Musical Lesson for Leominster Kids

08/06/2007
By From The Worcester Telegram and Gazette By Anna L. Griffin Staff Reporter


Children who attend the Head Start program at the Lincoln School, Cross Street, were introduced to music and musical instruments recently by students from UMass-Lowell.
The pupils also received an introduction ߞ; to teaching.
The students are members of the UMass Lowell Collegiate Chapter of the Music Educators National Conference and volunteered to work with the youngsters after their college received a request from teacher Allyson Kelly.
“The children really do not have the opportunity to learn about music and musical instruments,” Ms. Kelly said. “We don’t have any funding for programs like that, so I was looking for a way to get music into our classrooms.”
She explained that the children have daily singing and children’s music is played in the classrooms during certain times. “The children may also listen to music on the radio, or through video tapes they may see, but so many of them really don’t know what the different instruments are.”
Ms. Kelly said she heard about the music education program at UMass-Lowell and decided to contact the campus. “I listed ourselves with the campus organization that handles volunteers and, coincidentally, the members of MENC were looking for opportunities like this.”
Three students from UMass visited the school for a half-day program in which they played, sang and interacted with children ages three through five.
Anthony Beatrice, one of the students with the MENC, said the experience was a chance for students ߞ; who may one day become music educators ߞ; to work with the children. Members of the chapter volunteer their services as part of an outreach effort.
“It’s really been an eye-opening experience for us,” he said. “We’re finding that there’s some things they have knowledge of and other things they really don’t have any idea of.”
Tara Pellitier said one of the things that she noticed immediately was attention span. “With the younger children, you really have to move quickly. We’ve had to modify our presentation a little bit.”
Each of the presentations lasted about 20 minutes. They included introductory remarks from the three students, performances and also a chance for the children to use the musical instruments. The drum set seemed to draw the greatest amount of interest.
All of the students said that music had played an important part of their lives, “I’ve just always had music in my life,” said Nicole Fantasia. “I started playing the piano when I was 5 years old; not much older than some of these children.”
Ms. Kelly said she would like to continue the program in some way, “But again, funding is an issue. We don’t have the money to do anything like this. If UMass-Lowell wants to work with us again, that would be wonderful.”
The children apparently agreed. One of the youngsters was overheard asking as she left the classroom, “Are they coming back tomorrow?”