WORTHIGNTON — Mask? Check! Hand sanitizer? Check! Distancing? Check! Instrument pack? Wait, what?
It seems everywhere we look, life has somehow and in some way changed during the past year, and even though the way music is taught has also changed, the value and need forever stands the test of time. This year’s Music in Our Schools Month does, indeed, look different from last year’s, and amidst the different learning models that our students have undergone through the academic year, they have continued to create and experience music from their homes, as well as in school.
Through the feats of modern technology, students have benefited greatly with the use of our digital music curriculum, Quaver Music, in which the students have been able to experience interactive music lessons with teacher-guided videos that allow for independent learning and teacher feedback. Students have connected further though videos created by the Prairie music staff. These videos have included musical storytelling and other interactive participation, through video and audio production.
Even amidst the growth of technology, nothing quite replaces the value of being able to teach students in person. However, as we transition to students being back in the school building, things that were once taken for granted have become areas for creative thought and reflection. Sharing classroom instruments and materials, locomotor activities, singing and live performances are all a part of a comprehensive music program, but have not been safely possible over the last year. With the help of our local Worthington Area Music Boosters organization (WAMBO), as well as other financial gifts, students at Prairie Elementary have each received an instrument pack to be used at school that includes rhythm sticks, egg shakers and movement scarves that allow them to create, perform, respond and connect with music, while also being safe in the current conditions.
As we continue to engage in music with our students, the benefit of music in the lives of our students has become evermore apparent. Music is the catalyst that gives a voice to feelings and emotions that are not often easily articulated, and gives the body and soul an avenue to express them. It is our aim as music educators to provide our students with these universal human needs and experiences to help them process the challenges life will bring.
Debra Moe, Taylor Huwe and Linda Van Westen are music teachers at Prairie Elementary.