Liz Brummel conducts the 4th grade band at Burton Valley Elementary earlier this month.
Music teacher Liz Brummel grinned from ear to ear as she presented Lafayette Elementary’s 4th grade band at its first concert performance last month.
“I seriously hope you are smiling!” she said to the audience of family members and students before turning to the band. The student performers listened attentively as Brummel raised her hands to lead them in their first piece.
Earlier this month, 4th graders from all four of Lafayette’s elementary schools performed in what was for many, their very first concert performance. These winter concerts were an opportunity for the 4th grade musicians to present the foundational skills they learned in their beginning music core classes. Elementary students in the district begin their music education in Kindergarten, but in 4th grade they get more advanced instruction, with a choice of singing in the chorus, playing an instrument in band or a string instrument in the orchestra.
“It is such an exciting time where students can perform music for each other, parents, family, and friends,” said Brummel. This year, 3rd graders were invited to be in the audience to get a peek at the musical adventure that awaits them in 4th grade.
The concerts are a valuable opportunity for the young students to showcase everything that they have learned so far in the year, whether it be correct posture, breathing, correct fingering, bow holds, rhythm, and simply listening and learning how to create music with others.
“The student performers gain valuable insight in how a music concert is structured, including listening, taking a turn to perform, showing respect when others are performing and maintaining focus on presenting foundational skills in front of an audience,” said Brummel.
Fourth grade violinists proudly show off their string instruments.
Strings teacher Sonya Louis instructs the orchestra students across the district while choral music is taught by Susan Comber at Lafayette Elementary, Matthew Ferreira at Happy Valley, Angela Borba Schmidt at Burton Valley and John Speers at Springhill. Like Louis, band teacher Brummel teaches at all four elementary schools.
And of course, these teachers are assisted throughout the year by countless LPIE music aides and mentors, who offer students more individualized attention to better develop their music skills. These LPIE instructors provide small group instruction, giving students the opportunity to focus on specific techniques, increase their music reading skills, and further develop correct tone production. LPIE is supporting the TK-5 music program with $198,900 in funding this year
Many of the student performers were very excited to perform at their first concert and expressed appreciation for their music teachers.
“I love the teachers and it’s so much fun to be able to learn how to play different instruments,” said Mack Fisher, a Burton Valley 4th grader who plays cello.
Skylar Platto, a 4th grader who sings in the chorus at Burton Valley, sang the praises of her choral teacher Angela Schmitt.
“If you make a mistake, she stays positive about everything,” said Platto. “Chorus is fun!”