Class of 2014 Valedictorian Produces Multilingual Children’s Music Album

Josephine Ancelle ’14, a graduate of MMC’s Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology major and the Class of 2014 valedictorian, recently released a new album titled Les Chansons de La Petite École. As a part of her role as Music and Yoga Instructor at La Petite École, a French immersion preschool in New York City, the album was created to help students learn French using lyrics inspired by the school’s daily routine.

In 2004, Ancelle moved to New York from Paris to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. She performed in various venues around the city and released one album, two EPs, and two singles between 2007 and 2011.

Ancelle soon found that she wanted to pursue an education that combined helping others and her passion for music, bringing her to the Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology program at MMC.

“I believe that my studies in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology mostly influenced the way I write music for children,” says Ancelle. “Speech therapists strive to make communication as clear as it can be, especially when working with young children. This framed my approach to songwriting for preschoolers, in that I aimed to write repetitive, simple choruses with one clear message so that it would be easy for children to understand.”

Soon after becoming a teacher at La Petite École in 2013, the school’s director requested that Ancelle write original songs to accompany the students throughout their school day, including a song to say “hello” and “goodbye,” a song to walk rather than run in the school, and a song for snack time. Ancelle began working on the album, recording five songs in 2015 and continuously producing music based on the teachers’ needs and desires.

During the 2019-20 school year, Ancelle became the head teacher at La Petite École and began coordinating virtual music lessons over Zoom in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Singing was a great way to connect with the preschoolers and with their parents through the screen,” says Ancelle. “Being at home also gave me the desire and the time and ability to record the songs at my own pace. Being a mother of two four-year-olds and pregnant with my third child at the time, I don’t think that I would have found a way to make the time for this project had we not been at home together.”

Ancelle collaborated with close friends working from home and in studios across the country to record vocals, bass, and other instruments for the album. Although she had to record in her bedroom closet, Ancelle shares that it was a joy to record her music despite the difficulties of the pandemic.

Completed during Spring 2021, Les Chansons de La Petite École features 12 songs, recorded in both English and French to best instruct bilingual children. The album is now available on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, and most other streaming platforms.

Great work Josephine!

Published: July 01, 2021