Classes meet at Studio Helix in downtown Northampton, at Jackson Street School in Northampton, and at Nerissa’s home in Northampton. Classes are structured so that kids have plenty of space to move while staying safe. Classes run for 45 minutes (HooteNanny Parent Guitar runs for an hour). Sessions run for 10 weeks and take place seasonally (Fall is Sept-Dec., winter is Jan-March, Spring is April-June and Summer is July-August).


HooteNanny is an early music program for children aged 0-5 and their grown ups. There are nine discrete seasonal curricula, and each one endeavors to contain a mix of uptempos, ballads, familiar and new, songs with different time signatures, languages other than English, major and minor, silly and sublime. We are very fond of repurposing old favorites with new lyrics, and encouraging kids and parents to do the same. HooteNanny families have been instrumental is helping us to create our curricula. We firmly believe in the folk process. Some of our favorite songs have come from parents in our classes, songs they learned from their grandparents. HooteNanny is all about drawing all of these communities together–– generational, geographical, cultural. In a typical class, children start on their parents’ lap, play with simple musical instruments or props, and at some point get up and move around, returning to laps for lullaby and the goodbye song (“Sweet Rosyanne.”)
Cost: $165 for 10 weeks. Includes songbook and CD. Second child over the age of 9 months is an additional $100.

Northampton classes: Cradle, 3rd floor of Thorne’s
Wednesdays 9, 10, 1:30pm
Thursdays 9, 10

Hadley class: North Star, corner of Routes 9 and 47
Wednesdays 4:00


Local Chorus


Nerissa runs Local Chorus for kids aged 5-12 and their parents. We sing a wide repertoire of folk, pop, rock and classical music in one-, two- and three-part arrangements. When possible, we incorporate strings, played by the students, as well as guitar and percussion played by adults and students. Our mission is to bring joy to the community through music and performance.

The next session of Local Chorus will start on Wednesday Nov. 18 at Jackson Street School. We will meet for 10 weeks (with many vacation breaks–see proposed schedule below) and learn new songs (“Blowing in the Wind,” “Pride (In the Name of Love)”, and other Civil Rights era songs), as well as the ones we learned in the early fall (“Home,” “Let It Be,” “If I Had a Hammer.”)  The Local Chorus will always include Repertoire and Learning Songs.

Local Chorus is a performance group, unlike HooteNanny. We will be working hard to learn songs to be performed at various opportunities. This chorus is for kids who want to sing in front of people, and who are willing to work hard in rehearsal. There are no auditions, and Nerissa prizes enthusiasm, good attention and behavior in rehearsal over musical ability.  Each ten week session will end with a performance.

Local Chorus will meet in Room 111 at Jackson Street School in Northampton. It remains open to all who are interested, ages 5-12, and their parents (parents may stay to sing, or drop kids off). As of this writing, Local Chorus includes singers from all four public elementary schools. Children from private schools, charter schools and home-schooled kids are welcome, as well. If you are interested in joining, please do so by next Monday, Nov. 16 by emailing me at The cost of the chorus is $125 for one child, and $200 for two siblings.

Northampton class: Jackson Street School Room 111
Wednesdays 3:15- 4:00pm


HooteNanny Parent Guitar

Nerissa teaches parents how to bring HooteNanny home. In a warm, encouraging group setting, parents and grandparents strum together, learn chords, finger-picking patterns, rudimentary music theory, sing together, laugh, share their struggles with practicing after bedtime, and make amazing progress. We start with the current HooteNanny curriculum, but we invite participants to bring in songs they would like to learn, and together we decipher these songs.

Cost: $250 for 10 weeks. Includes songbook, CD and supplement.

Northampton class: Nerissa’s house
Tuesday 10-11am (one hour) To register, email