Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM), Juneau, AK
Lorrie Heagy, program director
The spirit of El Sistema-inspired work is not limited to teaching groups that perform; El Sistema principles can also be infused into teaching in the general music classroom.
Juneau Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) provides the entire diverse population of students at Glacier Valley Elementary School with rich musical experiences. In this video, Lorrie Heagy draws on a variety of pedagogical strategies to teach third graders — who have just begun to play recorder — about rhythm and notation. To engage everyone, including struggling learners, she uses five key elements that she tries to incorporate into every lesson: movement, emotion, relevance, novelty, and pattern or familiarity.
Her story about the rhythm family includes all of those, and makes abstract musical symbols concrete and easy to remember. The class then applies what they learn by working as an ensemble on a group composition for recorder, using cups of different sizes to represent different note values, and Post-its of different colors to represent different pitches.
EL SISTEMA PRINCIPLES
The musical activities in this unit address the following Anchor Standards of the National Core Arts Standards: