How Temi Hason Creates a Communityby Alex Wehrung May 1, 2019
“Am I gonna have fun doing this? Am I gonna like this if I did it? Will I fit at this moment? Will I jump at this moment?’ I look at it that way,” Temi Hason said regarding her approach to teaching the children in her music program. “If I’m having fun and loving it, like 99.9% [of the time], they do too.”
Temi Hason is a musician, teacher and actress who recently moved to San Diego from New York. A cellist with over a decade of experience, she founded A Musical Home after an inspirational day playing with her nephew, when she realized she could use her background in musical theater to teach young children.
Her students are primarily children aged five months to five years, so her teaching approach is notably hands-on—she allows the children to play with provided instruments and toys. “I don’t want to just people to hear the music, because it doesn’t make sense. They have to see it, they have to feel it and find a way to really touch it, because that’s how kids are learning much more.”
A Musical Home introduces its students to musical concepts, instruments, activities, story and music-inspired movements. This benefits the children’s development of coordination, listening skills, social understanding, physical expression and personal discovery.
“I like coming in with many candies in my pocket and then we see which one I’m gonna pull out,” Temi said. “So I specifically try to make it very hands-on, changing every minute to two minutes, whatever they’re using. They also have to hold the instruments, they have to feel the instruments and have their own experiences with it.”
The most rewarding part of being a teacher, she said, is having the opportunity to watch her students change. She noted that she had just come from a class where the student had started talking for the first time during his lessons. “I like to see a lot of firsts with kids, where all of a sudden, they start saying ‘cello!’ and ‘clarinet!’ Things that other kids don’t say if they’re not in our music class. It’s pretty amazing. I like seeing the impact and their growth and of course, their happiness.”
Not just children find enrichment in A Musical Home; in the “Shabbat in the Park” program, where toddlers and their parents sing and dance to the tune of Jewish songs, “[Adults] have more fun. One woman was saying, ‘My husband has been singing the songs for over a week!’”
The musical experience Temi draws upon in her teachings goes all the way back to her school years. Her career began when, as a high-school athlete in Turkey, she was pushed into auditioning with her school’s theater club. (“They realized that I have a very good musical ear, that I’m very musical and talented or whatever.”) Afterwards, she ended up touring throughout Turkey with a musical conservatory.
She moved to San Diego in January 2018 in order to perform her dream role of Reza in “Once” (a musical based on the John Carney film of the same name) at Lamb’s Players Theatre in Coronado. “That was my dream role, my dream thing… I had an amazing cast, they were all really awesome. I mean, every night, every performance, every matinee was a different fun with them.”
“In the meantime, I got married here, and things are changing a little bit.”
Participating in musical theater nowadays, Temi noted, is no easy feat. “You not only have to sing, act and dance, you have to play an instrument.” Besides performing for the stage, she is also a film actress. She has performed in several independent films, such as “Departures,” “Ovum,” “Red Card” and “Tango of the Heart.”
After moving here from New York, she noted a substantial difference in the Jewish social scene, calling Jewish life in San Diego lighter in comparison. She attributed this to Jewish organizations being spread-out within the San Diego area and difficult to reach. It’s similar, she said, to Jewish life in Turkey.
“…We could show people the difference, how it could be like the New York Jewish experience, and it could be fun and it’s for everybody and it’s amazing to have a community and it’s great to build and create together. That’s what I would like people to know.”