About HooteNanny

HooteNanny is a program of music classes for families, created and taught by Nerissa and Katryna Nields. Classes include the original HooteNanny: for young children age 0-5 and their grown ups, taught by Katryna Nields; Local Chorus for ages 5-13 and Focus Chorus for ages 11-15, led by Nerissa Nields; and HooteNanny Guitar: a guitar workshop for parents, grandparents or other grown ups who feel like bringing more music into their family life, taught by Nerissa Nields.  HooteNanny is about music, family and community, and the ways in which learning to sing, play and dance can enhance all three. Music is hand selected by nationally renowned folk-rock musicians, Nerissa and Katryna, better known as The Nields.  The music is chosen for its accessibility, but also for its musicality and ability to bear repeated listening and singing.  Classes are aimed equally at fostering musical children and at encouraging family connections.  HooteNanny strives to enhance a child’s development and confidence through the following ways:

  • singing, humming, vocalizing
  • encouraging creativity in coming up with new ideas to expand the songs: children and parents make up new verses to the songs we sing, think up new dance moves, add animal sounds, or explore rhythms.
  • movement– from finger play to full bodied dancing, children are encouraged to use their bodies to fully experience the music.
  • playing age-appropriate instruments; rhythm sticks, shaker eggs, gathering drums are just a few of the instruments that we use to expand our understanding of music.
  • quality time spent with your child and great ideas to create activities you can revisit all week long.

Giving your child music from a very early age is like giving them a foreign language. As they absorb the music, they gain a musical vocabulary that aids in literacy, mathematical understanding, and, most of all, creates familial bonds that can last a lifetime.

Come sing with us!

About Nerissa and Katryna

Nerissa and Katryna Nields are nationally renowned touring and recording musicians from the legendary band The Nields.  As a duo, they were a part of Lillith Fair, and have shared the stage with Natalie Merchant, Suzanne Vega, Sarah McLaughlin, Dar Williams, The Indigo Girls, James Taylor, Joan Baez, the Band, 10,000 Maniacs, Billy Bragg, Dan Zanes and countless others, all of whom have informed and enhanced their musical repertoire. Together they have written a book called All Together Singing In the Kitchen: Creative Ways to Make and Listen to Music as a Family for Roost Books.

They created HooteNanny together in September 2006. At that time, there were just two classes weekly. Now HooteNanny has expanded to add Local and Focus Chorus and HooteNanny Parent Guitar.

Katryna has participated in Music Together training (and is an alum of the fabulous Hill Town group with Lui Collins in Ashfield.) She has run family music choirs and singing groups for high school students.  Nerissa spent four years as the musical director of a day camp of 400 kids and has been teaching guitar since 1989.  She founded Yale’s folk a cappella group Tangled Up in Blue and has been music director for many high school productions.

Both sisters grew up listening to Pete Seeger and Jack Langstaff lead audiences in song, and fervently believe that a group of people singing together is tantamount to heaven on earth.