We had the good fortune of connecting with Cora Crisman and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cora, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
Integral Steps offers classes and events integrating cognitive, physical, and social emotional development. We support the balanced development of children, individuals, and families through integrative learning. Our curriculum includes music, movement, art, language, yoga, and science into a seamless experience. We develop our curricula through a collaboration among our educators, with expertise in music, art, Spanish, biology, yoga, and trauma and child development. Our programs include Little Birds, a music and movement class for toddlers; BAMM (Biology, Art, Music, and Movement); SMARTY (Spanish, Music, Art, and Yoga); and a Rhythmic Solfege sequence of integrative musical training. We emphasize creative embodied thinking and carry a theme through many learning modalities. For example, students learn about plant life cycles from seeds to fruit, compare this with the development of a musical melody, then connect their experience through an art project showing their own family growth.

Our integrative approach creates meaningful experiences valued by families. Through subsidized tuition and a need-based scholarship program we make our classes accessible. We see high retention rates, and many sibling enrollments and referrals. Our educators build deep relationships with students over many years, and we see children improve their self-regulation and behavior in the classroom, become more expressive and responsible, and improve social understanding.

We serve Longmont, Superior, Louisville, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, and Aurora and collaborate with organizations across the country for special projects. Our programs encourage the development of strong family relationships and participation in local community life. We frequently partner with small businesses and arts/educational organizations in the towns and cities we serve. We also offer workshops and professional development for adults.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I identify as a Teaching Artist, which means that I am equally at home educating students through music or performing it – often both at the same time! It has definitely not been an easy path, I think any time you choose to make money through the things that you are most passionate and vulnerable about, you can expect to encounter some serious difficulties. That being said, I have been incredibly privileged to have the absolutely most supportive family, partner, and friends, and I’ve been afforded so many opportunities through my teachers and the institutions at which I studied. It has usually been a matter of having the confidence to say yes to those opportunities when they arise, and move forward believing in my ability to succeed. I’ve always worked hard when I have a goal and I am passionate about the work, the hardest part for me is really believing I can do it! Right now I’m really proud to be in a place where I feel a lot of trust in myself. I trust my instincts about what kinds of projects I am interested in: I love introducing young students to their first musical experiences, combining music and movement in the classroom, bringing story into music-making, and connecting with communities near me who haven’t always been invited into the classical music world, and I love playing the flute to weave all this together. I trust that I know how to effectively build these projects and connect with other teachers and our students in a way that is organic and successful. I trust that these kinds of opportunities will keep coming, and that when they do I’ll say yes and feel ready. It takes a leap of faith and a stomach drop sometimes, but I’m learning that I can trust myself to jump and realize I have already built the net to catch myself.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
It’s been such a strange time to try and be out and about in Denver, but luckily we are blessed with amazing things to do outdoors as well! I live near the Denver Botanic Gardens, and I have to say that it is lovely year round, and a wonderful place of peace and constant transformation and inspiration to visit! Grab a coffee at Novo on 6th, stroll the Gardens, and then head to Satchel’s for great food or cocktails. I’d also recommend checking out the Denver Art Museum because they have awesome special exhibits but also a huge full time collection that never ceases to show me something new and beautiful or thought-provoking. The Art Student’s League of Denver has great classes but also has a rotating gallery show, and often has interesting events with opportunities to connect with artists in real time. If you’re art-ing downtown stop at Leven Deli for delicious sandwiches and pastries, or head to Coperta for an incredible farm to table Italian menu. If you still have energy left, hop in the car and head out to Red Rocks Amphitheatre for a stunning sunset and moonrise – it’s my favorite place to have a foot in the city and a foot in the mountains, with stunning red rock beauty around you on all sides. This is also my favorite music venue, with natural acoustics that are magical, and outdoor seating for 9,000 to enjoy.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
As a musician, so much of what I do is in relationship to others, making or teaching music alone is lovely but making music together is what makes me feel whole. Both in teaching and in playing, I have learned so much from the music friends around me! I am so grateful to my musical friends near and far not just for their warm company through what can be a very challenging career, but for the constant wisdom and support. Throughout college we practiced scales and orchestral excerpts together, after graduation we swapped teaching tips and stories to help our own students grow, we’ve exchanged texts and facetimes with frantic questions about trill fingerings and stretches and 20 minute warmups to help our practice routines survive working life, and we play duets and trios and chamber music not just to perform as part of our work, but because it is a joy to still play together and help each other grow musically. I want to shout out all the music friends who have helped me in any capacity, and continue to do so on a weekly basis. I know I’ll never stop learning from you, thank you for your incredible knowledge, and for keeping me laughing!

Website: integralsteps.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/integralsteps

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/integralsteps

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pjFDBlCSnA

Other: https://www.coracrismanflute.com/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.