Allison Luff joins us from Saskatchewan as our new KinderNotes instructor
The Toronto Children’s Chorus is thrilled to welcome new team members to our artistic staff this season, including Allison Luff, who joins us from Saskatchewan as our new KinderNotes instructor. Allison will be running classes at both the Midtown and North York locations of the TCC. Having pursued music education across Canada, the United States, Germany and Hungary, Allison brings a global perspective to teaching music and movement to our youngest choristers, aged three to six.
We chatted with Allison about her teaching methods, inspirations, and what most excites her about living in Toronto.
What sparked your passion for music?
I’ve played the piano for as long as I can remember. Music was always a part of my life growing up.
In Saskatchewan, the Symphony would come to our school as part of its education and outreach program. I remember hearing them perform, Peter and the Wolf, in our school gymnasium.
My parents encouraged me to attend concerts. When the opera came through, we saw the operas, Marriage of Fiagro and Madame Butterfly, as well as countless ballets, musicals and even Reveen the Illusionist. I consider myself very lucky to have grown up attending so many wonderful performances.
What music memory do you cherish the most?
My grandmother loved to sing. When my brother, sister and I were little she would sing Perry Como’s, “A You’re Adorable”. It was composed in 1948, so it definitely comes from a different era. It’s the sweetest song and was a favourite bedtime ritual of mine when she came to visit.
What excites you the most about joining the TCC as our KinderNotes instructor?
I’m very excited to work with so many young singers. My goal is to encourage natural singing in a fun environment so that the students are set up for years of music ahead.
How would you describe your teaching methods?
As a teacher, I have received extensive training in the Kodály concept. This pedagogy was developed by Hungarian composer and philosopher, Zoltán Kodály. Similar to the Suzuki Method, it is a sound-before-sight approach to learning where students discover for themselves the elements of music through movement and singing. Kodály believed an individual must experience the music, developing his or her imagination, to fully understand or perform it. Kodály advocated to train all elements of musicality which he believed include a well-trained ear, well-trained intelligence, well-trained heart and a well-trained hand. As you can see, technique is only one part of Kodály’s philosophy. Love, understanding and meaning are equal to ability.
Who is your favourite composer?
When I was younger, I really loved the music of Tchaikovsky, Mozart and Debussy. They are still among my favourites, but since my travels to Hungary, I’ve really fallen in love with the music of Bartok and Kodály.
Having moved to Toronto recently, what is one thing that has surprised you most about the city?
When I visited Toronto in the past, I spent most of my time seeing the sights. Now that I am living here, I’ve been exposed to so many different neighbourhoods. I look forward to attending concerts and eating some of the great food the city has to offer.