School Extra By Bob Zimmerman

I like music even though I have never had any musical education. To the best of my recollection, it was not in the curriculum of the two room country school I attended for my first four grades. Band was an option at my next school in 1958, but most of my new classmates could read music a bit and I had no clue about those mysterious marks on the sheet of paper. I got my first transistor radio in 1959 and kept it tuned to we-gee (WDGY out of the cities) or WLS (a 50,000 watt clear-channel station out of Chicago) because both played songs I wanted to hear. I didn’t have to understand how they made the music I wanted to listen to, I just knew it made me feel good; I am still partial to that good old Rock & Roll. I took this little detour down memory lane because I talked with three music teachers for this column and got a taste of what I missed out on some 60 years ago.

Ms. Jessica Cribbs teaches K- 3 music and fourth/sixth grade band at Maple Lake Elementary School. Her web page explains that the K-3 students will be “exploring music through different activities such as reading, moving, singing, creating, listening and playing” and the older band students “will be learning the foundations of playing an instrument.” Ms. Cribbs told me that kindergarten music instruction involves a lot of call and response activity where students echo back to her, and lots of pictures that go along with the music. Moving to the beat and marching are part of the class as well as body percussion, which is a fancier way to say finger tapping, hand clapping, and foot stomping. Musical concepts like high-low, loud-soft and same-different are introduced. First graders learn more musical terms and secnd graders start learning to read music. Folk and circle dances come into play in the third grade and students learn about time signatures and beats. Percussion instruments like glockenspiels, xylophones, mettallophones, and others are used in class to help learn more about making music. Ms Cribbs’ band students come from both MLES and St. Timothy’s and they learn basics about posture, sound, and reading music.

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