Music To My Ears

22 Jun Music To My Ears

Getting to know Montclare’s Music Teacher, Noel Cohen!


Hi, Noel.  I know you live on the UWS. Where did you grow up?

I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and went to public school from 1st grade through 8th grade. I started out at PS 165 and then attended the Booker T. Washington School.


When did music become important to you?

When I was 8 years old, my father gave me “Meet the Beatles,” and I was entranced. Watching them on the Ed Sullivan show and then getting all their records as they came out. I started playing guitar that year at my full-blown “hippie” summer camp, Camp Thoreau.

Please tell me more about your musical background.

In fact, I became a working musician when I was 17 years old. I left home and started playing different music gigs around New York City. As a guitarist, I went on the road with Evelyn “Champagne” King and disco singer Viola Wills! That was quite a learning experience…


What’s your favorite thing about teaching music to young children?

Teaching music to young children is like being on a play-date that never ends! I get to do my favorite thing in the world, play and sing music, with my favorite people in the world, 2, 3 and 4-year-olds.


Why do you think music is a significant component of an early childhood program?

Music is a multi-information vehicle, there is so much information being transmitted, from language to math, without it ever feeling like work! You could essentially run a Preschool like an opera, with everything set to music. Our teachers already do that. There’s a song for cleaning up, saying good morning, walking down the hallway, talking about the weather… Music is the best way to learn!


Do you think children should listen to “children’s music?”

Exclusively, Absolutely not. There are a few children’s songwriters in our repertoire, but I like to teach children songs with advanced language and concepts like “Lean On Me” and “The Train They Call The City of New Orleans.” I believe that children love figuring things out on their own, in layers, and that they find doing so a challenge in the best way.


Here are a few interesting articles about young children and music. Enjoy!