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Cole Burdick | early childhood music teacher, Decatur Park District

5 questions with ... Cole Burdick, early childhood music teacher with the Decatur Park District

Cole Burdick 5 questions
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Name: Cole Burdick

Age: 24

Occupation: Early childhood music teacher

City of residence: Decatur

How did you get into being an early childhood music teacher?

I actually had a friend when I moved to Chicago who got me into it. I didn’t know this kind of class existed, but he knew I was musically inclined and had been working with kids my whole life. So he helped me get my foot in the door. He got me my first few jobs in the business.

What types of lessons do you teach the children that take your classes?

The kids I teach are from six months to five years old, so it’s not structured like a typical class. They’re too young for sequential learning. It’s more of an interactive music concert. I stand up there and play/sing songs and we’ll do activities while singing. For example, I’ll give them all a drum to hit for a couple songs, then we’ll get out shakers to shake for a couple songs, then we’ll march/dance around the room for a couple songs, etc. It’s more about them listening and absorbing all the information. The main objective is to give these young kids to tools to become musically inclined when they’re older.

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Do you think it's important for children to learn how to play music at an early age? Why?

I think it’s very important to be planting the musical seeds in kids at this age. The way they are learning music in these classes is the exact same way they’re learning to speak and a lot of them can’t even speak yet so they’re learning to speak and to be musical at the same time. The way they learn to speak is first by listening. Then their brains begin to make sense of the sounds they’re hearing and give meaning to them and then they begin to experiment on their own by making sounds with their mouths. Eventually those sounds become words and then the words become sentences and all of a sudden a child can speak and communicate with you. The same goes for music, they listen over and over again and they start processing things in their head like “this is how I keep a beat” or “this is how to match pitch” or things like that and eventually they begin experimenting on their own. That’s what my goal is-to get them to where they’re experimenting with music on their own.

How did you get into the world of making music?

My dad has been a musician for his whole life and thus introduced me to the world of music at a very young age. I definitely enjoyed music on my own, but I don’t think I would’ve gotten into it as a career had it not been for my dad. 

Do you see yourself sticking with this as a career? Why or why not?

I absolutely would love for this to be my life long career. I love kids and I love working with kids in any capacity. The way I see it, I get to stand up and give concerts for kids for a living. Who wouldn’t want to do that? All we do is sing songs, play, laugh and have fun. Who wouldn’t want that to be their career?


A look at previous Herald & Review '5 Questions'

Contact Garrett Karsten at (217) 421-6949. Follow him on Twitter: @GarrettKarsten

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