ASU Music 4 Kids sparks love of music


Article by Linda Relyea

young chldren and a college student walking across music class room space

Photo by Linda Relyea
Elementary students warm-up by moving to music during tMusic 4 Kids.

Gathered in a circle, young students smile as they skip, snap, and tap to the beat. The Adams State University Music Department offered an opportunity for elementary students, in second and third grades, to be immersed in music instruction and provided Adams State music education majors real-world experience from classroom management to the pleasure of watching young minds soak up instruction.

Kristie Sanders-Huss brought her eight-year-old daughter Harlowe Sanders to the classes. "The program was awesome. I am glad we took advantage of the opportunity. It would be great if it was available through-out the year."

According to Dr. Tracy Doyle, professor of music, Music 4 Kids, a service learning project, served as a cornerstone for the Elementary Music Methods course.

The program made elementary music more approachable for Alamosa High School graduate Skye Montoya, music education and vocal performance major and Class of 2019. "It is one thing learning songs and games in a class of college students, but getting the chance to apply our methods and processes to actual children gives us a better understanding of the content."

Every Monday, Elementary Music Methods students constructed the overall lesson plan for the next day, and every evening after the Music 4 Kids class, the group met to debrief on what went well, and what could be improved. Student teaching samples were video recorded for assessment and the students turned in a project that includes their lesson plan and assessments, along with a reflection on their own teaching.

Monte Vista High School graduate Chelsea Todd, music education and flute performance major, said Music 4 Kids provided insight on classroom management, lesson planning, and collaboration with colleagues. "Music 4 Kids allowed me to see how awesome elementary music can be, and helped me become more open-minded to teaching elementary students one day."

The free after-school music course helped Adams State students develop curriculum, lesson plans, and assessments. "Throughout the semester we use the gradual release of responsibility model," Doyle said "I begin the semester modeling the teaching process in M4K, and gradually by the end of the semester, the class is taught 100 percent by ASU students."

This allows music education majors the opportunity to practice teaching and apply course content in a lab with children. "It is really exciting as an educator to see the course content come alive in a music lab setting, and to see ASU music education majors develop teaching skills, and the ability to self-evaluate," Doyle added.

Todd appreciated how quickly the young students learned the material and how eagerly the participated. Montoya agreed: "Working with these kids was fantastic. They were all so well behaved and attentive. It was rewarding to see at our last class with them how many were sad it was ending."