Friday, December 3, 2010

Meet Sharon and Freddie the Frog




I am delighted to have Sharon Burch as my guest today. A music teacher, clinician, and author, Sharon Burch developed an effective method using fiction and fantasy to teach musical concepts to her preschool through third grade students. Freddie the Frog puppet was the star and quickly became the students favorite musical friend and best teacher. Sharon designs and creates Freddie the Frog resources for the music classroom.


In growing demand as a clinician, Sharon and Freddie share their interactive
teaching methods in elementary music with educational groups across the
country. Energized teachers realize the "magic of Freddie" and fun in the
sessions. As an author/presenter, Sharon advocates the multiple benefits of
music education in a child¹s brain development.

Sharon holds a Bachelor of Music Education Degree from Truman University in
Kirksville, Missouri, and a Masters' Degree as a Professional Educator from
Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. She also holds a certification in
piano instruction from the International Piano Teaching Foundation developed
by Dr. Robert Pace. She has served as a vocal and piano instructor, and
taught preschool through 8th grade general music and directed junior high
and high school choirs.

She makes her home in the rolling hills of southern Iowa with her husband,
Bill, and two children, Alex and Morgan. Sailing is the family hobby.
Someday they hope to sail the Sea of Music to Treble Clef Island!

You can email Sharon at: sharon@freddiethefrogbooks.com

Sharon was kind enough to take time out from her busy schecule to answer some questions. Here's what she has to say:

Bev: Freddie the Frog products--books, games, coloring pages, Cds and so much more-- sound fascinating. What was your inspiration to use music as well as books with children?

Sharon: Actually the inspiration is the other way around. I am a music teacher who uses books to teach music. Creating, reading, composing, singing and playing music plays an incredibly important role in the development of children. Using books with audio CDs, online games, and coloring pages makes it possible for anyone to learn and fall in love with music through Freddie the Frog® and his adventurous stories.

Bev: Tell us about Freddie the Frog. Why did you choose a frog instead of other animals?

Sharon: The initial story introduces the reading of music notes through story characters, therefore it needed to be an animal that began with the letter A, B, C, D, E, F, or G, the seven letters of the music alphabet. My daughter owned a frog puppet, so I first shared the story as a story teller with the frog puppet as the main character. The kids fell in love with Freddie the Frog® and the rest is history.

Bev: When you present your program to schools what is the reaction of the children? Of the teachers?

Sharon: Children instantly fall in love with Freddie the Frog® through the first story, Freddie the Frog® and the Thump in the Night. The children are eager to hear the stories and learn basic music concepts simply by turning the pages and listening. Music teachers love the books because they work! Early childhood and classroom teachers love the books because they can teach music without needing special training.

Bev: What is the best part about doing school/library visits?

Sharon: Watching the kids light up when they meet Freddie the Frog, thoroughly engaged in listening, learning and making music. Sharing the love of music through literacy, fantasy and play with kids is incredibly rewarding.

Bev: What were your favorite books when you were a child?

Sharon: I loved the crazy adventures of Curious George picture books, the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and I believe I read every single Nancy Drew book multiple times.

Bev: What are you reading now?

Sharon: I still love C.S. Lewis. Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, and his other works are great spiritual and intellectual reads. J.R.R. Tolkein's works are also some of my favorite reads.

Bev: If you could live in another time, when would you choose and why?
Sharon: Actually, I choose now. I love the adventure of life and the wonder of what it holds. No matter the time we live in, people wrestle with the same principles and basic problems. It's the attitude and perspective with which you choose to live that makes the difference. I choose to embrace life and enjoy the ride.

Bev: What are your plans for the future? More books? Cds?

Sharon: We are working on the fifth book now, Freddie the Frog® and the Flying Jazz Kitten (2011 Release). It's a fun, interactive introduction to jazz through scat singing. We also have a new project of creating stuffed plush toys that correlate with the books. The kids fall in love with the characters. Soon they will be able to love, hug and hold their very own Freddie the Frog® and Eli the Elephant.

Bev: Where can your fans learn more about you? Website? Blog

Sharon: You can learn a little bit about me at www.SharonBurch.com, or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. Just search my name and look for my photo with Freddie on my shoulder. And, of course, the kids can have fun at http://www.freddiethefrog.com/.

Bev: Anything else you would like to add about you or Freddie the Frog?

Sharon: This is an exciting time. There are millions of kids across the nation, and now Canada and Australia, that are in love with Freddie through their music teacher at school. I may be the author, but the bigger message is all about music and making a connection with kids. The motivation behind the books is the importance of music in children's lives. Music makes kids smarter. Just google "music and the brain" and you will be bombarded with research, video clips, books, blogs, articles, etc. all pointing to the powerful affect of music in mental development. Nothing activates and develops a person's mind more than music. The whole reason for Freddie is hooking kids on music and empowering our kids.

I have listed below a number of resources that will duly provide information and materials to duly facilitate your coverage. This includes a close up narrated video reading of a book - the next best thing to holding it in your hands! Also do let me know if you would like to connect with author Sharon Burch for an email or phone-based interview.

Narrated video reading:
http://vidego.multicastmedia.com/player.php?v=ou387311

Cognitive benefits of music:

www.freddiethefrogbooks.com/childmusicoutline.html.  Consumers may order online at

Author bio:

http://www.freddiethefrogbooks.com/author.html



Illustrator bio:
http://www.freddiethefrogbooks.com/illustrator.html



Cover art:

http://www.freddiethefrogbooks.com/pressroom.html



To learn more:

http://www.freddiethefrogbooks.com/


To purchase:
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders

More info:

Freddie the Frog® Adventures were designed to engage and introduce children to fundamental music concepts by simply playing the audio CD and turning the pages of the story book. Freddie is a portal to the world of music and a reference point for the sequential learning of reading and writing music.

Kids fall in love with the main character, Freddie the Frog, through his stories and eagerly await the next adventure, learning about music while they read. No longer is it a bunch of black dots and sticks all over the page of music. Now the kids recognize rhythms and places from the books.

Although Freddie the Frog books introduce and teach note names of the treble and bass clef by story characters, tempo terms, rhythm and beat, the real magic is in the connection with the main character, Freddie. As one six-year-old said, "I LOVE Freddie. That's why I love music!"

Kids fall in love with Freddie the Frog through the stories and learn music simply by turning the pages. What a great way to be introduced to the "theory" of music. Why is music so important?

Music causes the mind to think smarter.


Medical scans track brain activity.


Music is one of the very few whole brain activities, engaging all four parts of the brain!


All other tasks use either the left or right brain.


Music exercises all of the brain. How? 1) When playing music, the mind chooses how fast or slow to play, with what style, rhythm, phrasing, and feeling. 2) It also tells the fingers when to move, reads and memorizes. When playing music, you do ALL of this at the SAME TIME! 3) The more you play, the more you exercise your mind. The exercised mind thinks better, making a student smarter


Thanks again for your interest in these wonderfully innovative books!!

Thank you, Sharon, for visiting with us today and sharing your work with us.

10 comments:

  1. Great interview. It sounds like an adorable book and certainly one kids can learn from.

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  2. I agree, Kelly. I like the concept of music with reading. Music was a big part of my school days and I still love to play the piano.

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  3. Thanks for sharing about Sharon, Freddie the Frog and her great concept with bring children creative ways to learn.

    I think it's so sad schools have cut so many programs that use to teach this. I'm glad to see authors, teachers, etc are finding ways to bring it back to the children in new fun ways.

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  4. It is sad, Virginia, that schools' priorities seem to be on athletics (which I love and are good for the kids) and other programs suffer. Music, to me, enlightens a child's day. Thanks for your comments.

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  5. How cute! I've been a sucker for frogs ever since Kermit.

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  6. What a wonderful learning idea! Thank you so much for sharing your interview with me.

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  7. You're welcome, Jewel. Thanks for stopping by. I'm sure Sharon appreciates your thoughts. :)

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  8. Great interview, Beverly. I enjoyed learning about Sharon, her books, and of Freddie the Frog.
    : )

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  9. Thank you, Susanne. The books and music sound like a great idea for kids.

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