Teaching

Sarah O'Kennedy, B.A., H.dip.Ed., ATCL, is a singer, voice coach, and Early Years and Primary level music specialist based in Limerick.  She started Little Stars Music School in 2014 and currently teaches Early Years music classes to over 70 children in Castletroy every week. 

As well as teaching music privately, in Pre-Schools, and mother & toddler groups, she also runs workshops for Primary School teachers on music teaching methods using the Kodaly approach. She has taught choir in Gaelscoil Chaladh an Treoigh in Limerick and The Dance Academy Limerick choir for their annual show. She trained in Colourstrings Kindergarten Foundation Level in London and regularly attends Kodaly music courses in Ireland, England and Hungary.  

 

"Thank you for your practical approach. Simple effective ideas. Teachers were delighted with the content." Monaleen Primary School

"Throughout the Music and Movement sessions, Sarah brought a high level of energy and kept the group focused, while integrating movement and rhythm into each song.  She has the expertise and ability to engage parents and toddlers, in every session - even the most timid child." Damien Ahern Community Development Officer, West Limerick Resources CLG

 

Primary Music Teaching

Something that Sarah hears very frequently from Primary School teachers is that unless you have had specific music training, teaching music in the classroom can seem quite daunting, particularly if you are unsure of how exactly to teach a certain concept, and to what level.  Sarah offers very simple and practical music teaching ideas, to all levels, within the music curriculum framework.  Contact her on 085 7170729 for more details.

Feedback from Monaleen Primary School Limerick Teacher and Student Workshops 2018 & 2019:

"Thank you for your practical approach. Simple effective ideas. Teachers were delighted with the content."

"It was so suited to the level of the children."   "It was focused on the music curriculum". 

"The teachers would love to have you again."  "...practical music tips that were simply achievable"

"Teachers commented on your gentle nature and how it had a calming influence on the children"

 

Little Stars Music School: Early Years Classes (2-6 years)

These are weekly group sessions for the 2-3, 3-4 and 4-6 year age groups. Classes run from September to June each year and are tailor-made to the specific age groups.  It is a child-centredcolourful and fun way to introduce your child to music from a very young age, in an enjoyable, stimulating and structured way. Children will love singing, clapping, marching, playing games and using percussion instruments, while learning about core musical concepts such as rhythm, pitch, dynamics and melody. Participating in group music classes at a young age boosts confidence, aids speech development and motor skills and stimulates creativity and imagination.  Classes are quite structured and are a great way for a child to socialise with their peers. 

LittleStars Music is also an ideal pre-cursor to learning an instrument and Sarah is the first in Limerick to teach using the Colourstrings early music approach. In Finland, Colourstrings has been a core part of the state music education for more than thirty years and is now an internationally respected way of teaching music to children. It is also fast becoming the UK's most popular early years music program. 

How long do the classes run for and do I need to book in advance? 

The classes run as a course and are usually 10 or 12 weeks in length and yes, advance booking is essential as classes tend to fill up quickly.  To maximise enjoyment and learning, ​class size is restricted to 10 children, and therefore it is not a drop-in class.

When are the classes?

Classes are on Tuesdays or Thursdays upstairs in Castletroy Shopping Centre, Limerick, from September to June. Saturday classes take place in Drumroe Village Hall, University of Limerick and run from September to May/June. Contact Sarah for more details.

Tuesday/Thursday classes (dependent on numbers):

11.30-12.10  2-3 years

3-3.40pm      3-4 years

3.50-4.30      4-6 years                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Saturday classes (dependent on numbers):

11.30-12.10   2-3 years

12.20-1pm     3-4 years

1.10-1.50pm  4-6 years   

All up-to-date information is on the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/limericklittlestars

How long are the classes and how do parents participate?

Little Stars Music classes are 40 minutes in length. Parents stay with younger children and enjoy the class almost as much as their little ones!  When children get to 4 years they can participate on their own.

What happens at Little Stars Music classes?

Children will be learning all about key concepts of music through singing, clapping and marching to the beat, rhymes, playing games, movement and dance and using percussion instruments. Younger children will have lots of bouncing, finger play, instrument games, movement (lots!), cuddle time and winding down with teddy at the end.  Children of 3 years + will be taking more of a solo role in class, practicing more rhythm, part & solo singing, reading musical symbols. participating in more challenging songs/games, recognising differences in tempo, etc.  Children of 4 years and up will start to read simple notation, rhythm and solfa symbols, use hand signs, understand and produce more complicated rhythms, follow songs/phrases of music either singing out loud or in their heads, recognise more instruments; develop more coordination and anticipate phrases, changes in tempo/dynamics in movement and dance, the list goes on!

Is there a book the children follow?

There are 3 sets of Colourstrings books and accompanying CD's we use during the year, one for each term, and they contain the core songs we use to teach all musical skills.  They are reused each year as the children progress to learning more challenging concepts.

How does Little Stars Music benefit my child?

Little Stars Music is different in that children will not just be enjoying but also learning all about music. Classes involve using most of the senses and ultimately lead to an intrinsic understanding and LOVE of music! Little Stars Music also boosts confidence, aids motor skills and stimulates creativity and imagination. It is an ideal pre-cursor to learning an instrument. 

Just like learning an instrument, the longer children attend classes the more they will learn.   If children continue classes from a young age up to 5 or 6 years they will for example:

  1. Have a strong knowledge and love of music
  2. Be able to sing confidently and with good intonation
  3. Be able to look at a simple rhythm they see written down and clap, or tap on a percussion instrument
  4. Sing a large repertoire of songs, with words, in solfa (do re mi), using hand signs, saying rhythm words (Ta, Ti Ti)
  5. Be able to read simple notation and compose their own little pieces of music
  6. Be able to sing in parts and in canon, sing/play an ostinato

Reviews of Little Stars Music

"My little girl absolutely loved Sarah’s classes! She gained so much from “Music Lessons”as we called them! Starting with love for music, truly enjoying music, recognizing different music instruments, wanting to play music instruments when she is bigger and ending with confidence singing and friendships!
I highly recommend Little Stars Music lessons!"

"Such a great class with Sarah would highly recommend it!"

"Our little girl loves these classes and she can't wait to see Sarah again after summer break  

"I attended the Little Stars Music class with my daughter who is 3 years old. The classes were fabulous, as an Occupational Therapist who works with children, I just fell in love with them. Sarah brings so much fun to her music and dance classes and they are packed with cognitive, social, emotional and physical developmental skills for kids."

"My son enjoyed this class and Sarah very much. Sarah is great with children, she is very positive and upbeat, her music classes are very interactive, the kids get to use the musical instruments, to sing and dance. Cannot wait for the new term!"


 

Voice Training

Sarah has been teaching voice for 13 years. She teaches singing to all ages, and students come for many reasons, whether it is an adult wishing to re-discover their voice, someone wishing to learn new songs and have some fun, or a student sitting their junior or leaving cert practicals or doing Associated Board, London College, Trinity College or Royal Irish Academy exams.  Contact Sarah on 085 7170729 for more information.