The Haviland grade school has received a grant from the South Central Community Foundation (SCCF) that provides new equipment and lesson materials for their music education program.
“We haven’t been able to update our curriculum in some time,” said Haviland Grade School Music Teacher Kim Stewart. “The grant allowed us get on the same page as probably most other kids in Kansas. I’m so excited because my kids get to do what a lot of other kids already get to do.”
The SCCF grant provided funding for a pair of brand new glockenspiels, a pair of xylophones and class materials.
“There is a state standard on musical composition but it can be challenging to work that into our curriculum,” said Stewart. “These instruments are perfect for that. There are no wrong notes. They kids can be creative without the limitation of ‘I can’t perform this,’ or ‘I can’t make those sounds.’ Sounds and notes are very accessible through these types of instruments.”
The glockenspiel and xylophone are percussion instruments.
By striking either a wooden (glockenspiel) or a metal (xylophone) bar with a mallet, a musical note is created.
Both are popular with early-music educators for their simplicity, portability and accessibility to musical principles that can be applied to a range of more advanced instruments.
Stewart said she uses them to teach her students about tempo, note citation and a host of other music-foundation skills.
Students learn to play songs and rhymes while performing in front of their classmates to build confidence. Stewart also allows her students “exploration time,” where they can get creative, playing whatever they want to.
“We’re fortunate in our area; most of our students have opportunities with music,” said Stewart. “Part of the Orff Foundation philosophy is that all students can benefit from exposure to musical concepts. It’s very kid-oriented and hands on.”
The grant, funded by the SCCF, is part of the Orff Musical Education Project a program that teaches music through singing, dancing and physical engagement.
According to the American Orff-Shulwerk Association’s website, “With Orff-Schulwerk, improvisation and composition start students on a lifetime of knowledge and pleasure through personal musical experience.”
The program’s namesake Carl Orff was a 20th century German composer who, in his later life, espoused the benefits of music education in schools.
Orff wrote more than 20 operas and compositions before his death in 1982, but is best known for “Carmina Burana,” a 24-movement cantata written in 1935.
Page 2 of 2 - “O Fortuna,” a passage that opens and closes Carmina Burana, has been widely used in films and television.
Stewart said she was grateful for the grant and acknowledged that the value of music and art programs can be overlooked when districts are looking for places to find savings.
“It’s fantastic. I’m so thankful to the foundation for this. It allows our kids to be competitive, because if you are always behind, that is a tough place to be. I’m glad they looked at music education as something worth investing in.”