Wyoming Arts Council

Wyoming celebrates Music in Our Schools Month in March

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This news comes from Andrew Salzman, Music in Our Schools Month chair for the Wyoming Music Educators Association. Salzman teaches 2nd and 3rd grade music at Rawlins Elementary School:

Entering the winter months can be a very busy time of year for all music educators. Winter, holiday and other concerts or performances abound. Realizing we are busy I wanted to draw a little attention to the spring. Music in Our Schools Month will be at our door sooner than we expect. I realize that planning and performing things in the spring, especially in March with PAWS and other tests can be a nightmare. However I wanted to share with you what other schools have done in the past that worked for them and how they celebrated.

These concerts, activities, and celebrations don’t necessarily have to be elaborate. Simple is great as well.

The students in Burns celebrated Music in Our Schools Month by decorating the hallway bulletin boards with their favorite music images and quotes of “Music Makes Me _______.” This is the theme of this year’s Music in Our Schools Month.

The students at Trail Elementary in Torrington had activities in April to accommodate for PAWS testing in March. They have had some administrative turnover and use it as an excellent way to advocate what they are doing in their music classes. During their celebration teacher Hilarie Gore tells us, “I hang music quotes in the cafeteria for the students to look at while they’re eating. I invite local musicians to perform for the students during lunch. Every year, I’ve achieved my goal of having at least one performer for each school day. The musicians have ranged from high school students performing their solo and ensemble pieces to the college music groups to the bell choir to the local jazz band with the area music teachers. I’ve also opened it to the Trail students so they can practice performing solos on their recorders.” They have also had private piano students perform for their homeroom classes. Ms. Gore goes on to tell us about the lunch time performances, “As each week approaches, I send a schedule to the Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent, and my principal inviting them to join us for the performances.” The local newspaper usually comes at the end of the month and covers the entire month’s activities.

The Arvada/Clearmont Schools collaborated with the visual arts to help bring Music in Our Schools Month to life. The visual arts created drawings entitled “Blue Dog,” and the music students created a themed concert called “The Blue Dog Blues.” This concert included songs and dances that were associated with either the blues or puppy dogs. During the concerts some of the students explained why they drew their Blue Dog the way they did. In between numbers the students’ teacher Elisa Olson took time to explain how the work in their program promoted brain development, and helped reading skills in many different ways.

These are just a few glimpses into how schools across our state are using NAfME’s Music in Our Schools Month program to help celebrate and advocate music in their schools and communities. If you have any questions or are looking for ideas on how you can celebrate music in March, visit the NAfME’s website at http://www.nafme.org/programs/miosm/.

I hope that this time of the year goes easy for each and every one of you, and I look forward to seeing you all in January in Sheridan!”

I hope that you will take some time to promote this great event in your schools. In Rawlins we are planning some ensemble exchanges among the schools. Having different performing groups from each school visit another school during lunch time to bring some music into an otherwise music-less part of the day. Our district is also hosting the 3A Regional Basketball tournament this year and the High School has invited our elementary students to come sing the National Anthem for a game. Our local radio station has also graciously offered to run some PSA’s for us about the events. Prerecorded PSA’s from recording artists are available on the NAfME website. Materials and ideas for classroom teachers are also available: here.

Again thank you for all that you do for our students in your classrooms and in their lives. You make a great impact on each and every student, take some time next month to showcase your, and your students hard work.

FMI: Andrew Salzman, (307) 328 – 7900asalzman@crb1.net

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