At Wee-Arts, we are passionate about introducing children to the joys of music. Following the standards developed by the National Association for Music Education, we provide high-quality early music education that lays the foundation for a lifetime of music appreciation. We tailor our classes for developmentally appropriate learning that recognizes early music education is a source of emotional and cognitive growth, as well as an important opportunity for children and their caregivers to bond with each other and their community.
Sound serious? Our ideas may be, but our classes are not. At Wee-Arts, we believe the best way to introduce young children to the joys of music is through play. Silly, wiggly, jump-up-and-down play that gives children the freedom to learn and explore at their own pace. With acoustic guitar in hand, Wee-Arts founder Michelle Schooff expertly guides children and their caregivers through a variety of music-based activities that encourage social interaction, verbalization, listening skills, and movement.
It may sound cliché, the Irish woman with the lilting voice who loves nothing better than to play her guitar, but Michelle Schooff comes by her talent honestly. She grew up in a household where spontaneous sing-alongs with family and friends were a regular occurrence and a career in music was the expectation. From her youngest days, Michelle sung in choirs and played piano and guitar. As a teenager, she toured as a backup singer with her aunt, the Eurovision-winning singer Dana Scallon. She studied art and music at university before moving to London, where she built a successful career in retail management at Sony BMG and Universal Music Group.
Not long after her second child was born in 2009, Michelle and her husband gave up city life, and the pressure of corporate jobs, for the laid-back pace of Carrboro, North Carolina. She has since had one more child, and although her life has changed dramatically since her London days, the one thing that hasn’t changed is her love of music.
Michelle founded Wee-Arts in 2011 as a way to share the joy music has brought to her life. For her, and many of the families she serves, Wee-Arts is more than a music class. It is a form of community building – a special time when children and their caregivers gather to sing, dance, and enjoy each other’s company much in the same way as the music sessions of Michelle’s youth. Inspired by her children and the natural beauty of her adopted home, Michelle writes many of the songs she performs and is currently working with award-winning music producer Philip Pennington to record a series of CDs based up her Wee-Arts repertoire.