REAMS piano lessons ‘keys’ to success

Kirsten Coder (in back) instructs Lauren Rhode on her first piano lesson at Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School.

Kirsten Coder (in back) instructs Lauren Rhode on her first piano lesson at Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School.

Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School is taking the arts to the next level.

The Arts Magnet program is integrating piano lessons into all third-grade classes during the 2013-14 school year. Students have the opportunity to learn to play the piano or enhance their current piano skills in weekly piano lab group lessons during the school day.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be teaching piano lessons at Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School,” said Kirsten Coder, the new piano instructor. “As a Rockford graduate, I understand firsthand the role music plays in educating the whole student. We have selected an engaging curriculum that centers upon rhythm accuracy, keyboard geography and staff-note reading proficiency. Our lesson time will allow for group instruction and individual practice as well. I am excited to be a part of this new program and look forward to teaching piano this year.”

Arts integration is a key factor to enhancing the learning of students at the magnet school, and the staff is excited to provide this new opportunity for third-grade students. Research shows that there are many beneficial attributes children acquire from learning to play the piano. Some of the most prevalent include: higher math scores, especially on problems dealing with ratios and fractions, enhanced memory, increased coordination, better self-discipline and improved concentration and focus. Skills acquired in piano also prepare them for future band experiences, as well as better understanding in a choral setting.

Samuel Wysocki concentrates on correct notation and rhythm during his first piano lesson.

Samuel Wysocki concentrates on correct notation and rhythm during his first piano lesson.

Students are learning techniques and skills in a newly established piano lab with individual keyboards for each student. They also have access to practice opportunities throughout the day in classrooms, during recess, and before and after school.

Student Lauren Rhode said, after her first lesson, “I think piano lessons are going to be fun and inspiring.”

Rockford Elementary Arts Magnet School is already in the planning process for annual class performances.

Third-grade teacher, parent of a 2013 third-grade student and piano teacher Polly Trandahl said of the program, “I’m excited for my students, and my own son who is in third grade this year, to have the opportunity during the school day to have piano lessons. I know that in my own experience as a student, it was through my piano lessons and being in the band that I learned the importance of being disciplined with practice in order to get better at something.  Hopefully, the same will hold true for the upcoming third-graders and trickle into other subject areas like memorizing math facts or spelling words.”

 

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