Your Donations at Work: Music at Will Rogers Learning Community

Your donations to the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation go to support amazing enrichment programs like Music Rhapsody at Will Rogers Learning Community.

Every student in kindergarten through second grade receives weekly music instruction from Music Rhapsody’s award-winning music education program. Music Rhapsody’s approach allows students to enjoy the fun of singing, moving, and playing high-quality percussion instruments and recorders in a joyful, game-like setting while learning to enjoy and create music. Shine Hwang, one of Music Rhapsody’s trained instructors, loves the curriculum. With a background in piano and a degree in music education, Shine brings both enthusiasm and structure to music class. She uses call and response, singing, and movement throughout her lessons. To get students up from the rug over to the instruments, she played a “tick-tock” song on rhythm blocks as they chanted, “Put the beat in your feet, walk around, cha-cha-cha.” Once students arrived at the instruments, she called out, “Shoulder holders,” to keep students’ hands still and the instruments quiet until all were ready to begin. First grade teacher, Mayra Herrera, knows the importance of music education but also sees additional benefits. “I’m a big believer in the importance of self-regulation. This is a program that teaches students the value of self-control – something they definitely need when they’ve got those mallets in their hands!” With a kindergarten class, Shine demonstrated playing the finger symbols and rhythm sticks for long and short beats in a Valentine’s Day song. It was trickier than it looked! One half the group played the finger symbols for the long, sustained beats while the other half used the rhythm sticks for the shorter beats. With some additional demonstration and use of hand movements, students began to hear and feel the difference in the long and short beats. Then, success! The group combined both instruments to perform the song, hitting those long and short beats perfectly. The class’s teacher observed the group and commented on Shine’s ability to engage her students, “The class is very interactive and age appropriate. Students are learning about pitch and rhythm and they love using the instruments; but it’s more than that. They are developing their listening skills, learning to follow directions, and to take turns. These are skills that we build on in the classroom each and every day.”
The instruments are definitely a big hit with the kindergarteners. As the class lined up to return to leave, one student lingered a bit for a chance to solo. She explained, “I never played an instrument before. I love it.”
Thanks, Ed Foundation donors!