Wichita Music Students Celebrate World's Largest Concert with Special Joy

Rebecca Gobel, MENC member and an adaptive music teacher with the Wichita, Kansas, Public Schools, is based at the Levy Special Education Center. She says that she introduced The World’s Largest Concert® (WLC®) to her students in 2008. Gobel shares her 2009 experiences:

“USD 259-Wichita Public Schools in Kansas is blessed with many students who have special needs and many students with non-specific needs. I have the privilege of teaching music mostly to the prior group.

“Last year, I introduced The World’s Largest Concert to my students and it was warmly received. We study the pieces [of music] using some of the MENC-provided lesson information, using YouTube and Discovery Streaming videos for reinforcement. For example, this year, we watched two streaming video clips as we learned about the Underground Railroad. We also watched several YouTube clips of Hula Dancers, one about the Hawaiian Guitar Style called “Slack Key,” and even found an “ ‘Ulili E” performance there. In addition, we watched a couple of video streaming clips about the power of wind and the use of windmills.

“Then we add our own sign language and/or actions, instrumentation, manipulatives and Voice Output Devices. (A Voice Output Device is a small device on which we can pre-record messages for students who are non-verbal. Then they activate it, giving them a voice.) Many students get involved in making their own manipulatives: American Flags, Leis, Pinwheels and Hearts (instructions and patterns). A few classes did opt to buy 6/$1 leis and 3/$1 pinwheels from the local dollar store.

“Finally, we practiced with a PowerPoint presentation of lyrics and instructions that guided us through the actual concert. On the day of the concert, we watched the WLC DVD as well as the PowerPoint and performed the pieces.

“The students get excited to come together as a school and interact with everyone. Nearly all of them responded favorably to music. The staff also enjoys the “community” time. This set-up is much less threatening for those who do not like performing but still enjoy making music together.”

MENC urged music educators to participate in the WLC as part of  Music In Our Schools Month® (MIOSM®), the association’s annual advocacy event, in March. Look back at other WLC performance stories on the MENC Web News Stand:

Taping Displays Hawaii’s Natural Beauty and the Music of Peace

At DC School, Teachers and Students Share the Musical Magic of the World’s Largest Concert

Indiana Students Find Common Ground for World’s Largest Concert DVD

Directing A Cast of Hundreds in Boise

More information on  The World’s Largest Concert

–Roz Fehr, April 1, 2009. © MENC: The National Association for Music Education