Marion van Wattingen

Music teacher for toddlers

"I get happy when I see how much the children enjoy coming to my class."


Can you tell us something about your musical background?

I started piano lessons at the age of eleven. After two years of preliminary training at the Music Lyceum in Zwolle, I decided to focus on teaching, and I specialized in music lessons for elementary school children. I also taught myself some accordion and guitar and I play recorder, learned at the Pabo. When I came into contact with music for toddlers, I began to specialize in that. I have a toddler group at the music school.

Can you tell us something about the way you teach?

The toddler classes take place together with the parents, and the interaction between parent and child is very important. The groups consist of about ten children with one parent each.

I build my lessons myself, drawing from various methods, song collections, and my own inspiration. Each fifty-minute lesson consists of a lot of singing, moving, and improvising on small instruments. I always take the developmental phase of each child into account.

I also teach the course 'playing with musical instruments' where toddlers begin to get acquainted with 'real' instruments and where the play (as in fun) aspect plays a major role.

Why would someone choose you as a teacher?

What distinguishes me is that I work with passion and a lot of energy with very young children (starting at the age of one and a half). I want the children to experience the joy of making music. I notice that both parents and children feel very comfortable with me, and they see that I do this work with enormous pleasure.

What do you do outside the music school?

I play quatre-mains (two people playing on one piano) and I am a member of a quatre-mains group that I perform with regularly. I also accompany a choir in Amsterdam Noord, I do modern dance and play some accordion and African drums. Besides music, I really enjoy gardening and traveling.

Why do you like to teach?

I very much enjoy working with young children and think it is important that as many children as possible come into contact with music. I am convinced that music makes an important contribution to their development, both musically and emotionally, intellectually, motorically and sensorially. Additionally, I find my contact with the parents, and seeing the interaction between parent and child, very interesting.

What is your favorite piece of music or song?

Difficult to choose. I like classical music, especially piano music, but also world music and good pop music. One of my favorite piano pieces is Canto Ostinato by Simeon ten Holt. In world music I like the style of the Amsterdam Klezmer Band, and in pop music Muse is my favorite, for many songs.

What is your fondest memory of a student?

There are several, but a funny one is when a parent showed me a picture of her child imitating me at home and pretending to play a string bean like a recorder.

When are you happiest in your work as a music teacher?

I get really happy when I hear from parents, and see in children, how much they enjoy coming to music lessons, and learning that they ask about lessons every day at home. The spontaneous hugs I regularly receive from the children also make me happy.


What: Pabo, third grade Gehrels Music, ‘Muziek op schoot’ teacher

Where: Pabo Meppel, Zwolle, Utrecht

Teaches in: I often have non-Dutch speaking parents and children in the group. Teaching in English is no problem for me, but German or French works as well. Communicating is never difficult for me, no matter the language.