Master of Music, New England Conservatory
Bachelor of Music, University of Massachusetts
Nine Years at Elgin Academy
Why are music and movement important components of a PS - 8 education?
I can't imagine music without movement. In the early years I add more movement in each class for students to learn to keep a steady beat. Less than 50% of adults can keep a beat and I want 100% of my students to be able to! Research shows a link between children who can keep a steady beat and linguistic development. Music and brain function are linked, so music helps children in all areas of development. Through music, they are exposed to instrumental sounds, historical periods, cultures, languages, emotions, inspirational composers, and performers... the list goes on. I wouldn't want any child to miss out on a musical education.
What has been your favorite musical memory at Elgin Academy so far?
My favorite memory each year is the Winter Program. I love the excitement that builds as the performance draws near. For some children, this is their first time performing on stage, so it is a monumental event! They must learn how to prepare as a musician. Not only do they practice and memorize, they learn to stand tall and proud, be focused, and feel a sense of accomplishment as the performance itself is the "reward." Even the youngest children work diligently for six weeks to prepare. As they line up backstage and wait for their entrance cue, their eyes light up with excitement and their smiles go from ear to ear.
How do you encourage kids to express themselves musically?
Music and movement fit together naturally, so in the early childhood program there are many opportunities for creative movement. As the children advance in their musical studies, they may do things like rewriting the words of a song, composing short melodies, creating ringtones, improvising rhythms, altering the section of a folk dance, or giving input regarding which song to work on. Students are also encouraged to share music they have been practicing outside of school. This results in impromptu performances!