Christina Shimp, a Nationally Certified Teacher of Music, leads our K-8th grade program. For kindergarten and first grade we focus on rhythm using boom whackers, animal name association and body movement. The children are briefly introduced to music theory through stories as well as an introduction to the instruments of the orchestra through audio books.
“My approach to music class is to not only teach the standards that are required for music education but more importantly to instill in each child a love of music.”
The second grade is introduced to classical music through listening exercises. In one exercise they follow a “listening map” to the Viennese Musical Clock and Peter and the Wolf. Each year the students also study drums and are able to make their own spinning drums. Third grade’s main focus is learning to play the recorder. Students learn to read the basic rhythms of quarter, half and whole notes as well as the correct fingering for each note. Playing the recorder also requires proper breathing techniques as well as collaboration in an ensemble setting. Third grade also studies the instruments of the orchestra in preparation for attending the Northeast Philharmonic each Spring.
Fourth through eighth grades learn rhythm through “cup songs”, composers, disco, jazz and blues, as well as Woodstock. Recently, the sixth graders researched a group or vocalist that performed at Woodstock and presented it to the class. While the seventh and eighth graders created a Facebook page for different classical composers and wrote a compare/contrast on a chosen subject that related to their composer. We also watch classic musicals like Singin in the Rain, Oklahoma and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
For all of the classes, the fall focuses on performance for the Halloween and Holiday programs. Each child is required to learn and memorize their song as well as hand motions. Routinely, the students showcase their talents, whether it be singing, playing the piano, karate, or dance on performance days. The goal is to teach the kids how to perform and to teach the “audience” how to be a good audience.
Our Glee Club, the Treble Makers, was assembled three years ago. Students who join the group are committed to daily practice and attendance to all rehearsals and performances. Each member is provided a CD of their part for practice at home. The students learn to collaborate with each other, listen to each other and sing a different part than the friend beside them. Each year we perform at the Holiday program and the Talent Show. Recently, we competed at the Eisteddfod Festival and won first place. We also performed at the Fine Arts Fiesta and sang the National Anthem at Track and Field day at the Sports Dome.
Christina is a nationally certified teacher of music. The MTNA (Music Teachers National Association) Professional Certification Program exists to improve the level of professionalism within the music-teaching field. A designation of Nationally Certified Teacher of Music is given to successful candidates who meet the professional competencies and standards required for MTNA Certification. She serves as Secretary to the Millennium Music Teacher’s Association and is a member of the Northeast Pennsylvania Music Teachers Association. She is also a member of the Pennsylvania Music Teacher’s Association. Christina is continually enhancing her musical education capabilities through online seminars in Elementary Education and through professional development opportunities directly related to Music Education.
Christina offers private lessons through her music studio, Make a Joyful Noise. For the little ones, she tests them for their readiness before accepting them as a student. Lessons are given during the day for 30 minutes. Times are chosen at the discretion of the parent, school director and the teacher. Academics always come first so we determine a time that least impacts their studies. Christina also has a home studio for those students who require or prefer a longer lesson time. The studio offers group, duet, and private lessons.
“Preparation for the creative economy: Investing in creative education can prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The new economy has created more artistic careers, and these jobs may grow faster than others in the future.”
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