Children’s musician performs at library

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Children's musician Jim Gill said that he loves performing in a way that gets families to have fun together. After his performance, he gave the example of a dad lifting his child in the air and how happy that made the child.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively..Jim Gill performed 13 songs at the Austintown library during his program. He likened the songs to games that the families can play on their own, such as the clapping game pictured.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Musician Jim Gill wanted to get everyone involved at his program at the Austintown library. He performed energetic songs that asked for audience engagement. Pictured, he opened a song where the children clapped each time Gill strummed his banjo. He sped up the strums with each verse, challenging children to clap just just as fast.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Jim Gill got his start as a children's musician and performer in college when he was asked to lead a play group of children. He learned that music helped children engage and focus, so he added some music to his playtimes. Thirty years later, he continues to perform for groups.

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Neighbors | Zack Shively.Children's musician Jim Gill performed at the Austintown library June 15. Families attended the events together. The library often plays Gill's music at their Baby Brilliant children's programs. Pictured, Gill strummed his banjo and sang a song.

By ZACK SHIVELY

zshively@vindy.com

Children’s musician Jim Gill performed at the Austintown library for families in the large meeting room on June 15.

Gill, a Chicago musician, travels around the nation playing his music at schools, libraries and other venues. The Austintown library uses Gill’s music during some of their Baby Brilliant children’s programs, so many of the families were familiar with Gill.

Austintown librarian Nikki Puhalla introduced Gill. Then, Gill sat on a stool and strummed his banjo. He asked that the children clap in tempo with his strumming. He played it slow to start and then played it faster and faster.

Gill played songs such as these that acted both as music and as games for the families. He said he wanted to give the families games they could play at home. For example, he had a song about a silly dance contest where the children danced and then stopped in place on command, resulting in odd, mid-motion pauses.

Gill performed 13 songs for the families, who crowded around him and participated in each activity. Gill said that he loves seeing the family interactions at his show, giving an example of a dad lifting his child in the air during a song. He said the program is not about Jim Gill, it’s about families having fun.

Gill began his career working with play groups of young children with special needs during college. During that time, he found that music helped children engage with the playtime. During the course of the next 30 years, he learned to play different instruments. He now has albums, DVDs and children’s books.

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