical training.
All children love to sing. Music Together ® takes a child’s playful interest and offers the parent a way to support that. I’ve seen it in the expression of my own children which is why I decided to learn more about the program and eventually decided to begin teaching classes.
I grew up playing the piano and clarinet and studying dance, and I have a lifelong love of Broadway musicals. Everybody in my family sang and loved music, though most of them had little or no formal training. What I wanted most, though, was to be a journalist, so I went to the University of Missouri, earned a journalism degree and went to work for The Associated Press. I still work there part-time.
Before having my daughter, I was the AP’s national education writer, a beat that really sparked an interest in early childhood education. I was recognized for my work in 2009 by the Education Writers Association. Then my daughter and I discovered Music Together classes, and I was hooked. I loved watching my daughter’s language bloom and enjoyed seeing her really discover music. But more than that, I treasured the opportunity to just let go and sing my heart out and be silly with her and with the other families in class.
That’s what I hope I bring to Music Together as a teacher — the idea that a parent doesn’t need lots of special training to be an enthusiastic participant, to show children that anyone can sing and dance and enjoy music. Parents are their children’s most important teachers!
My formal music training began with piano and trumpet lessons in elementary school. When I was 15, I fell in love with the bass guitar, and it has been my primary instrument ever since. I have played with a number of bands over the years, spanning a wide range of musical genres, and my recordings and compositions have been heard in films and on the radio. I have given private lessons to children and adults in guitar, ukelele, bass, songwriting, and music theory. Throughout the semester, I will be bringing in a variety of musical instruments, including guitar, ukelele, banjo, and my brand new ukelele bass.
I majored in languages and linguistics at Georgetown University, where I also took a number of music theory courses and sang in one of the school’s choirs as part of a course on choral literature. Upon graduating, I moved to New York City, where I worked primarily in film and television production and development. In 2009, I moved back to DC, to Capitol Hill, where I currently live with my wife and two children, Eliza (3) and Ben (1).
For a long time now, I have been fascinated by how people of all ages learn and perceive music and language. I believe that the methods and song collections employed by Music Together hold uniquely powerful tools for enriching our children’s musical development. When I took the Music Together training last year, I had no intention of teaching it. Rather I was interested in learning about the program’s methods and philosophy so that I could apply them to Eliza and Ben’s musical development. Libby asked me to help teach a demo fundraiser for our daughters’ pre-school, and I was instantly hooked. I look forward to working with you and your children and to having lots of fun in the classroom.
I am a Washington, DC native, born and raised in Brookland as well as a singer and nanny. With parents in the performing arts, I was constantly enveloped in music growing-up. Singing and making music were always an integral part of my life and continue to be to this day. As a child I loved all sorts of music and was fortunate enough to have tremendously encouraging family, friends, and teachers that nurtured and fostered that love.
At the age of 12, I made my Kennedy Center solo debut singing Mozart with the Children’s Chorus of Washington. I attended the DCPS magnet high school, Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where I studied Vocal Music and graduated at the top of my class. I went on to study at The George Washington University on a full academic scholarship where I graduated summa cum laude with a major in Music and a minor in Italian Language and Literature. I have performed in both professional and volunteer choirs around the DC metro area and will be joining the Cathedral Choral Society at the National Cathedral for their upcoming 2015-2016 season.
I love children, especially babies and young children and have for as long as I can remember. I attended Music Together classes as a nanny for nearly two years (5 song collections). I was intrigued by the program’s variety of musical styles, rhythmic chants, dances, instruments, and concentration on informal music education for both children and their caregivers. I truly believe that all people posses the capacity to be musical and hope to encourage the love and wonder of music that is in all of us!
A native of Alexandria, Virginia, I was fortunate to be involved in outstanding music programs early on which inspired me to study music. I earned a BM in Piano Performance, with a minor in Voice, and a MM in Piano Pedagogy. It has been my joy to serve as a private piano instructor to students in Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware, and is in part what peaked my interest in expanding my role as a teacher to include shaping the musical development of very young children.
In 2013, I was inspired to become a Music Together teacher, and it is truly my most rewarding experience as a teacher to be able to provide ways for children and their families to play with and learn the language of music while using the rich and varied selections found in the Music Together song collections.
I like to use my voice, as well as keyboard and guitar to provide a live music element in each class. I am delighted to be able to engage children in musical play and nurture their interest and enjoyment of music. As a mother of two teens, I have enjoyed seeing and hearing their unfolding expression and enjoyment of music, and am gratified to have played a key role in the various stages of their musical development. As a Music Together teacher, t love being the guide for children and their families during these first steps along the journey of their music development.
— Angie Tuesdale, mom to Liam