To the Editor:
We are writing to let the community know that the Connors Emerson School (CES) Music Committee has met twice a month since July to make recommendations for the Grade 5-8 Music Program.
The changes will enhance the music curriculum this year and in years to come. The goal is to make music an integral component of the core curriculum for all students at the middle school level. We plan to do this in a variety of ways given the constraints facing our school.
Throughout the school year, our students will participate in a wide variety of musical activities, to include performances by professional musicians, using musical techniques to enhance learning in existing classes, as well as making and performing on instruments. We will introduce more opportunities for the students to perform music based on student interests and resources.
Activities which have taken place so far this fall have included performing arts for children programs at the Grand (“Reverse the Trend” and “Oliver Twist”). Guest musicians have visited both academic and music classes. Students in grades 6-8 attended a performance of the Mount Desert Island High School musical “Tintypes.”
Future activities planned include the Broadway production of “Sister Act” at the Collins Center, more PAC programs at the Grand and a Music Fest Week for students in grades 7 and 8 in January.
During the Music Fest week, students will choose two strands to concentrate on from 16 music offerings which students have identified interest in.
We are looking to expand opportunities in our current performing groups: 5-6 band, 7-8 band, 5-6 orchestra, 7-8 orchestra, 5-8 chorus, 5-8 Swallowtail Fiddlers, 6-8 jazz band, 5-8 Show Stoppers and instrumental lessons for all band and orchestra participants.
Many studies show that a strong music education enhances learning and promotes achievement across all disciplines. We have certainly found this to be true, as our music programs have nurtured CES’s strong history of academic achievement. Furthermore, we see a strong musical focus as a way to bring our school community together.
As we roll out the new Common Core-based curriculum in accordance with Maine state requirements, we need to be more flexible in how we deliver different subjects. As such, we will be delivering music education to our 7th and 8th graders in combination with other classes, as well as through special events and opportunities.
The CES Music Committee
Brian Booher, Mary Booher, Rebecca Edmondson, Shane Ellis, Lynn Hanna, Matt Hochman, Kristi Losquadro, Barb Neilly and Lilea Simis