Music Enrichment at CBF Christian School

Submitted by:
Jocelyn Beehler |

Students and staff at CBFCS were blessed with musical expertise from several local, valley musicians on April 24th and 25th. Rita Thiessen (new to the valley) and Heidi Honke (Geloa) worked specifically with our JK to Gr.4 students. Martin Snell and Kendra Thiessen (new to the valley) worked with the Gr.5-8 students. April is music month and the school celebrated by participating in the Swan Valley Fine Arts Festival as well as having this 2-day enrichment program. This was made possible through the $500 Music Month Grant from Manitoba Education that we applied for and received.

The JK-Gr.4 classes received hands on practice with rhythm (beat), pitch (high/low) and dynamics (soft/loud). Mrs. Thiessen and Mrs. Geloa had numerous activities where the students could learn notes using pictoral clues so even our JK and K students could easily participate. For part of the 2 days they worked in 3 smaller groups of mixed ages and had to come up with their own music. The first group had to make their music referring to a “garage theme.” They used many different tools, sand paper, and drums. The second group had to make their music referencing a “school theme.” They used a bell, ruler, book and other school supplies to make their music. The third group had a “playground theme.” This group used a bell, chains, sand paper and other instruments to depict playground sounds. The students participated in many activities including one where they got to make the sound effects for a children’s story.

The Gr.5-8 class focused mainly on learning how to use a computer program called “Sibelius.” We were able to download a free trial version for 30 days. This is a program designed to compose music. This software allowed our students to start with a blank music score and compose their own music. They selected the notes and placed them in. As they chose each note the computer also plays the note so they can hear exactly what they are putting together. It took Mr. Snell less than an hour to teach the students how to get started and by the end of the first day, the students were already experimenting with some very difficult pieces. The great thing about this is that even the students that had no musical background could compose too. Once they had a piano melody that they liked they added in other instruments to their score like guitar and drums. They were able to experiment with multiple instruments and could hear what they sounded like from the program. Our students were totally engaged in this process. This software made teaching musical theory so easy. Our students composed multiple scores in what would have taken weeks or months to do by hand.

The enrichment days were celebrated with a presentation to students, staff and families. The JK-Gr.4 classes presented what they had learned and the Gr.5-8 students played (through the computer) some of their new music pieces for the audience. It was a wonderful experience for all. CBFCS wishes to thank our musical experts and the students for a job well done! CBFCS also wants to thank the students and staff that participated in the Swan Valley Fine Arts Festival. You did a wonderful job