Sing. Say. Dance. Play.
That’s the motto that is inspiring a passion for music for Burroughs students.
“So, if you can’t sing, that’s okay. Can you say the words? If you can’t dance it, can you play it on an instrument?” explained music teacher Travis Henson. “There’s something for everyone.”
The students start in pre-k, and as they grow, the program grows with them. Kindergarteners dance, sing silly songs, and practice holding a steady beat through rhythm activities. 1st graders sing and play the xylophone while learning musical notes. In second grade, students learn how to perform by singing and playing simultaneously. Third graders take it a step farther by adding a wider variety of instruments, including drums and ukuleles. Fourth and fifth graders focus on working together as a group to present a polished sound.
In addition to increasing their musical knowledge, the students are developing skills that will help them in all facets of their education.
“We learn math; we learn color identification for our pre-k and kindergarten; we learn note and letter identification for our kindergarten and 1st graders. We’re doing eye-hand coordination, cross-body connections to fire their brains into work mode,” said Travis.
Second graders do “creative bits with lit” where they take a story from a book and turn it into a song.
“We read the book the first – so we’re doing language arts right there. Then we take that and sing it into a song. Then we add xylophones on a steady beat. Then we add drums and shakers. Now we have a silly song about a story that we brought from the page into our room,” said Travis.
Social emotional learning comes into play when the drums come out.
“Drum circles are one of their favorite activities. They learn to play nice and to work as a team to create a sound. They grow from each other’s experiences and sounds. It’s a lot of sharing of ideas and having fun as a group,” he said.
The kids also have a chance to get their extra energy out through dance.
“We dance a lot. I’m a fan of just dancing. If we’re going really crazy, let’s put on the YMCA and do it,” said Travis. “It’s not just playing music and learning how to read the notes, but how do we turn everyday activities into a musical experience.”
While students sing, say, dance, and play, they are learning, growing, and having a great time.
“99 percent of the time they leave with a smile,” said Travis.
For more information on the music program at Burroughs, click here.