Music In The Schools

Dubbed “the godfather of children’s music”, Ken’s importance to the world of music for young people is unparalled. Whether performing by himself, in a duo, trio, quartette or quintette, he always creates an entertaining, educational and accessible musical experience for children of all ages. It is during Ken’s shows that not only music appreciation but dreams and musicians are born.

All of Ken’s music programs are Mariposa In The Schools (MITS) approved presentations. Ken has been actively involved with MITS for over 35 years and he also offers Blues-themed programs for Blues In The Schools organizations across Canada. All of the programs below may be presented in a concert or workshop format for festivals, libraries, schools and private group settings. Please note that Ken has a valid Vulnerable Sector Screening Program – Police Reference Check from Toronto Police Services/RCMP.

To book Ken for your event at a library or school in Ontario contact:

Dolores Anderson, Mariposa In The Schools (416) 462-9400 or info (at) mariposaintheschools (dot) ca

For all other bookings and inquiries contact: shari (at) kenwhiteley (dot) com

  • Musical March Break Fun! Using 20 different instruments (and getting audience members to play some too), Ken will get everyone singing along with songs celebrating the changing seasons and the joys of making music. Drawing from his recordings All of the Seasons (“one of the best recordings for children” – CBC radio) and Join the Band (Canadian Folk Music Award, Children’s Web Award, Parent’s Choice Award winners and Juno Award nominee), this performance is suitable for a broad range of ages, including preschoolers, elementary students, parents, grandparents and caregivers too. Grades JK to 8.
  • Yum, Yum! A Celebration of Food in Song Ken is serving up a fun and exciting mix of musical styles in a menu full of food facts and concepts about healthy eating and healthy living! Through music and song, students celebrate the wonder of planting a seed and watching it grow, appreciate how food gets from farm to plate, understand how our food choices can make both ourselves and society healthier as well as learn about the food groups and the science of eating. Grades JK to 3 and 4 to 8. Science: Life Cycles & Systems / Healthy Living
  • Better With a Song! – Music of Social Justice Students come to understand how music can influence and propel positive change today with Ken’s rich repertoire of songs from the labour, civil rights, peace and environmental movements. This program supports curriculum in social studies, history, geography and world issues. Grades 3 to 8 and 9 to 12. Social Studies: Heritage & Identity, People & Environments / History / Citizenship Education
  • Join The Band Based on the multiple award winning recording, Ken takes everyone on a musical journey exploring a cappella singing, gypsy jazz, jump blues, Celtic harp, old time banjo, zydeco, several world musics, rock trombone and a mandolin extravaganza that mixes the music of Vivaldi, Cape Breton and Chicago’s south side blues scene. This one hour concert features Ken on a dozen musical instruments and directly involves the audience in the joy of music making. Over the course of the show, children are invited on to the stage to join in the musical fun. Accompanying CD received the Canadian Folk Music Award, Parent’s Choice Award, Children’s Web Award and a Juno Award nomination. Grades K to 8. Social Studies: Heritage & Identity, People & Environments / History & Geography / Inclusion: Early North American Traditions
  • All of the Seasons Ken explores seasons, days, animals and the water cycle. Whether an overview of a year or tailored to a specific season, students discover the cycles, patterns and rhythms of the natural world and their influence on our cultural celebrations through musical genres of folk, calypso and the blues. Grades JK to 4. Science: Life Cycles & Systems, Earth & Space / Social Studies: Heritage & Identity, People & Environments
  • Musical Mystery Machines Ken leads the audience in an interactive sing-along that develops and reinforces the themes, concepts and vocabulary of simple machines. From a definition of work, through force, levers, incline planes, wedges and gears, young students will have a great time and the concepts and vocabulary will stick in a new way. This material, designed in conjunction with Mariposa In The Schools as an interactive support for the primary curriculum in science, was also nominated for a Juno award and received an American Library Assocation’s Notable Recording Award. Grades 1 to 3. Innovation: Structures and Mechanisms
  • Jug Band & Folk Songs Jug band music is the coming together of Appalachian folk with blues, zydeco and early jazz and of course is best known for its novel, do-it-yourself instrumentation: jugs, brooms, combs, buckets, spoons etc. The inherent playfulness of these instruments and the rhythmically bouncy music brought people from miles around in the day, and continues to lend itself to informal, spontaneous, music making. In this robust and delightful, music-filled performance students participate by playing jugs, combs, washtub bass and spoons joining Ken’s jug band. Grades K to 8. Social Studies: Heritage & Identity, People & Environments / History & Geography / Inclusion: Early North American Traditions
  • Bluesology: A Musical Journey through the Blues Ken traces the migration history and experiences of the people who created the blues and introduces diverse styles, from early folk music through jazzy blues to modern urban electric sound. Accompanying CD received the Best Blues Album of the Year Award from the Jazz Report Canadian Jazz Awards. Grades K to 8, and older. Social Studies: Heritage & Identity, People & Environments / History & Geography / Inclusion: Early North American Traditions

“For years Ken has been a beacon for children’s artists, maintaining his own musical integrity and dedication.”

~ Sharon, Lois & Bram