Our Teachers

Meet the Music Together SoHy Teachers!

All teachers have successfully completed the live Music Together® Teacher Training, which is built on research in early childhood and music development. We keep our skills fresh through workshops every semester and advanced trainings offered by Music Together Worldwide.

photo Ellen Kliman

Director, Music Together SoHy

My journey as a teacher began in college 30 years ago, while I was still a voice performance student at Oberlin Conservatory.  I was picked by the faculty to tutor ear training and sightreading, and became fascinated with the process of trying to figure out how all my different students actually learn. I was hooked, and soon added voice, piano, and opera appreciation to the mix. I graduated with a B.A. and B.Mus. from Oberlin, and moved to the DC area where I worked as a voice and piano teacher while pursuing my M.Mus. from the University of Maryland. I performed early music, cabaret, opera, operetta, musical theatre and chamber music throughout the Washington area, and can still be heard weekly at the contemporary mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral.

In 2008, my husband Todd and I welcomed the first of our two children, and three months later I began taking him to Music Together classes. Music Together classes were life-changing for me. I had so much fun there! And even though I thought I knew everything I needed to know to teach my child music (hey, I was just looking for other folks with young children who loved music, to build my community), I realized I wanted more. Every moment of that class was flooded with new experiences for me and my child - the variety in the music, the different ways to move or sing, the rich variety of the content. I was so impressed by what I found there that I pursued early childhood music training, and became a Music Together teacher myself. 

I have decades of experience behind me teaching voice and piano lessons (including more than six years teaching for Music Together Montgomery) in neighboring Montgomery County. My high school voice students have gone on to study music and theater at schools such as New England Conservatory Boston Conservatory, University of Southern California, Northwestern University, Harvard University and Yale University, and some have continued to careers in the performing arts.    

But what I dreamed of all that time was to bring my music studio home, to Hyattsville and neighboring communities in Prince George's County. As a parent, I grew increasingly dissatisfied with having to drive my children across the county line to participate in classes in music, dance, and theater. Music Together SoHy was born of my conviction that the families of Hyattsville and the surrounding communities ought to have high-quality programming for our children here, in our own community.  

Over the last few years, I've moved my private teaching studio to Hyattsville, and now opened this Music Together center.  Sharing my experience, expertise and love for music and children in the same town where I live has been one of the most deeply satisfying experiences of my career to date.

     
photo Teresa Jimenez
I remember exactly when my singing career began — right after losing the solo spot in Handel’s Messiah to another fifth grader. 
 
That was when I knew how much I loved to make music, to sing, to be part of an ensemble, to experience the sheer joy of tuneful sound all around me.
 
From that defining and humbling moment, I went on to perform, alone and in company, in as wide a variety of genres as I could — choral, music theater, opera, jazz, funk, rock ’n’ roll, folk and country. I wanted to learn it all and do it all. I went on to study voice performance and theater at Florida State University, where, in addition, I worked to develop my songwriting. I seem to have settled recently into a performance style that falls under the umbrella of folk/alt country. 
 
All this time, music education has been of vital importance to me. Since I was a teenager, I have worked in the worlds of early childhood education and childcare. Several years ago, those two worlds came together for me, and I found myself leading preschool kids in song, and then later, more formal family classes in Brooklyn, NY. Those experiences were such a blast, I can’t tell you. I don’t think I have ever had more fun making music. I knew immediately that this was what I wanted to devote my days to. 
 
After moving in short order from Brooklyn to Santa Cruz and then to Miami, I welcomed the first of my two daughters. It was not long at all before I began teaching family classes. I loved it — the give and take, the sense of discovery on the kids’ faces, the sheer joy in the room. It also happened to be a pretty much perfect way for me to continue doing what I loved while spending time with my newborn (talk about early music exposure!). 
 
One or two classes quickly grew to more, and before I knew it I was running my own family music business in Miami — administering and overseeing a multilingual music curriculum for early education that I developed and teaching all week with one or both of my young daughters next to me. 
 
I envisioned many years in Miami, but this past winter the house next door to my sister in Hyattsville popped up on the market. I’d grown to love the town over the 13 years my sister had lived there, and the chance to be so close to family, and to have my girls get to spend more time with their cousins — well, it just seemed too perfect an opportunity.
 
I moved to Hyattsville in the Spring, and have come to appreciate even more the town’s great charm and sense of community. It was here in Hyattsville that I finally tried a Music Together class with Ellen — such a new experience, to be a parent in class instead of a teacher! — and became hooked. 
 
Our family embarked on a new level of musical engagement. I got to see both girls master new musical elements and delve even more deeply into the possibilities of musical creation and improvisation. And since the Music Together collection was playing so often in the house and in the car, we all (Dad, too!) could sing together. One big, happy, singing family!
 
I wanted to discover more about this dynamic and rewarding program, and was impressed to learn about the many years of deep research that lies behind the Music Together curriculum, and the theory of parent engagement and education. And I was fascinated to discover the painstaking process by which songs are constructed so that kids are drawn to singing them.
 
This summer I completed my teacher training, and I could not be more excited to combine my experience with this new knowledge, and to share Music Together with my new community.