Life Story


So-me Music Stories for Juniors

Teaching Notes for So-me Stories RSS

Introduction | So-me's Situation

Since the So-me Stories have become available on social media through I have realized that they could have an extended use in Church Services, Sunday Schools and Church Schools as well as in the secular school system for which they were written.

To this end I offer these comments for each story to help them become embedded into any educational setting with a recognized spiritual or ethical interest.

Connections have been made between the stories and the following topics:

  1. family values
  2. learning to listen
  3. a new world
  4. upside-down ideas
  5. dreams
  6. mistakes
  7. dealing with difference
  8. being saved
  9. faith
  10. good and evil
  11. means and ends
  12. a new life

Although the connections may seem tenuous at times they do indicate the presence of these ideas deep in my thinking.

13 entries

Songs of a Crazy Kingdom

Music and Worship for Aficionados

North Shore Youth Choir | Negro Spirituals

Listen to album here


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Singing Songs of a Crazy Kingdom by Stuart Manins is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

History of the Choir

Tales from a Crazy Kingdom

Album | 9 tracks

zine 07 celebrating an 84th birthday

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Stuart Manins is a New Zealander with an international involvement in music education. In his early teaching days as a music specialist in secondary schools, he was known as a choral conductor of youth choirs. Trained as a singer with a master’s degree in music from the University of Auckland, he became Head of Music at North Shore Teachers College and later at Auckland College of Education. During these years, he was involved in writing National Advanced Studies in Teaching Music, and the 1989 NZ Department of Education Music Syllabus. As a performer, he toured locally and overseas with the Early Music group, The Kynges Companye.

 Stuart has had a long association with ISME, the International Society for Music Education, presenting papers and workshops in the areas of Teacher Education, Community Music, and Early Childhood Music. He retired from full-time lecturing in 1989 but continues to write, lecture, and consult. He was a member of the ISME Early Childhood Music Education commission, 1998 – 2002. The public knows him best through a series of Music Stories for Juniors written to help young children develop musicianship through singing in tune and moving in time as they begin reading and writing music.  He is also associated with promoting the place of Maori Music in New Zealand music education. In 2005 he was awarded life membership of ONZA (Orff New Zealand Aotearoa).

In later years there has been an increasing interest in Theological studies applied to congregational settings.


MA, DipTchg, LTCL, LiMS

Lifetime Membership



Manins, Stuart, Maori Music in New Zealand Music Education. North Shore Teachers College, 1979.

Ibid, Singing Medieval and Renaissance Music. Auckland College of Education, 1985.

Buckton, Roger and Stuart Manins Optimal Ages and Stages in Developing Musical        

            Activities and Concepts: Affective Response to Music: Instrumental Music and

            Vocal Training – A survey of Research Literature. Studies in Music Education

            No.2, Ed. David Sell, School of Music, University of Canterbury, 1987.

Manins, Stuart  Music Stories for Juniors.   S. M. Books, Auckland NZ, 1987 – 2000.

            No. 1   So-me Goes Missing

            No. 2   So-me and the Spider

            No. 3   So-me Meets the Boss

            No. 4   So-me…Oh and Romeo

            No. 5   So-me at the Pole

            No. 6   So-me in Space

            No. 7   So-me and the Dance

            No. 8   So-me and his Secret

            No. 9   So-me Goes to the Party

            No. 10 So-me and the Monster

            No. 11 So-me Finds ‘Dough’

            No. 12 So-me and the Princess

    CD. All stories read by author

    Activity Sheets for So-me Stories 1 – 12

Selection of papers and articles by Stuart Manins

Young Teachers asked about the Usefulness of Music Course. National Education, Vol 61 No. 673 Wellington, 1979

Maori Music in New Zealand Music Education. Paper presented at ISME Conference, Bristol, UK, 1982.

So-me gets Reified. Paper given at ECME seminar, Brisbane, 1988

Understanding the new Music Syllabus. Music in the Community. Paper presented at Music ’89, NZSE, 1989

Start Music Young. ISME Conference paper, Helsinki, Finland, 1990

Bicultural Music Education in New Zealand/Aotearoa. Paper presented at the

twenty-fifth Orff-Schulwerk Conference, San Diego, 1991

Bridge Building in Early Childhood Music. Article in Music Educators Journal, March, 1994

Music and Language developed through stories. ISME Conference, Tampa, 1994

Music Stories for Young Children. Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia Bulletin, 1996

Sing a Song of Somewhere Else. ECME paper, Winchester UK, 1996

The Child in the Middle. ECME paper, Respecting the Child in Early Childhood Music Education, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 1998

So-me goes Bicultural. Paper at ISME, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1998

Where some Whites are All Blacks. ISME Session given in South Africa, 1998

How children learn Music. Article in Sound Ideas,Vol 2 No 2, Canterbury Studies in Music Education, School of Music, University of Canterbury, 1998

The value of Music Education. 1998

Curriculum Concerns. The place and value of music and the arts: trust rather than fear as a basis for action. 1998

So-me goes into Action 1. Feature article, Developmental Network Newsletter p39, 1999

The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum. Feature article, Developmental Network   

 Newsletter, 1999

Fact or Feeling. Sound Ideas, Vol.2 No. 3, March/April 1999, Canterbury Studies in  Music Education, Christchurch: School of Music, University of Canterbury, p38

Deep Concerns about the Arts Curriculum. Developmental Network Newsletter, No. 1, 1999, Hamilton: Developmental  Publications, p17

Music Stories offer Something Special. Music in Action, p36. 2000

Developing Music Literacy through Original Shared Book Experiences. Early           Connections, Summer 200

Music Education in Two Cultures: Pakeha and Maori. ISME Conference, Ontario, Canada, 2005

Walk a mile in my shoes: the multicultural journey. Music in the Air. Journal article Winter 2006, No. 22 p34

 Papers by Stuart Manins and another author

 Kaa, Keri & Huata Manins. Maori and Pacific Islands Music. Statement from Music Curriculum Review Committee, 1985

Manins, Stuart & Greg Tata. Maori Music in the New-Zealand Classroom – Bicultural Issues, 23rd International Society for Music Educational Conference Proceedings, Pretoria, South Africa, 1998

Froehlich, Charlotte & Stuart Manins. The Bigger Picture. ECME paper Frescati, Italy, 2008

 Articles about Music Stories for Juniors

 Herbert, David G. Music in Expressive Discourse: New directions for Arts Education in New Zealand. Research in New Zealand Performing Arts, 2006

McLaughlin, Heather. Review: Music Stories for Juniors – The So-me books.  Music Education International, 2003


Ikigai Reviewed | kiwizine #27

IKIGAI Reviewed

Stuart Manins's portfolios



(10 pages)
Stuart Manins on what the gospel means to him by retelling it in today's terms.
Manins on Methodism

Manins on Methodism

(15 pages)
A lay perspective
Pilgrimage to Israel 2009

Pilgrimage to Israel 2009

Reflections on my experiences. Please feel encouraged to leave a comment.
So-me Music Stories for Juniors

So-me Music Stories for Juniors

(1 page)
Videos of the stories plus additional teaching tips and techniques.
Upbeat | My Life Story

Upbeat | My Life Story

(24 pages)
An autobiography by Stuart Manins
What I've been reading

What I've been reading

(2 pages)
Latest books, artciles.
8 results

My artistic intent

David Bell asked me what my motivation was to offer the different contributions I have made to Kiwiconnexion. I would like to say that it comes from a desire to help others and contribute some things interesting and helpful to our community.

But to be bluntly honest it’s more complicated than that. I don’t really know why I do many things, other than I just want to do them for their own sake. I think that I like interacting with others; the cut and thrust of debate, the comfort of affirmation, and the challenge of extending my skills and ideas. There is a mixture of ‘showing off’, selfish gratification, altruism, and the satisfaction of making a special, if not unique contribution. However, I tend to do things mainly because I like doing them.


1. The So-me stories were written to assist teachers focus on helping young children sing in tune and move in time – two fundamental aspects of their music development.

I would have done this as part of my professional requirements as a music lecturer in a secular job, but being a follower of Jesus has greatly helped me want to help others.

I am uncomfortable with the polarisation of the sacred and the secular. Life is packed with activities which can be helpful or unhelpful, or perhaps, neutral.

2. The Gospel series, built on the Beatitude stories, came from the sense that while Jesus was a superb teacher, what he said and did is often obscured by the formalism, ritual, and piety of the church. Could I write up some of the most important of his ideas in an interesting way, particularly suitable for adolescent listeners?

The reduction of this material into rhyming poetry, using folk tune as well as known hymns, appeals to me because I’m a music educationist who loves singing. If I could write successfully for 3-8 year olds, could I also write interestingly for the age group so obviously missing from our church services?

 3. In Pilgrim Journeys I wanted to share experiences in Israel, the land which had had such an important place in my upbringing. I had heard Bible Stories daily as a child and was familiar with the names of places and people I had never been or met. When, in 2008, I had the opportunity to spend some time there with my daughter’s in-laws, I was able to fulfil a life-time wish. So much of the Bible depends on understanding the geography, history, philosophy, and culture of the people and customs of ancient times. Any history is a mixture of fact and fantasy, and visiting the situations described and understanding the customs of the day are essential to interpret accurately their relationships to us today.

 4. Manins on Methodism was not written originally for others to read. It was a series of answers given to the questions given me as a student of one of the courses at the MethodistTheological College. I consider that I was fortunate at the time in not having external motivation to be involved. I just wanted to learn more of the content. I wanted to support the activities of Tcol, and the Principal. This gave me the chance to be completely honest in forming my answers. I didn’t have any status to defend, nor any students looking to me as an example to follow. This gives great personal freedom. I try hard not to say things I don’t mean or don’t understand.

 5. Book reviews and guided reading  The Quest for a Moral Compass, Kenan Malik and The Evolution of Everything, Matt Ridley

This is another example of using skills developed from my own University student days or from professional teaching times. About fifty years ago I had been a reviewer of music books for The Weekly News and over many years developed the practice of summarising chapter by chapter, in my personal diary, the content of books that really interested me. I have always been interested in Ethics and Morality, and Evolution as a process in Biology. I do not pretend to offer expert comment in these areas but am pleased to be involved in the interests of extending my own knowledge.

6. Dramatic presentations   

  • Adam and Eve, David Bell
  • Stations of the Cross, Elizabeth Hopner

A number of Methodist clergy and lay members have been used in producing these resources and I have contributed by the part of Stuart in the first and singing as well as reading in the second. I enjoy reading aloud, and was trained as a singer. Apart from producing and conducting opera and concerts, I have enjoyed many performance and some acting experiences. I find an interesting parallel in being on stage and in the life of Faith. The were times in playing Tevye, which is a major role in Fiddler on the Roof, when I would sit off stage waiting for my next entrance, when I could not remember what my next line was. One learned not to panic but just appear at the right time and the context would always suggest what was needed to be said and done. Provided one has adequately prepared for the role, it never lets you down. For me Faith, is rather like this. Rest in the belief that all will work out in its own way.

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The concept of expiry of the Night School badge I find interesting.  The others are very clear to me in terms of qualification.

Hi Stuart, I like the Open Badge collections now dispalying. Did you respond for the Muso award?

Thanks for providing info re artistic intent. This was a strategy from Lavinia Elder's Postcards of the Cross, which I found really helpful.

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