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Playing in Tune


Playing in Tune

Alum Al Balkin

Al Balkin (Professional Diploma, M.A., Music & Music Education, 1963) is a Western Michigan University Professor Emeritus who has taught music at every level from nursery school to graduate school. He’s also written for “Captain Kangaroo,” performed on NBC’s “Today” show, won ASCAP awards for his children’s songs and been honored when his “Learn to Read” became the theme song for RIF (Reading is Fundamental), the nonprofit children’s literacy organization. Balkin’s “The Midnight Ride of Prescott and Dawes” was featured on Charles Osgood’s CBS radio show “Newsbreak,” and his “The Musicians of Bremen,” a full-length musical, has been performed by opera companies, community theaters and schools. Balkin also is the co-author of the textbook Involvement with Music.
Now Balkin has created a new teaching program, “Tune Up to Literacy,” that uses songs he’s written to develop children’s language and literacy skills. “Tune Up to Literacy” includes a four-volume set of over 90 original songs, along with “Rhyme-a-Ton,” a speed-rhyming dictionary of one-syllable words children are likely to encounter through speech, listening and reading. To learn more about Balkin and “Tune Up to Literacy,” visit
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