By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Tricks and Trebles is making sound waves in Taber from September 25 to October 30 in the downstairs portion of the Knox United Church.
Run by Taber local Nicole Elizabeth O’Neill, Tricks and Trebles is designed for kids aged seven to 10.
The program, O’Neill said, would include children being taught rhythm using developmentally appropriate instruments, singing along with piano and an introduction to basics like musical alphabet on the piano, high and low sounds and note value. Children, O’Neill says, will also be introduced to visuals like the musical staff, where notes are placed, and terminology that help children with any instrument they pursue. An art activity revolving around music and making whichever instrument learned that week will also be included, O’Neill says. A Halloween party will be the final class.
“Children will learn songs each week as well as develop a repertoire which stimulates memory muscles and over all pride in learning,” O’Neill said. “These activities are divided into these sectors to hold the children’s attention and providing learning opportunities without feeling like they are.”
O’Neill says she developed this program for a multitude of reasons including the fact that she has been involved in the music world for 23 years and worked within the Royal Conservatory up to her teacher’s level.
“Music gave me confidence within the shy kiddo that began at age four,” O’Neill said. “I see how music inspires and uplifts everyone and provides so many benefits for all such as developing each facet of skill whether it be the gross/fine motor function, memory skills, social skills and more.”
O’Neill says that she also offered programs for kids ages three and a half to six called Tricks and Tots, and a Parent and Tots one in both the spring and the fall. Each program was 45 minutes long.
“We would open with a song, then I would pull out an instrument, like bongo drums,” O’Neill said. “I would teach that they belong to the percussion family and we would play along with familiar songs with them. We would then usually have them singing action songs and do an art activity! Each week was different though as well as each child is different. So some modifications would be made in one class versus the other so no child felt like they couldn’t participate.”
O’Neill says that her Parent and Tot class had their final class of the session at Clearview Lodge and it was wonderful. The seniors, O’Neill says, were given instruments and sang along with the group and it was a huge success.
“I wanted to bring something to Taber that wasn’t just one set instrument and one-on-one, although I can do that upon parent request and scheduling,” O’Neill said. “I wanted the opportunity to create almost a preschool class for music where the fun was the learning! I hope to continue expanding for the long run. I intend to be more active in community spaces such as the library and the seniors’ homes.”
O’Neill says that registration fees for Tricks and Trebles will be $120 per child and anyone who is interested in more information or registering can contact her through her Sound Explorers page on Facebook, at (403) 894-9275 or at email@example.com. All supplies will be provided, O’Neill says.
“Enrolment is open for everyone from anywhere willing to come to my space,” O’Neill said. “I think being a small town so huge into sports and other facets of the dramatic arts, we will grow little by little but mighty. Benefits are seen from programs such as this! It impacts the community worldwide as exposure, the program allows children to comfortably share these skills in the community into adulthood. Plus, connections amongst other children and families that can last a lifetime.”