Sharon Burch, Iowa native, author of Freddie the Frog books and music teacher announces the release of the fifth Freddie book, “Freddie the Frog and the Flying Jazz Kitten.” Burch taught general and vocal music in the Moravia School District (1988-1990), the Moulton-Udell Community School District (1994-1999), and the Centerville Community School District (1999-2011). Burch created and introduced the Freddie the Frog puppet to her classroom of music students in 1995 and discovered the magic of games, storytelling and puppetry in teaching and making the learning of music fun. The newest book was inspired by Burch's fourth grade music teacher, Mary Jo Papich, who taught her first years in Moulton-Udell. After 35 years, the two re-connected and shared their passion for music education and jazz music. Papich, an Albia High School Alum and recent inductee into the Albia Hall of Fame, is the co-founder of the Jazz Education Network (JEN), an international jazz education organization.
Burch collaborated with an artist, Tiffany Harris of Moulton, Debbie Watley of Sioux Falls, SD, for copyediting, Grant Wood of Kansas City for composition and engineering, and Jonathan White of Kansas City, for character voice acting to create illustrated storybooks with dramatized audio CDs. Together, the team created four Freddie the Frog books with the release of the fifth book this week. The storybooks and ancillary materials make it easy for other teachers and parents to re-create the creative method of entertaining music education. The newest Freddie the Frog book released, introduces jazz through scat singing in an interactive story-Freddie the Frog and the Flying Jazz Kitten. Burch serves on the Elementary Committee for JEN, connecting with several talented jazz musicians.
Jazz musicians came on board to collaborate on this special Freddie the Frog project. Dr. Ron McCurdy (Los Angeles, CA) added his jazz vocals to the jazz cats, and Mardra Thomas (Michigan) became the smooth voice of the Flying Jazz Kitten. Jazz double bass player and elementary educator, Sherry Luchette (Los Angeles, CA), shared her jazz education pedagogy for kids and her bass talent on the extra track, along with her husband, jazz pianist, Tamir Hendelman, and talented jazz drummer, Steve Barnes. Burch and Luchette serve on the Jazz Education Network Elementary Jazz Committee together with Papich. With the growing popularity of the Freddie the Frog books, thousands of music teachers across the U.S. and throughout Australia and Canada introduce Freddie and his adventuresome stories to millions of kids. Hal Leonard Publishing, the world's largest music publisher, became the exclusive distributor in 2010.
Burch continues to write stories, musicals and materials for music education. She presents her teaching strategies at music conferences with teachers around the globe, returning from a tour in Australia this past summer, and especially enjoys school author/music visits. Sharon Burch is a music educator, international presenter and author, sharing her unique Freddie the Frog books around the world. She authored the Freddie the Frog book/CD series, a set of adventure stories that teach music. Sharon serves on the international Jazz Education Network Elementary Committee, holds a master's degree as a Professional Educator, is a certified teacher with the International Piano Teaching Foundation, and is a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Childhood and Elementary/Middle School Music.