Moffat County Elementary Music Program: Learning through music and play
Music teachers new and old give Moffat County’s elementary students a playful introduction to the world of music. From drums to keyboards in Phyllis Reed’s class at Ridgeview Elementary School to guitars and singing in Julieann Matheson’s music class at Sandrock Elementary, kids develop a foundational knowledge in music while having fun.
“We do a lot of singing and a lot of moving. I think children learn best through play, and so I try to make music as playful as possible,” Matheson said, a Craig native who went through Moffat County School District’s music program herself before going onto become a professional opera singer.
When Matheson switched gears to become a teacher, she brought with her an enthusiasm for music which enriches students’ learning. Kids learn music through games, singing playful songs, practicing simple choreography and playing instruments such as recorders, xylophones and drums.
“I believe that we have a heritage of music as Americans, and I do what I can to teach the kids the songs that have been part of our culture for 100 plus years in our country,” Matheson said. “Music makes you smarter.”
In Reed’s class, kids often take their talents on the road with the famous drum group that performs at community events during the holiday season or at places like Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehabilitation.
Reed, who will retire at the end of the school year, has been teaching at MCSD for 14 years and has been teaching music for 45 years total.
“I just like little kids. They have an honesty about them,” Reed said. “I like to see them grow. I get to know them in a whole different way.”
In her classroom, students spend a lot of time on keyboards, progressing at their own pace through beginner keyboard books which help students get familiar with both the treble and bass clef.
“Music is all around us, in nature sounds, on the radio. We’re going to hear music, good and bad,” Reed said. “The more you know, you can make decisions about what you want to listen to… and you know what goes into it.”
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