I’m Stephanie Browning, in my 20 plus years as a professional jazz singer in Chicago I learned fearless improvisation and the power of music to bring joy, healing and connection.
I learned to perform on the bandstand and after my appearance as Artist-In-Residence at the world-famous Gold Star Sardine Bar where I recorded a live CD, and got some good press, I played The Green Mill, Andy’s Jazz Club, Pop’s for Champagne, and many other Chicago spots as well as traveling to Sweden, Hong Kong and Japan.
“This level of musical imagination, tonal control and interpretive savvy rarely meet in the work of a single artist.”Howard Reich, Arts Critic,
The Chicago Tribune
I played with so many excellent musician in fabulous places, traveled around the world, held down steady gigs for years at some of Chicago’s sweetest nightspots, including singing every Friday and Saturday Night at the gorgeous Peninsula Hotel – voted Best Hotel in North America many times – for over seven years.
But still … something was missing.
In 2007 I became fascinated by the science of neural-plasticity and the work of Neurobiologist Nina Kraus, at Northwestern University, and the Cognitive Neuroscience of Music sparked my imagination.
“We’ve found that by playing music — an action thought of as a function of the neocortex — a person may actually be tuning the brainstem.
This suggests that the relationship between the brainstem and neocortex is a dynamic and reciprocable one and tells us that our basic sensory circuitry is more malleable than we previously thought.
“Music is a resource that tones the brain for auditory fitness,” Kraus adds. “…You’re not going to get fit watching spectator sports. It’s what we actively do that tunes our nervous system.”Nina Kraus, Northwestern University – Music Training ‘Tunes’ The Human Auditory System. Science Daily
Science showed that actively playing music could be real medicine for the brain … but how to deliver that musical ‘medicine’?
This big question dovetailed with something I’d been working on for over ten years, ever since I read an article in Science News in 1998 saying Mozart had a pet Starling. The bird lived with Mozart, mimicked his compositions and sometimes made corrections that Mozart deemed superior to his own. More than once Mozart took the bird’s suggestions and changed his manuscript! I fell in love with the character of a bird who understood sheet music.
This was the beginning of what I called “The Bird Game.” I read and researched, sketched and dreamed of creating a video game that would illustrate musical concepts for children using the using a descendant of Mozart’s musical bird as a teacher and flight as analogy for music. A little star had fallen from the sky and needed to fly back home.
Over the years I added weight to this idea collecting science and research on music and the brain, color, light, sound, geometry, chaos, string theory and quantum physics, and of course birds but how would I ever make it into a video game? In 2001 I volunteered doing after school music games, and weekend session at the library in my neighborhood and the kids loved my colorful learning tools – even though we often did not speak the same language they gravitated towards the concepts
In the fall of 2010 I was invited to “Do music” with a community of adults with developmental disabilities at Garden Center Services in Burbank, Illinois. Unsure what that would mean but willing to try I started as a volunteer doing one singalong and it was love at first song.
They hired me part-time in January of 2011. I took all my ideas about teaching musical concepts with colors out of my imagination and into the real world. It was a lab of over a hundred students of all ages and abilities to test out my ideas! And my ideas worked for a lot of people.
“Through the creative strategies she has developed to teach musical notes through signs and symbols, people who never thought they could ever play a song are now doing just that… “Cindy Haworth, Director of Operations,
Garden Center Services, Burbank, IL
Over the next six years I worked week after week with my students created this transformational set of leaning tools. Sparticles Music means anyone can play – today!
Anyone who wants to play – can play!
Let me share Sparticles with you, your family, or your organization.
I’ve been a professional singer for years and I developed these Music-Learning Tools for myself and my students.
- Do you wish you could sit down and play your favorite song on the piano? – you can.
- Or pick up a new song and really learn it by heart? – it’s SO FUN and you can do it.
- Have you struggled since you were a kid to make sense of sheet music? I can make all that work pay off in a few sessions and put music back in your hands and in your life.
- Is there someone you know with physical or cognitive challenges who might want to make music. Even if you never you thought they could – especially if you never thought they could.
Give it a try! You’ll see results right away and experience the joys of music.
“I love the way my music teacher teaches. She makes it easy to learn and understand how to play my keyboard. My music teacher is very fun to learn with.”Online Sparticles Student age 9
- Are you trying to get your kids to take music lessons but they hate it?
- Would you like to learn along with your kids?
- Do you dream of a Family Band?
“My child has never been so excited for music lessons. He is happy to practice and ends every lesson by saying “that was fun.”
I highly recommend Stephanie’s approach to teaching music to children.”9-Year-Old Student’s Parent
For a short time I’m offering a one-on-one online music session with me – Stephanie Browning. This is different than anything you’ve ever tried – no experience necessary. Sparticles is a new way to look at music.