Discovering personal greatness in pre-school through grade 8 students - Burlington, Vermont


Preschool- Grade 3

Younger students concentrate on exploring their singing voices and learning new songs. We focus on listening skills and ear training by learning to echo musical patterns within the context of different songs. We also learn to distinguish between patterns made up of different pitches and rhythms. Students use a variety of rhythmic percussion instruments to accompany our songs.  I have also worked to introduce rhythmic notation to our youngest students.

Grades 4-5

Students continue to sing and work on choral pieces for concerts, as well as hymns for school wide masses. Handbells are also introduced in the 4th and 5th grade. Each class works as an ensemble to learn how to read handbell notation and prepare pieces for the concerts.  Students are also introduced to music technology and GarageBand, a computer based music arranging program. They have the opportunity to create their own songs using recorded and synthesized sound loops.  In addition, students are introduced to world music topics.

Grades 6-8

Middle school students cover a variety of topics throughout the year. Some units of study have included composition, music history, world music, music technology, recording, and arranging.  Students also gain more experience with GarageBand and learn how to record within the program, edit and produce sound effects, and create podcasts.  Since music is a performance art, a heavy emphasis is also placed on singing and performing as an ensemble. Students prepare hymns for mass, as well as learn handbell ensemble pieces as a class.


Students sing a varied repertoire of choral pieces. Working as an ensemble provides a valuable experience for students to collaborate and work towards the common goal of a performance.


Band courses offered to MCS students, Grades 4-8
Beginner, intermediate and advanced bands, marching band.
Intro and select jazz
Drumline, brass and sax ensemble
2 rock bands
Private lessons

Attitudes Toward Music

“According to the NAMM/Gallup Survey, 54 percent of the respondents believe that children should be exposed to music before they are one year old, 50 percent responded that music plays a significant role in preschool development, while 64 percent said it is important for children to engage in musical activities in daycare and preschool.

It was agreed by 97 percent of respondents that playing a musical instrument provided a sense of accomplishment and is a good means of expression. Exactly 80 percent believed that playing an instrument makes you smarter.Of those surveyed, 85 percent regretted not learning to play an instrument and 67 percent said they would still like to learn how to play one. Other results included:

  • 96 percent said that school band was a good way to develop teamwork skills
  • 95 percent said music was part of a well-rounded education
  • 93 percent felt schools should offer musical instrument instruction as part of regular curriculum
  • 85 percent believed participating in a school music program corresponds with better grades
  • 79 percent felt states should mandate music education so all students have the opportunity in school
  • 93 percent said playing an instrument helps children make friends
  • 88 percent said playing an instrument teaches children discipline
  • 97 percent said playing an instrument helps a child appreciate arts and culture
  • 71 percent believed that teenagers who play an instrument are less likely to have discipline problems
  • 78 percent said learning a musical instrument helps you do better in other subjects”

The National Association of Music Merchants. Gallup Organization Reveals Findings of “American Attitudes Toward Making Music” Survey.NAMM Believe in Music. N.p., 21 Apr. 2003. Web. 9 Sept. 2014. <>