Revamped music room at Shaler Area Elementary hits the right notes
Music education at Shaler Area Elementary School is about more than learning a song or musical notes and the classroom finally is reflecting that.
Shaler Area Elementary School's general music classroom has been transformed into a high-tech multimedia room through a $20,000 STEAM grant.
Shaler Area received the $20,000 grant in 2013 through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit's Center for Creativity, made possible through the Claude Worthington Benedum and the Grable Foundations, to engage students in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, or STEAM, subjects and projects. Elementary music teacher Cynthia Dougherty, with district support, removed the choral risers and painted over the gray walls to create a multiuse space that enables students to learn about music through writing, movement and technology.
“I'm trying to redesign how I teach music,” Dougherty said. “(I want) to make kids feel this is a place to be inspired and create.”
“My goal for the room is to allow and encourage kids to explore a subject matter so deeply they find connections to math and science and writing and music. The idea is to take something they're learning that is not music and turn it into music and art.”
Each corner of the room is painted in a different color to denote each space. The yellow corner features an interactive whiteboard for group instruction. The green corner, or movement center, has a wall of full-length mirrors where students can explore music through movement. The turquoise corner is the art and creative-writing center, and the orange corner is the iPad center, which currently houses 10 iPad mini devices for student use.
Dougherty's former office, off of the orange corner of the room, was painted purple and converted into a recording studio.
“I think it looks cool,” said Jacob Bedillion, a fifth-grader, who watched the room's transformation over the past year. “When I walked past (last year), it was pretty boring, but now it's colorful.”
Lydia Nebiolo, a fifth-grader, said she is fascinated by all of the technology in the room and how it is used to learn about music.
“With the computer linked to the Smart Board, she (Dougherty) can demonstrate stuff to us instead of (all the students) huddling around the computer,” Lydia said.
Dougherty plans to partner with local dance companies and musicians to expand the room's possibilities outside of the four walls.
Earlier this year, local musician Mike Why led a workshop for teachers to demonstrate the looping technique that enables a musician to create and overlap repeating sounds to create a composition. He also gave a performance to the students. The recording studio includes permanent and mobile looping station equipment.
Scouts in Boy Scout Troop 329, based out of Memorial Park Church in McCandless, also plan to hold a recycled art-supply collection and donate the gently used art supplies to the music classroom for student use.
“This classroom actually allows the students to utilize their creativity in music but not just connect to music only,” said Kara Eckert, assistant to the superintendent. “It's a wide open space that allows the mobility and creativity to run through the students individually or in groups. It breaks the mold of the traditional music classroom.”
Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Staff reshuffling fills library slots in Shaler Area schools
- Sain’s spirit, positive outlook to be honored at annual race in North Park
- Air quality test results good news for Shaler Area
- Hampton senior turns potato chip bags into strapless dress
- Shaler Area School Board whittles down facilities options
- North Hills vocal instructor pushes students to the top