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Follow Mr. Mertz at @HAESmusic on Twitter.

Welcome to the Music Room at Harrowgate! This is my third year here as the Music teacher. I grew up in Chester and attended C.C. Wells Elementary, Carver Middle, and Lloyd C. Bird High School. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011, I taught for three and a half years in Montgomery County and the City of Danville. I received my Orff Schulwerk certification from George Mason University in 2015, and also have Level I Kodály training from James Madison University.

It is hard to not be exposed to music in our daily lives, whether that be by singing in a church choir, tapping on a desk that cool new “beat” on the radio, or even just listening to a catchy song on a commercial. However, having music instruction at an early age helps people to better understand and enjoy these experiences.

All K-5 students at Harrowgate Elementary School receive 45 minutes of music instruction per week. Prekindergarten and Head Start students also have Music once a week for 20 minutes. In class, we explore various elements of music, like rhythm, melody, harmony, and style. To accomplish this, students use media such as singing, listening, instruments, movement, improvisation, and composition.

Kindergarten-3rd Graders will have music performances this year. Also, a small delegation of 5th Graders is chosen to represent Harrowgate as part of the Elementary Honors Chorus at the CCPS Fine Arts Festival each spring. I am also looking to start an extracurricular music ensemble that will perform on select dates.

Although Music is not a subject in which students take an SOL test, there are national and state standards for music from Prekindergarten all the way to 12th Grade. Mr. Mertz hopes to expand students’ literacy and musicianship, but above all, he wants our students to be passionate about creating music!

Although some students may display more innate ability initially, Music is not a class where “you either have *it* or you don’t.” When students exhibit a growth mindset and take advantage of the variety of activities employed in class, they will find ways to shine and display their individuality.