Fronting her own Karyn Kuhl Band, Kuhl captivates fans with her guitar prowess and lyrics that resonate with evocative tales of longing, passion and connection. She has been an impactful part of the Hoboken rock scene since the ’80s, performing in Sexpod, Gut Bank and other bands.
She also captures the hearts and attention of youngsters through her music program, Little RocknRollers; she has been teaching music to children for more than 20 years. Her fall 2022 semester, for children 6 months to 4 years old, begins on Sept. 13 in Hoboken.
Playing guitar and singing her original children’s tunes — as well as popular adult songs from various eras and genres, including Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” The Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” and Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” — Kuhl encourages students to sing and dance along and nurture their musicality. Students are offered drums, shakers, bells and ukuleles to use while Kuhl performs.
“While it may look like the kids are just having a good old time, they are anticipating patterns through repetition, making connections through melodic and rhythmic sounds,” Kuhl says.
“These are the building blocks of their brain development. Watching it translate directly to verbal and motor skills right before your eyes is magical. Most importantly, it’s fun.”
Kuhl finds joy in her work, observing children develop. “Over the years I’ve watched little ones learn to talk in real time during classes,” she says.
Children must be accompanied by an adult. “Adult participation is a key element of the experience,” says Kuhl. “Children model the behavior of their caregiver as well as their teacher.” I would have welcomed an excuse to rock out with Kuhl had she been giving classes when my children were young.
Kuhl says she was skeptical when she started the program in 2001. ” ‘Music for babies?’ I couldn’t believe people paid me for that!”
But now she is confident that early exposure to music benefits children, noting that it can come in many forms. “My mother did sing to me and my siblings from birth and we’re all musicians,” she says.
“I’ve been a musician living in Hoboken since the ’80s and morphed into a kiddie musician as well in 2001. I’ve merely adapted my sound to the new demographic. … I’ve always loved children so when kid music programs became all the rage, I just happened to be in the right town.”
Teaching children surrounds Kuhl in love and affection and requires she set aside her stormy original songs for playful rock ‘n’ roll.
“They are the sweetest audience to play for, and obviously I keep it light,” she says. “I don’t play my grown-up tunes about love and loss … my assistant Julie Harari and I strive to create a loving and safe environment for all to flourish.”
Classes are held on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings at SMT Center at 731 Washington St. in Hoboken.
We need your help!
CONTRIBUTE TO NJARTS.NET
Since launching in September 2014, NJArts.net, a 501(c)(3) organization, has become one of the most important media outlets for the Garden State arts scene. And it has always offered its content without a subscription fee, or a paywall. Its continued existence depends on support from members of that scene, and the state’s arts lovers. Please consider making a contribution of any amount to NJArts.net via PayPal, or by sending a check made out to NJArts.net to 11 Skytop Terrace, Montclair, NJ 07043.