Posted Date: 09/06/2018
All last year music teachers Mendy Burnett and Ryan Bearrick shared musical tunes with classroom teachers at Chanute Elementary School.
“I just want more time with my kids, and if I can’t get it in my classroom, I want more opportunities for music in their classroom,” Burnett said.
She and Bearrick took turns sending out a new tune each Monday and asking teachers to play it for their class some time during the week. The class could then discuss it and give it either a thumbs up or thumbs down.
The activity is fun, but can also broaden their perspectives about music.
Burnett called Tune-In a unifying exercise for all the students at all grade levels.
“I think it’s kind of neat when we do have consistent experiences that we can discuss” and share opinions. “I want them to see it’s okay to disagree. We can have different opinions and it’s healthy, but I want them to be thoughtful about their opinions,” not just say, “I don’t like this kind of music.”
The song selected to begin this school year, “A Million Dreams” is from the movie, The Greatest Showman, and it could get a standing ovation. In part, the chorus is:
“Every night I lie in bed
The brightest colors fill my head
A million dreams are keeping me awake
I think of what the world could be
A vision of the one I see
A million dreams is all it’s going to take
A millions dreams for the world we’re going to make.”
“The song is inspiring, fun and catchy,” Burnett said, and it fits well with CES staff and district themes about leading with love this school year. “I got to thinking about the dreams for the year. Part of what we want to do here is dream big. Dream and know what dreams are out there.”
Last week the teachers stretched a roll of black paper between the two music rooms and invited all the students to add their dreams to the wall.
“We won’t have a million dreams, but if everybody participates, kids and staff, we might have 1,000 dreams up there,” Burnett said.
Among the dreams, so far, are students who want to be a race car driver, the best chef, a Navy Seal, play soccer for five years, or be in the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Another wants to be a “perfachnal” baseball player, a YouTuber, or “make comics with Judah and Carson.” Others are reflecting on their concern for others, dreaming for everyone to have a house, for good animal shelters, and for everyone in the world to be thankful and kind.
Sometimes the students’ reactions to the Tune In for the week are surprising.
“In January, I chose the “Queen of the Night” aria from “The Magic Flute,” a high opera, and I was shocked at how many of the classes liked it,” Burnett said.
When she sent out “A Million Dreams,” she began hearing from students immediately, saying how much they loved the movie.
The classes are also encouraged to write a phrase to describe the music, something short and catchy that might appear on the back of a CD cover. The winning phrase gets the traveling trophy for the week.
With the passing of the Queen of Soul, this week the students will be introduced to two examples of Aretha Franklin’s music, one when she was a last-minute stand in for Luciano Pavarotti at the 1998 Grammys and a more soulful tune about Respect.
Bearrick challenged the students to “do something good for someone else, the school, or the community, no matter how big or small it is, like Ms. Franklin helping Mr. Pavarotti at the last minute.”