Music education

Sarah Penna

At Killington Elementary School, the music classroom is a world of exploration and discovery for students. We will learn about music by directly experiencing music; through performing, listening, moving, composing, and more. All children are musical children. Students bring a wide variety of interests into the classroom and each child’s ideas will be woven into lessons throughout the year. Throughout their time in general music, they will learn to find their musical voices and use them to express their identities and places in the world. Creativity, teamwork, and respect are all essential components of this classroom as we nurture the whole musical child.

In my role as a music educator, I wish to guide students as they form connections to the sonic world around them and the art of musical expression. Music is a wonderful, emotional, primal, and essential art that we as humans are lucky to know so intimately. It has the power to inspire, to heal, and to invoke change. I see it as my responsibility to help students discover how music has, can, and will do that in their own lives. I aim to guide students as they achieve personal musical connections whether it be through listening together, playing together, or simply discussing it together.

Students in grades kindergarten through second grade will focus primarily on fundamentals of music such as pulse, rhythm, melody, and movement. They will play a wide variety of percussion instruments, develop their singing voices, and learn many musical games. Young students will explore musical opposites such as high/low, loud/soft, and smooth/jagged. Late in second grade, music literacy will emerge even further as students begin associating musical sounds with their notation symbols and reading music. Students in third through sixth grade will continue to work on music theory skills as well as a variety of exciting personal projects, including soundtrack creation and musical museum exhibits. Fifth and sixth graders will begin to develop independence in working with various music technology modalities, composing techniques, and more advanced instrumental and vocal performance activities. All students will have opportunities to play instruments, use their singing voices, improvise, write their own compositions, explore the musical traditions of other cultures, and develop their own musical tastes and knowledge.

Beginning in fourth grade, students will also have the opportunity to join the band. In fourth grade, students will meet once a week for group lessons on their chosen instrument. Fifth and sixth graders will continue to have group lessons and will also rehearse together as a full ensemble. There will be performance opportunities in the winter and spring. As we navigate yet another school year during the pandemic, all measures will be taken to ensure the safety of student musicians and performances will happen within those measures. Throughout the year, we will reassess the possibility of performing in the community and collaborating with other Vermont musicians from our local area.

In both general music and beginning band, students will learn how to appreciate the wide array of music available to them. They will be exposed to music from all over the world, music they are familiar with, and sounds they have never heard before. They will develop their own creativity and ability to recognize certain musical elements while describing their reactions to what they hear or play. In keeping consistent with the National Core Arts Standards for music, students will master the steps of the artistic process, constantly reflecting on their journey. Music is such a wonderful tool that can be used to express emotions, provide a relaxing soundtrack for our day, focus us when we need to study, teach us discipline, encourage us to take positive risks, and a million other fantastic things. It is my hope that above all, students are thankful for the presence of music in their lives, provided in the classroom at Killington Elementary School or discovered elsewhere.