HOW LONG HAVE YOU AND ANDREW BEEN TOGETHER?
Andrew and I started dating in the spring of 2009, just as my performance career was taking off. I was making a strong name for myself on the children’s music scene but really wanted to find “my someone” to share these great experiences with. That summer, I took a break from performing and teaching, it was the perfect time for me to focus on my personal life. I told him I was a music teacher and children’s musician but downplayed it quite a bit in order for us to really get to know each other. I was amazed at how easy it was to talk to him and even more surprised at how easily we made each other laugh. As we went into dating exclusively, the start of the school year and the performance calendar came around. I can still remember how surprised he was upon attending my shows, birthday party celebrations and community building performances. He was the first person, close to me, to see my creative vision and that vision was way bigger than anyone ever realized. Andrew jumped in, with two feet, to the role of being my right-hand music monkey. He was there for creativity, listening, strategizing and most importantly, positive support in taking chances that scared me. He became my best friend, rather quickly.
On March 18, 2010, he proposed to me and I happily accepted. I left my teaching position in June of 2010, I rebranded from Miss Scherling Sings the Hits to Music Monkey Jungle in July of 2010 and on October 24, 2010, we were married. It’s been quite a wild ride and we truly are 2 peas in a pod, I’m so grateful that we’re on this path together.
WHY DID YOU REBRAND FROM MISS SCHERLING SINGS THE HITS TO MUSIC MONKEY JUNGLE?
When I started performing, I was Miss Scherling, the elementary music teacher, who taught 200-250 children, daily and I was also single. There were certain songs I wrote that became instant favorites to all grade levels in the school and those instant favorites were “the hits of the music room". When I felt comfortable performing solo, in front of others, I decided that was my shtick. I wouldn’t change my name, I wouldn’t change my persona and I wouldn’t change my music. I would just be exactly who I was, except on stage. And, much to my surprise, this strategy worked. I also learned that I had a knack of bringing people together and my desire to build community grew stronger and stronger with event I ran.
After Andrew proposed to me, I knew the community building aspect of my mission needed to be at the forefront of this company. When it was titled Miss Scherling Sings the Hits, it was about me. Now I was on a mission for the company to be about connection. One of my biggest, best and all-time favorite hits, not only of my classroom but still to this day, is the song Little Music Monkeys. It was written as a tool for me to assess how well my students could keep a steady beat. It was also written as a guide to body percussion, high to low contour, spatial awareness and movement coordination. It didn’t hurt that all children love to be called music monkeys and it brings everyone together in having fun.
I focused on the title Little Music Monkeys for quite a while and then had a vision of music monkeys swinging from trees and playing instruments and building a community where everyone of all ages and abilities felt welcome and accepted. It was obvious, that community would be called Music Monkey Jungle. I raced to the computer, bought the domain name, registered as an LLC and here we are today.
WHAT WAS YOUR ORIGINAL VISION FOR MUSIC MONKEY JUNGLE AND DOES IT MATCH TODAY'S?
Back in 2010, my vision was to bring high-quality, interactive music, movement and dance education to audiences of all ages and abilities, through my original lyrics. When our programs were on weekends, our audience ages ran a span of Pre-K to upper elementary school. After I left the classroom, our programs went to a Monday through Friday schedule, with weekends being dedicated to birthday party celebrations and community building performances. Since elementary aged children are in school during the week, focus went to our littlest baby and toddler music monkeys.
When it's safe for The Music Monkey Jungle Studio (604 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147) to open, we'll be a major hub for private lessons and instruction, parties (DJ dance, karaoke, sing along cinema, gaming), celebrations (of all kinds), rented rehearsal space and music ensembles (choral and instrumental) for all ages. Our safety protocols will strictly adhere to safest practices according to CDC guidelines, virtual participation will be offered and sensory friendly options will be offered.
HOW ARE YOU CHILDREN INVOLVED IN MUSIC MONKEY JUNGLE?
We have 2 daughters, Tova (7) and Orly (6), who sing, dance, laugh, play, move, imagine, create, twirl and have no problem telling us what they like and don’t like. They are both extremely musical, love playing instruments, dancing, singing and performing. When we’re making child-oriented decisions about programs, content and what kids like, we listen to their answers as gospel. When we’re practicing with new equipment or material, they are directly involved and help us learn what does or doesn’t work. We are a small, family business and look to have both of them involved, as much as possible.