My first experience with Music In Our Schools Month was as a new music teacher way back in 1992. As a beginning teacher fresh out of Hastings College, I loved that my third-quarter concert was so easy to put together, thanks to the work that MENC (Music Educators National Conference, now NAfME) had done for us. Learning the songs and taking part in the “World’s Largest Concert” were activities my students and I enjoyed. It was something new to all of us, and being able to sing the same songs with students from around the world at the same time was definitely an exciting event for us in a small Nebraska town!
As a veteran teacher, I still appreciate the MIOSM materials that are available to us! (Plus, now the music and accompaniment downloads are free! Who doesn’t love that?!) In my current teaching position of 5-12 vocal music, we schedule some of our performances during March to utilize and build upon the MIOSM focus. This year, the program for my fifth grade students is selected solely from the MIOSM literature. NAfME really hit it out of the park this year with these songs! My students are enjoying the styles the songs bring to our learning, and I appreciate the John Jacobsen staging ideas that are provided as well. What a great addition RaeLynn’s song is to the program; having a new country artist contribute to the writing of “Always Sing” brings a whole different level of excitement to this particular song.
We spent some time in class discussing the points RaeLynn mentioned in her interview about feeling out of place when she was younger, which sparked the lyrics for this song. The first day we started learning this song, I had a student come over to me before he left the room and said, “This is how I feel a lot of the time because other people say I shouldn’t like singing as much as I do.” My heart broke for him, yet I was grateful for the opportunity to affirm him in his enjoyment of singing, and was immediately thankful that this song provided an outlet for him. Realizing my students’ enthusiasm for this song has prompted me to invite the elementary classroom teachers, paraprofessionals, and administrators to join us on stage for that song as the finale for our upcoming concert. I can’t wait to hear everyone all together!
Nebraska Music Educators Association sponsors “Music at the Capitol” the first week of March each year. This is a great opportunity to make our work known at the state level as music educators. Performing in the rotunda of the Capitol, with state legislators present, is an incredible moment for young performers. We are fortunate that this year our Middle School choir has been selected as one of the performance ensembles, as has our Middle School band. Having two groups from the same school chosen to perform creates a fantastic excitement within our department!
For some of us, this winter has been a long season. It’s easy to get “bogged down” with snow days and the everyday tasks we complete. Why not utilize MIOSM as a way to recharge your students and yourself?
- Go to a nearby retirement center and invite residents to join in a sing-along.
- “Toot your own horn” with an article on your school website or community newspaper.
- Invite your administration, school board, or other community members in for class.
- Share YOUR story with your students. Who inspired you? Why did you pursue music?
As we look forward to spring, give your program a breath of fresh air by taking advantage of the fantastic NAfME resources available to us, and celebrate Music In Our Schools Month with your students!
Amy Krance-Wendt joined the Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools system in 2011 as the 5-12 Vocal Music director, where she also directs the school musical and teaches Leadership class. She holds degrees from Hastings College and University of Nebraska – Omaha, and has worked as a music teacher, religion teacher, and as a school principal in public and Catholic schools.
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Kristen Rencher, Social Media Coordinator. March 5, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)