About Miss Jan

Jan Magray has combined her love for music, traditional musicianship training, and contemporary improvisational techniques into a unique method of learning musical skills while making music with others. Realizing the challenge facing most educational and after-school programs, she sought to design and test effective yet affordable ways to incorporate positive music expression to share musical success through singing and playing games in a safe and supportive context.

The outcome of this effort is the production of video songs prepared and presented by children for children. Jan holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from the University of Minnesota; an M.A. in Pastoral Ministry from Boston College; completed graduate certificate in Music Education at The Kodaly Center of America, Boston; and is a graduate of the musicianship program at Music for People.

Welcome to my web site and thank you for your visit!

I would like to explain that this project is specifically intended to be ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES AND MUSICAL EXPRESSION. With that in mind, please feel free to utilize the songs, chants, games, and actions to help develop those fundamental skills that are so necessary for music education.

This program actually evolved from my experience working in an after school program in the inner city with many children of varying ages and no materials. I created the background music tracks to allow me to be free to work with the children and lead them through the activities. I found that during the process of sharing these songs with the children that they really understood the underlying messages of learning to 'work together', 'listen to one another', 'value each one's contribution' and most importantly to discover their own 'voice'. They also made the connections between themselves and the natural environment by noticing the trees moving in response to the wind and the differences in the ways that animals move and express sound.

When I ask the children what they want from their musical experiences they answer that they want to "have fun". So, that is what these video songs do: they create a framework for children to create their own musical sound along with others while having fun. The underlying purpose, however, of these activities is to encourage WHOLE CHILD development while integrating moving, speaking, singing, listening, and expressing.

Literary critic, E.D Hirsch, Jr. and author of "The Making of Americans: Democracy and our Schools" is quoted in the New York Times, 2011, as stating: "Most of the word meanings we know are acquired indirectly, by intuitively guessing their meanings" and that the [key to make sure that students- from kindergarten on - grasp the meanings of what is heard or read is that they are offered substantial and coherent lessons concerning the human and natural worlds].

Video songs for the world are based on this concept of putting the language into the context of the human experience which is acted out by the children who become engaged and connected to the process and with one another. I encourage you to embrace the rhythms, words, underlying pulses or beats, and stories and create meaningful expression for the children in your care. I have learned one thing: that if I offer the format for such expression in a loving and supportive manner the children quickly take the lead and show me how to be successful and creative!

Jan Magray
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