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Who is Timmy Abell?

Education of Young Children / Smart Start / Day Care

Timmy Abell

     Timmy has been a featured performer and workshop leader at conferences focusing on early childhood development. He has also worked with Smart Start (a North Carolina Grant Initiative) and Resource Assistance Centers to bring music into the pre-school community and to give workshops for the care providers.

     Timmy offers a one day residency for Day Care Providers which combines an in-depth workshop and several demonstration performances for young children. Following is a complete description of this early childhood residency. Click here for the care provider's workshop proposal.

     These documents are also available for download:




Target population (age): Care-providers / Children (3-6)

Maximum # of children / group: Workshop Participants (35) / Children (100 each location)

Type of program:

    A one day residency consisting of four presentations:

     First, three mini-concert performances for selected locations. (These locations can be determined by lottery among the workshop participants, or by any other fair means.) These concerts of music and storytelling are designed especially for very young children. They will feature an introduction to 8 musical instruments, constant participation by the children, and Timmy's demonstration of various techniques to be discussed in the workshop. Care-providers are welcome to invite others to their location, to maximize the number of participants.

     Then, an (evening) in-depth participatory workshop for teachers and child-care providers, emphasizing a variety of methods and techniques for using music to enhance both the learning and play environments of young children.

Duration of program: Workshop (up to 2 hours) / Concerts (45 minutes each)

Description of program:

     The workshop can be scheduled for up to two and a half hours in length, depending on feasibility for the sponsoring organization. Teachers and care providers will learn techniques and specific activities which they can take back and use immediately (and on a continuing basis) with their children. Printed resource materials will be provided.

     The concert will involve children in singing, hand motions, keeping rhythms, possibly a sit-down square dance and/or a "Bear Hunt". Listening skills will be developed as several folk instruments are introduced. Group participation will be emphasised.

Major goals and objectives of program:

     To make teachers and child-care providers more comfortable with various uses of music as an important and effective tool in child development. They will leave with a deeper understanding of how and why music can be such a positive and powerful influence in a child's first five years.

     To give children a positive impression of the fun of participating in music. To reinforce and to bring out a love of simple folk songs, and to enhance their ability to listen to musical details, and to enjoy participating in organized musical activities.


     Timmy Abell has completed the training seminar, "Artists as Educators", administered and taught by the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. He brings a wealth of material suitable for young children, and over 20 years experience with young audiences. Timmy has completed this residency numerous times with the Technical Assistance Center in Winston Salem, NC; also with Resource and Referrel Centers in Caldwell County and Ashe County, NC; also for teachers in various school systems in NC, SC, VA, AL and Texas.

Equipment / supplies / support materials used in program implementation:

     It will be necessary for the teachers and care providers to have access to either a cassette player, or preferably a CD player, at their facilities in order to properly follow up with the workshop activities.

    Timmy's workshop hand-out materials are quite extensive, and include printed explanations of all presented activities as well as extensive resources for future reference.

     One of Timmy's award-winning recordings will be given to each facility represented at the workshop. Other recordings will be available for purchase.

Ways in which the child care provider can prepare their children for this program:

     Any use of music, either to create background atmosphere or used in group singing or other play activities.

Activities the child care provider can use to integrate and extend the goals and objectives of this program into the learning environment (post enrichment):

     Language & Literature:

  1. Many folk songs came from poems. Present the poem first, then the song.
  2. Ballads are songs which tell a story. Listen to a ballad, then discuss the story.
  3. Memorize the words to a simple folk song.

     Science & Math:

  1. Talk about music and musical instruments, vibration, how instruments work.
  2. Create various rhythms, clapping hands, etc. and count the beats.
  3. Collect objects which will represent various families of musical instruments: blade of grass, coke bottle, comb with waxed paper, rubber band, spoons.

     Music & Movement:

  1. This entire project involves many ways to incorporate music and movement into the daily routine.

     Creative & Dramatic Arts:

  1. Children can make a project of memorizing and performing songs for the group.
  2. Children can make up new verses for simple folk songs.
  3. Children can rehearse acting out the story as a ballad is playing, then perform.

Care Provider Workshop Proposal

Title: "Music: A Powerful Tool for Transforming Your Center's Atmosphere"

Date: Open

Workshop Leader:
     Timmy Abell
     379 Beaverdam Road
     Asheville, NC 28804
     (828) 253-7225

Art Form: Music

Target Audience:
    Day Care Providers /
This workshop is adapted from a similar one for K-5 classroom teachers.

    This workshop is designed to examine the effective use of music in head start / smart start / day care centers, with an emphasis on the potential positive outcomes which can be achieved both in the children's learning process, and in their attitudes and behavior, when the right music is used with care at appropriate times.

Approach: The workshop presenter will:

  1. Provide an overview of ways that care-providers (even those not musically inclined) can effectively introduce music into their centers on a regular basis.
  2. Discuss "The Mozart Effect", and its implications for enhancing both children's performance and the general playroom atmosphere.
  3. Lead teachers in several learning activities involving folk songs, which can be taken directly back to their centers. Intended outcomes for each activity will be discussed. These activities may involve the development of language skills, motor skills, co-operative social skills, etc.
  4. Demonstrate 7 specific ways that recorded music can be used as a tool to create various desired effects in the day care center.
  5. Share materials and resources which will ensure success of the workshop over the long term.
  6. Discuss the usefulness of music related activities in the context of developing the whole child, with reference to Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Results for Care Providers: At the end of this workshop, care providers will:

  • Have the tools and knowledge to maintain a clear strategy for using music in unusual and creative ways every day.
  • Have an understanding of "The Mozart Effect", and it's potential implications for enhancing children's performance and the day care center atmosphere.
  • Be prepared to present some specific activities for their groups which will be fun and effective for reaching specific teaching goals.
  • Be familiar with Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences and how this theory can be implemented using folk music in the center.
  • Be able to recognize and utilize materials and resources which are appropriate for similar activities and outcomes.

Rationale: Why is this worth doing?

  1. "Music programs in our schools have been decimated," says John Mahlman, executive director of the National Music Educators Conference.
  2. "The lack of education about just great American folk music and songs in schools today amounts to a kind of cultural disenfranchisement," says Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor of Miami's New World Symphony.
  3. "Indeed, I think the very idea that you can educate young people in a balanced and meaningful way, and treat music as 'optional' is simply absurd," says Michael Greene, president of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS).
  4. "Music long has been recognized as a powerful communicative force that affects attitude, mood, emotions and behavior." from JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association)
  5. Care Providers can fulfill the need of the time.

Descriptive Summary:

     This workshop will focus on developing the skills and a strategy for increasing the use of recorded instrumental and vocal folk music as a powerful tool in any learning environment. Care providers do not need to be musicians or singers to take full advantage of this workshop, but it will be assumed that your center is now or can eventually be equipped with a CD player.

     Care providers will learn about "The Mozart Effect", and how to use this knowledge and research with purpose and creativity to reach desired outcomes every day. The workshop will be centered around a presentation of seven specific ways to utilize music for the enhancement of the learning environment.

     Participants will work interactively with the presenter and within small groups as several examples of group activities (and their intended outcomes) are illustrated with the use of simple folk songs. Care providers will learn specific techniques which they can use immediately with their children; and they will develop a specific strategy for implementing similar activities and techniques over the long term.

     Part of this workshop will be devoted to an understanding of the multi-dimensional uses of music as it relates to Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences. Care providers will learn not only how to use music effectively in their centers, but also why it can have such a transforming influence.

    Used creatively, instrumental and vocal music can uplift the atmosphere of your center to a level you may never have imagined possible, making your work easier, more enjoyable and more effective. Care providers will leave this workshop with renewed knowledge, skills and inspiration for creating music-filled centers of happy, caring and intelligent children.

Logistical Considerations (Flexible):

  • Maximum 40 participants
  • 2 hours of instruction with one break
  • Large space with tables and movable chairs for participants if possible
  • Table (6'-8') for workshop leader
  • Copy of workshop materials for each participant

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