– Fifth- and sixth-grade students at Stanton Elementary are tuning up their instruments and making sweet music as they endure changes during COVID times.
Music teacher Dani Carroll said the pandemic impacted how band members practiced lessons, leaving her two work with a few students at a time with the full band playing outdoors.
“They came as homeroom classes during 2020,” she said, adding that the instruments they played were not as varied at times. “Now they can practice inside and in sections.”
She has been working to achieve normalcy and now has more flexibility to teach songs to a larger group. Her 14 sixth-grade members have been rehearsing since the term began while her 23 fifth graders have just begun. To bolster their musical growth, Carroll has added an incentive program and recognizes young musicians each month for their diligence.
“The sixth-grade band has been rehearsing and working hard since the start of the school year,” she added, saying they advanced further than last year’s students. “They have been very responsible and earn points for their attendance at band and remembering to bring their books, instruments, and pencils with them. They also earn points for turning in practice times signed by their parents or by sending recordings of their practices. The prize incentives are to encourage the students to be sure to get practice time each week to help create a more confident and successful musical ensemble. The students may redeem their points at the end of the nine weeks for small prizes and even chances to be the director or tune selector for the day. Their name and picture will also be displayed outside the auditorium.”
Beginning band member Elliana Scaffidi was honored for September for accumulating the most points out of the sixth-grade band while the fifth graders will also take part in the initiative.
“The fifth-grade band has just gotten started and the students are excited to begin their musical journey,” Carroll continued, saying her pupils mirror the district’s mission statement. “All of the students are respectful, responsible, and safe and do things the Edison Wildcat way.”
Carroll said the students will get a chance to showcase their skills by participating in upcoming events. The sixth graders will perform in small groups during the Christmas program on Dec. 14 while both bands will take the stage for a springtime performance.