Music Together: Teaching a Love for Music Pays Off
A dad who dances with his tiny baby girl. A mom who can’t hold a tune but announces proudly after a couple sessions that she’s “getting better.” A little boy who typically sticks close to mommy but finally strays long enough to strut his stuff.
It’s witnessing moments like these that made Kym Johnson, director of Music City Music Together, fall in love with this international music program. Once a week, children under 6 and their caregivers meet for 45 minutes to dance, play instruments and learn songs from one of the nine Music Together CD collections.
“This is my passion,” says Johnson (“Miss Kym”) with tears in her eyes. “I can’t even talk about it without getting emotional.” In fact, though she’s been teaching Music Together for 13 years, she realized she’d found her calling the first time she sat in on a class. “I instantly knew that this is what I wanted to do,” she says. “I can sing, I can be free, I can have fun and get people to have fun, and I get to work with kids and do something that is meaningful.”
Even as a little girl, Johnson was all about music. Using her hairbrush as a microphone, she sang in front of the mirror and dreamt of being the next superstar. While in college at Birmingham Southern, she earned a degree in music theater, represented the state of Alabama in the 1987 Miss America Pageant and met her future husband, singer/songwriter Buck Johnson.
After college, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and music, where she met a music therapist who inspired her to consider music therapy. When Johnson decided she couldn’t go back to school for four more years, the music therapist mentioned a program called Music Together. Johnson called the parent company to find out more about the program, and after sitting in on a class in Newport Beach, she decided to complete Music Together’s teacher training program. She taught in Newport for about a year, and then launched Music Together in another location filled with young couples and children. Her business took off, and within eight years, it encompassed 26 classes a week and five teachers.
So, when she and her husband decided to move to Nashville for his career, she sold her business and brought Music Together to Music City in 2007. Today, she has three teachers and offers 19 weekly family classes in Green Hills, Bellevue and Franklin, as well as seven preschool classes through the Music Together Preschool Program. She teaches 17 classes a week, and somehow, she’s just as enthusiastic and energetic for the last class of the week as she is for the first. While she does admit that she occasionally gets annoyed when Friday rolls around and the songs she’s been singing all week are stuck in her head, she’s hardly complaining. After all, she’s one of the lucky ones — her job is also her retreat.
“Even if I’m having one of those mornings where everything seems to be going wrong,” she says. “The minute somebody walks in, I see some cute little face, and then I start singing and forget about every single thing in my life.”
February is American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness for the leading cause of death in American women: heart disease. And perhaps no one will be sporting her red more proudly than 20-year-old Nashvillian Nykia Babb.
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