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Meet Our Faculty

Tara Neeley

Music and Movement Teacher

Mrs. Neeley loves the magical moments when her music and movement students are buzzing with energy and excitement! She makes her students laugh when she’s so animated and passionate about what she’s teaching. Did you know she is a pyrographic artist? Look it up!

Impacting Students
I really enjoy a teaching a particular spoken poem in our PreK pirate unit called "The Ship Goes Sailing." One of the reasons it is such a fun and impactful lesson is that we do multiple iterations of the poem to learn steady beat and high/low. First, we use hand percussion to keep a steady beat, then we move to melodic percussion on xylophones to learn high/low, creating the sound of rolling ocean waves. At the same time we have another group moving with a parachute to the beat, creating high/low, and the rippling waves. The best part, of course, is when "Goldie" the fish goes flying off the parachute up to the ceiling during the storm! I love this lesson because children are learning and accessing music through a variety of experiences, but in such a playful way. Our room is full of music and giggles! THAT is what it is all about!

Lifelong Learner
I attended a Lynn Kleiner workshop in Boulder that was specifically tailored to the youngest musicians. For me, it was so impactful because it wasn't just teaching attendees one song after another. Rather, it focused on taking a song and showing how you can teach it in multiple, child-appropriate playful ways - be it music concepts, instruments, singing, movement or manipulatives. Take a song...learn it...dive deeper, then deeper yet, and still deeper again.

Favorite Teaching Moment
Any favorite teaching moment for me is always going to involve laughter, love, and making music. One particular moment that sticks with me is Grandparents and Special Friends Day with kindergarten. It was a beautiful thing to watch all of our special guests dancing and singing carefree, not only with their students but all of the others as well. Music did what it does best...bringing people of all ages together!

Professional Passion
1.) Connecting music with other subjects and classes. 2.) Writing short songs for use in early childhood - early elementary. 3.) Teaching music theory and instrumental music.

The Music That Moves Me
My favorite time period in music is the Romantic period. During this period, composers really took a turn from a display of technique virtuosity to focus on the depth to which music can express emotion. Through their quest to convey passion and emotions many musical innovations were made including expanded instrumentation and instrument capabilities, broader dynamic ranges, and melodies/harmonies became more complex through greater variation in rhythm and chromaticism.

Life Goal
To have a book published.

Fun Fact
I was awarded Newspaper Carrier of the Year in eighth grade. I delivered about 150 papers every day on inline skates. I learned to have appreciation of the older generation, Brisk iced tea and many WWII stories. It also taught me many lessons in respect, social skills, customer service and how to skate really well - especially when chased by dogs.

Favorite Childhood Memory
Spending time outside with my many pets, including a rescued duck, or collecting and photographing nature. I was an only child after all!

Joined Graland in...

Also Known As ...
Music Conservatory Teacher, Character Task Force Member, Music Director for Grade 5 Musical

Wooster, Ohio

BM in music education from Ohio Northern University

Graland Country Day School

Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.