Monday, March 14, 2011

Keeping the Song Alive

March is Music In Our Schools Month!

Did you know?

"The world's top academic countries place a high value on music education. Hungary, Netherlands and Japan stand atop worldwide science achievement and have strong commitment to music education. All three countries have required music training at the elementary and middle school levels, both instrumental and vocal, for several decades. The centrality of music education to learning in the top-ranked countries seems to contradict the United States' focus on math, science, vocabulary, and technology." (1988 International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement Test)

"Music training helps under-achievers. In Rhode Island, researchers studied eight public school first grade classes. Half of the classes became "test arts" groups, receiving ongoing music and visual arts training. In kindergarten, this group had lagged behind in scholastic performance. After seven months, the students were given a standardized test. The "test arts" group had caught up to their fellow students in reading and surpassed their classmates in math by 22 percent. In the second year of the project, the arts students widened this margin even further. Students were also evaluated on attitude and behavior. Classroom teachers noted improvement in these areas also." (Nature, May 23, 1996)

"The nation's top business executives agree that arts education programs can help repair weaknesses in American education and better prepare workers for the 21st century." ("The Changing Workplace is Changing Our View of Education," Business Week, October 1996.)
* Support Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation
* Hungry for Music also donates instruments to kids who need them. As fundraisers, they sell CDs of interesting music, like Night of 100 Elvises, holiday music, and a bunch of CDs about baseball.
* 25 Things You Can Do Today To Help Music Education from VH1's Save the Music Foundation
* Information on getting started playing music, with descriptions of instruments
* It only takes two minutes to tell Congress that you support arts education.

Ways to celebrate MIOSM:

From VH1:
Do something extra for your school--
* Concerts at lunch for students and faculty
* Perform at an assembly
* Invite other classes (music and non-music) to join in for a "Name That Tune" event
* Provide music each morning on the daily announcements (live or a variety of recorded music

Do something for your community--
* Ask a shopping center to schedule student performances to celebrate MIOSM
* Create an "adopt a musician" program through the local adult day care or senior center. Have students adopt a senior and spend some time interviewing them about what musical experiences they have had during their lives.
* Contact the local school board and invite its members to visit a class. This is an opportunity to feature the basic education role of music in our schools, rather than to focus entirely on the performance aspect of music.
* Contact local businesses and suggest that they invite school music groups to perform for their employees.
* Perform at a local train station as commuters leave for or arrive home from work

Ideas from Patty Oeste, Ruth Doyle Intermediate School, Conway, Arkansas:

* "I sent out a note last year for the teachers to sign up if they wanted their door decorated in some sort of musical fashion. Out of 42 letters, 40 signed up!"

* Musical Lunch Club - "This was a HUGE hit. Over spring break, any student that wanted to would watch a musical with their parents, fill out a question sheet, and return it to me. In return, they would be invited to the Musical Lunch Club. That is, they got a “ticket” to attend lunch in my room with me providing dessert. I dressed up in a different costume each time, and they were to try and guess what musical it was from."

* Wear A Musical Piece Of Clothing - "On a Friday, I ask all of the students to wear a piece of clothing that has musical motifs on it."

* Parent Guest Artists - "I have many parents that volunteer to come and share their talents with their child's class. This year, I have a vocalist (folk), an orchestra director (also, percussionist), an opera director, a bluegrass player, and a jazz musician."

From Shelly O'Dell, Benton County School of the Arts in Rogers, AR:

* Advertise around school/posters/MENC MIOSM give-aways (pencils, paper, buttons, etc.)
* Encourage fellow teachers to integrate music into their classrooms all month long.
* We will have a theme each week and details about the theme will be on the morning announcements each day: (themes may be)
* Music History Week
* Musical Instruments Week
* American Composers Week
* Music Around the World Week
* Our choirs attend a field trips to see the Vienna Boys Choir and to participate in MIOSM events.

* More suggestions for ways to celebrate
* Still more ways to celebrate MIOSM.

Sea Treble by Tabatha Yeatts
Singers to come, what thoughts will start
To song? What words of yours be sent
Through man’s soul, and with earth be blent?
These worlds of nature and the heart
Await you like an instrument.

from Singers to Come by Alice Meynell

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