My First Armenian Songbook to Serve as a Cross-Cultural Bridge and Learning Tool for Children Growing Up with English and Armenian
LOS ANGELES—Dr. Karenn Chutjian Presti, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Herb Alpert School faculty member who teaches Italian, German, French, Spanish, and English lyric diction and introduction to Armenian Music, is raising her own young children in four languages.
She credits her success largely to song. “A large part of each day is dedicated to language exposure through song, play, and literature. Songs are especially effective in teaching vocabulary and pronunciation, so I developed the translations in My First Armenian Songbook to serve as a cross-cultural bridge and learning tool for children growing up with English and Armenian.” When asked which language is her children’s strongest, she laughs, “They prefer Armenian. It’s probably because I talk too much.”
“We took a minimalistic approach with just piano and voice so that the Armenian lyrics stayed clear and pure, but the accompaniment consisted of musically interesting arrangements,” explains Stephanie Chutjian Betjemann, who is the singer in the songbook’s accompanying Armenian-language CD, with her sister’s collaboration on the piano.
The songs, translated by Chutjian Presti, stem from American, English, Armenian, and German traditions, with the inclusion of several original songs composed by the pianist. Each song is printed in Armenian and English, and is decorated in full-page color illustrations by British artist Alastair Sadler. Transliteration of the songs is also included.
My First Armenian Songbook is sold at Sardarabad Bookstore, Abril Books, Berj Stationery, and Amazon. Promotional videos and musical samples from My First Armenian Songbook are available at http://www.karennpresti.com.