Summer Rognlie Trisler is the brains and talent behind Sunshine Music Together. She is a classically trained Broadway actress and has been educating and entertaining Seattle children since 2006.
Music Together classes “provide a fun, comfortable environment for children around the world to make music with their families” according to the website.
Sunshine Music Together is a local affiliate of the national organization. It currently offers classes on Zoom and in-person at four Seattle locations: the original studio in Queen Anne, Fauntleroy Schoolhouse in West Seattle, The Nest in Green Lake and the newest studio on West Government Way in Magnolia.
Performing under her maiden name Summer Rognlie, Trisler once starred on Broadway and London’s West End in musicals like “Cats,” “Mama Mia!” and as the title role in “Maddie.”
When she became a mother, the Broadway schedule — with eight shows a week and only one day off — was tough to keep.
But she recalls attending Music Together classes with her daughter and describes them as some of the happiest memories of her life.
“I remember sitting there thinking what bliss this was, what a stellar program this was, and I knew then and there this would be something I’d have to pursue,” Trisler said.
Trisler trained at the Princeton Center for Music and Young Children and opened her first Sunshine Music Together location in 2006. The classes are a research and evidence-based music development program for young children and their parents or caregivers.
As stated on the website, “Music Together helps children of all ages — babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and big kids — discover their inner music-maker by playing with the grownups they love.”
Through the years, Sunshine Music Together has grown to one of the largest Music Together franchises in the world and has won eight Golden Teddy Awards for Best Music Program in Seattle. Trisler says it was “such an honor to be nominated but to win the Golden Teddy Award for eight years was a beautiful validation from our families.”
“ It was a joy to know that our love for the program and our love for teaching was felt throughout the community,” she said.
To say that the past two years have been challenging is an understatement, Trisler said.
As a business, Sunshine Music Together has always followed Seattle Public Schools in terms of school closures for vacations and snow days. But when the schools shut down in 2020, Trisler exercised her flexibility to keep the music going. With only two weeks remaining in their regular winter semester, Sunshine Music Together immediately pivoted to online learning without missing a beat.
Those first weeks of remote learning included some 20-hour work days while she taught herself and her staff how to teach music classes to babies online. They experimented with Facebook Live and some pre-recorded sessions but ultimately settled on the Zoom format until they were able to reopen safely.
“The arts in any format are crucial for building resilience, civility and identity,” she said. “I’d like to think we’re helping these young children in the beginning of their lives to go out and make a positive difference in the world.”
During the shutdown, Trisler was on the lookout for an additional space that provide could more breathing room for her teachers and families. Thanks to a Working Washington Grant for BIPOC and women-owned small businesses, she was able to lease and transform a 1,500-square-foot space near her home in Magnolia.
“I love the new studio because it is a beautiful, light-filled space that allows our families to come together to make music and memories free from the worry of being too close to the other students,” Trisler said.
To date, there have been no cases transmitted in their classes.
Go to http://www.sunshinemusictogether.com for more information.