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A new beginning for music classes

Students learn about different instruments in the new music room.

This school year began as a challenging one for three encore teachers at Union Elementary School. Sharing one storage space, the art, music, and Spanish teachers rolled around the school, materials piled high on carts, ready for action, and full of information to share. This was unfortunately the cause of much frustration for these teachers, as some general classrooms lacked essential materials and sufficient space for instruction. In a fantastic turn of events, Mrs. Croffut informed them that the school would soon receive two new trailers, and that they should discuss the arrangement of classes between themselves. The music teacher Ms. Mattatall, new to UCPS and Union Elementary, suggested that Ms. Woods have one for art, and Ms. Moats should take the other for Spanish classes. This would empty out the storage room to make space for a cozy-yet-functional music room.

Just before winter break arrived, so did the new trailers. With the help of some older students, Ms. Woods moved her art supplies into her trailer right away. Ms. Moats’ trailer is still under construction, so she was gracious enough to move her supplies into the office space across the hall, leaving Ms. Mattatall with the exciting task of setting up a classroom from scratch. This was a challenging but rewarding task, and she succeeded in setting up everything she needed by the time the students came back to school after vacation.

Ms. Mattatall says: “One of the really cool things about this music room is the location… it is located on the interior of the school, away from windows and doors, which sets the room up to have surprisingly good acoustics, or sound properties. This location also serves as a ‘safe-zone’ for loud singing and instrument playing. We don’t bother other classes now!”

Other teachers were surprised at how much space was actually available to the students once the room was set up and supplies were organized. The room now serves as a classroom, a dance floor, and a recording studio, all rolled up into one.

Before the music classroom was created, the students would sit in their desks for music class, and stand beside desks for movement activities. Sitting in desks takes away from the music learning atmosphere by not allowing students to move and express emotions physically. Sitting on the floor and standing in rows, the students can now work closely with others and learn more about personal space while they move to a steady pulse and rhythm.

All of the students at UNES go to the music room once a week, and in music class, they participate in a variety of activities including, but not limited to: singing, playing instruments, listening to performances by professional and amateur musicians, reading music and articles on musicians, composers and music history, writing their own music, and playing music review games. Overall, the students at UNES enjoy being out of the classroom for a little while during the day, and they seem to have a good time in the music room. There are specific *STAR* expectations for the music room, and the students have done a good job discussing these together.

The kindergarten and 1st grade classes are continuing to learn about melodies and rhythms, and they have begun learning about the different instruments found in a band. Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes will be performing for the PTO night on February 15th, and the pieces they will be singing/dancing/performing will be related to the globalization countries they have chosen for the year. All 4th and 5th grade students are playing their recorders now! They are learning the technique, history, and interesting facts about these ancient instruments, and will hopefully have a short performance towards the end of the school year to show off their talents. Also to be noted: any 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader who is interested may come and practice for chorus on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7AM. This is held in the music room now, and hopefully these students will get a chance to perform their talents as well.

Please feel free to come and share your love of music with UNES students… if you have an old instrument from when you were in school, contact Ms. Mattatall and she will set up a time for you to come in to help present it to the students. This will help provide a hands-on, non-expensive way to give the students the chance to see these instruments close up and personal! Also feel free to contact Ms. Mattatall with any questions regarding our musical endeavors.

Written by: Amber Mattatall, Music Teacher
Posted: Jan 25, 2011 by Jennifer Williams

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