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A Word from Pat Scales

March: Music in Our Schools Month

March 01, 2013

Budgets cuts in schools often affect the arts programs first.  Yet, most children and teens enjoy all that the arts offer them.  March is Music in Our Schools Month and this is a good time to celebrate with readers of all ages the role of music in our nation’s history, and how it relates to all cultures.  Public libraries might also make music a part of their programming during the month.  Here are a few ideas for school and public libraries:

Ask readers to share a favorite song.  Then have them teach the song to a group. Have the group perform the song for a class. Include some research skills by asking them to find out the origin of the song.  What is the genre?  Is it a folk song, ballad, contemporary rock piece, show tune, or country song?
Invite local musicians to talk with a class or reading group about their journey as a musician. At what age did they begin taking music lessons?  Was there a music program in their school?  Is music their career, or hobby?  How can it be both?
Introduce books that celebrate music of all types.  Suggestions from Random House include:

Picture Books

Early Reader

Middle Grade

Young Adult

Have readers pick a favorite rhyming picture book and write a rap using the text of the book.  Suggestions from Random House include:

Ask those who play an instrument to demonstrate their talent to the group.

Have readers pick a zoo animal talk about the musical instrument that best describes their sound.  Which animal is a trumpet? A French horn? A flute? A Bass?

Encourage older readers to find out the role of music in our history.  Ask them to find out the kind of music that the main character in the following historical novels might know:

Play a few ballads for readers.  Then divide them into small groups and ask them to write a ballad about a favorite book character.  Suggestions from Random House include: