All of our teachers have successfully completed the three-day Music Together Teacher Training developed by the Center for Music and Young Children in Princeton, New Jersey. In addition they have successfully completed a ten-week internship with DingDong and continue to receive the latest research with ongoing training.
Director - Teacher
Music has always been part of my life: as a child singing with my mum while washing the dishes, thereafter choir, solo singing, performing in musicals, setting up choirs, taking voice and instrumental lessons, and playing in an orchestra.
After finishing teacher training college I worked as a classroom teacher in Primary, Secondary and Special Education. After fourteen years of teaching I swapped The Netherlands for Bangladesh to work as a Special Education Adviser.
In 1998, I went to the Middle East where I worked at both local and international schools. There I met a colleague who taught music to young children in such a fascinating way that I immediately knew: "This is what I want to do as well."
From then on, I focused on Music Education specialized in Early Years. I set up my own Music Institute, first in Saudi Arabia, and later in Bahrain. In order to expand my teaching programme I took Kodaly training in the UK which proved very inspiring and extremely useful.
In the meantime I had heard about Music Together and got really enthusiastic about it. Soon it became clear to me that this was something I wanted to add to my teaching programme. I took a teaching workshop in the USA and became a registered Music Together teacher. Soon thereafter, in March 2008, DingDong Belgium was born. DingDong Netherlands followed in 2016.
I will always be grateful to my parents for introducing me to the magic of music, which was part of our daily family life. As a daughter of a professional flutist, I attended my father’s symphony orchestra practices, and, according to my parents, was one of the few children who did not run on stage and interrupt the rehearsals. After having expressed an interest in solo performances, I was presented with an opportunity to study piano at a tender age of 5. Throughout my studies I was fortunate to have passionate and patient teachers who loved working with young musicians and bring out their best potential without suppressing their individuality.
Following music school and Vilnius Music Conservatory, I continued my studies at the Lithuanian Music and Theater Academy and later transferred to the University of Maryland in the USA, where I got my Bachelors Degree in Music. Although my studies were primarily based on the classical piano school, I have always been interested in other genres and styles, as well as folk music of various cultures.
After 18 years of professional training, I decided to switch tracks and pursue my other passions, including politics and international development. In 2009, I was introduced to the Music Together programme as one of the parents who attended the DingDong classes. I was immediately won over by this programme that emphasizes children’s individuality and encourages their participation without labeling “wrong” and “right” ways. It has been an immense joy to see how both my children use music and dance in their daily activities from mimicking Ray Charles at the piano to singing and dancing to Sufi Qawwali. One of the most important lessons that both my children and I learned from Music Together is the true joy of music.
I am thrilled to have this opportunity to share with you my professional music training and personal experience of raising children who truly enjoy music.
Vanessa Di Fine
I began my violin studies in Italy at the age of seven. Ten years later I had already performed with several orchestras such as the Orchestra Giovanile della Capitanata, and the Orchestra Nazionale dei Conservatori Italiana.
After obtaining my violin diploma at the Conservatorio Nino Rota di Monopoli in 2009 I started my first MA year as an Erasmus student in the Czech Republic in order to deepen my knowledge of chamber music. My second MA year was in Germany where I completed an Erasmus placement at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig. During that same year I also played with the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana and performed all over Europe under the direction of famous conductors like Alexander Lonquich, Pascal Rophé and Wayne Marshall.
In order to work on my performing skills I took violin and chamber music Master Classes with S. Krylov, Ettore Pellegrino, Konstantin Bogino, Cristiano Rossi, and Marco Fiorini. In addition I took Master Classes in Early Baroque music with Alessandro Tampieri and Susanne Sholz.
In April 2014 I obtained my Master degree in chamber music with the highest note at the Conservatorio di Monopoli Nino Rota. Soon thereafter I won the Leonardo da Vinci scholarship which gave me the opportunity to work as an assistance at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.
Getting the possibility to work as a music teacher at DingDong was a gift for me and for my music career. It allows me to combine my passion for teaching music with my love for children. I'm very excited!