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Kindermusik making noise in New Richmond

Ginger Close, center, sits with a group of children during one of her Kindermusik sessions for her four-week practicum as part of her requirements to become a licensed Kindermusik owner/educator. (Submitted photo)

Music has always been a huge part of New Richmond native Ginger Close’s life ever since she was little. Now that she has grown up, Close wants to use her musical talents to educate area children by starting her own Kindermusik program in New Richmond and Baldwin.

“A friend of mine who lives in Des Moines took her daughter to Kindermusik and she told me that it was exactly what I should be doing given my vocal talents and my ability for music and teaching,” Close said. “She was completely right. I love it. It is amazing and it takes everything that I feel I was given as a gift and allows me to give it to other people.”

Kindermusik, which got its start in the United States in 1978, is designed to help young children develop cognitively and developmentally. The program is used by more than 1.5 million families more than 70 countries around the world.

“Kindermusik is music and movement classes for newborns up to age 7,” Close said. “They are caregiver and child classes put together. Everything we do is very much structured as to their developmental stages and how to further them along.”

After high school, Close spent a year at a theatre school in New York then transferred to a school just outside of Chicago to finish her degree in musical theatre. When she finished college, Close performed professionally for a year before moving back to the New Richmond area and doing a stint with the traveling children’s theatre company, CLIMB Theatre.

“I’ve done everything from substitute teaching to teaching theatre classes when I was in college, so teaching has been a vital part of my life from college on,” Close said. “Then I really got into teaching children when I was with CLIMB, and then a friend of mine brought her little one to Kindermusik in Des Moines, and she said it is so huge in the big cities with long waiting lists to get in.”

That is when Close started her long journey to become a Kindermusik owner/educator. The process starts with a vocal review with a Kindermusik professional to ensure the applicant can carry a tune and read music. After passing her first vocal review, Close took a multitude of online courses and went through a four-week practicum (a course of study for teachers that involves actually working in the area of study) before taking a final test with Kindermusik for her license.

“After you finish your practicum, you do a final review with Kindermusik and you either pass or fail,” Close said. “And I got a pass. The whole thing was a huge success and the kids had a fun time.”

Close says the response to kindermusik has been very positive, but she will most likely not be able to start her first session of classes until this winter.

“So far, the response has been really good,” Close said. “The only problem I am having is that people are still adjusting to getting their kids in school and getting everything situated. I have a lot of people who are ready to go for the winter session, but the fall wasn’t quite there yet. The interest has been big though.”

Ideally, Close would like to keep the class sizes at around 10 children and caregivers, for a total of 20 participants, in each class. Right now, Close will offer four classes through Kindermusik, including a baby class, toddler class, preschooler class and a big kid class, with each class going for about an hour starting at 4 p.m. on Tuesdays.

“It is a big city kind of thing that I want to bring to New Richmond because it is growing into a really big suburb,” Close said. “Music has always been such a huge thing here and the arts have always been really important to the people of New Richmond. This is something they can do to start their children early and foster that love of music and the arts.”

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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