Peggy D. Bennett, Professor of Music Education at the Conservatory of Music at Oberlin College and Director of the early childhood MusicPlay program (ages 3-5), thought she was going to spend her career being a high school band director. In her last semester of college at Ball State University, however, she fell in love with teaching music to children. Since then, Peggy has taught preschool through elementary ages, often simultaneously with teaching undergraduate and graduate classes of music education and education majors at several universities: Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Arlington, and Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.
A hallmark of Peggy’s classes, for both the tall and the small, is the sense of playfulness that makes its way into nearly all discussions, presentations, and activities. Her many research and pedagogical articles focus on wondering. Specifically, Peggy thinks about the choices teachers make in their daily interactions with students and how to make those choices with both short-term and long-term wellness in mind: social, pedagogical, musical, cognitive, linguistic, and physical wellness. Peggy has previously authored or co-authored five books (SongWorks 1: Singing in the Education of Children, SongWorks 2: Singing from Sound to Symbol, SongPlay: A Collection of Playful Songs for Children, and RhymePlay: Playing with Children and Mother Goose) and presented her special brand of thinking across the U.S., plus Japan, Australia, England, and Canada.
As with previous writings, Playing with the Classics readers will find Peggy’s signature tenets: respect for teachers’ abilities, interests, and freedoms to choose; eagerness to offer children fun, engaging lessons that tap into their inherent imaginations; attention to preserving the nuances that make music musical; curiosity about how children think, see, and learn about their world; and playfulness that inserts an element of fun in all activities.
Peggy shares her time between Oberlin, Ohio and Bozeman, Montana, both places of beauty where she and her husband Harley live with their cairn terrier Cooper. More about Peggy’s work, writings, and interests can be found at her website at www.peggydbennett.com.