Music Connections is a church program for kids, generally those who are in elementary and middle school. Although it mostly focuses on activities fit for kids, some older people supervise. I asked Julie Mazer, “How long have you been teaching Music Connections?” and she said “I have been here since 2009. That’s 13 years!” That amount of time is longer than I have been alive. Julie has always been super-creative in my experiences with her.
On a normal Sunday at Music Connections, kids are called up at the beginning of worship and sit on the platform in the middle of the room. We have a nice talk with a pastor and are invited to go to either Craft Play Time (for younger kids) or to Music Connections. One person I interviewed about music connections is Daria. Daria is one of the older kids in the group. Daria said, “It is really fun and exciting because of all of the different projects and activities.” I also interviewed Daniel, who is part of the younger kids of the group. “I like it because I get to hang out with my friends and do music.”
We walk to the basement and leave our drinks, coats, and other items on the counter outside of the room. Then, we head in and we’re invited to take our own space and relax. Some kids hide under tables, while others hide in between xylophones and a sliding wall that you can pull out to split the room in half. We have a moment of silence until Julie Mazer starts tapping a drum and we move one body part to the rhythm. Then she tells us that we can travel around the room. Kids start moving around the room in different ways. Some roll around the room, some stomp, some tiptoe, etc. All of this is based on the rhythm. Then, normally, Julie tells us to reach the rug taking several steps through the rhythm. “ I like offering a safe place for kids to feel confident, try something new, and offer their ideas.” Julie Mazer said.
Depending on the day, we might work on xylophones, writing lyrics for a rhythm and adding actions to it, doing hand chimes or drums, or maybe even practicing performing in front of the congregation. On communion Sundays, someone comes to invite us back up. On non-communion Sundays, we head upstairs and into the worship service to sit with our families.
I asked Daria and Daniel what their favorite part of Music Connections is. Daria replied, “When we do Ukeleles and the Christmas Eve Service.” Daniel answered, “My favorite part of Music Connections is probably getting to play instruments.” I like Music Connections because, in addition to all of the musical and multi-sensory aspects of it, I get to be with all of my friends. I also asked Julie Mazer the same question. She said, “The opportunity to work creatively with kids. I enjoy offering them a prompt and watching their creativity grow. They always create something better than I could have imagined.”