I just got back from an amazing day with Mr. David Wonder a sixth, seventh, and eighth grade general music teacher at Hickory Creek Middle School in Frankfort, Illinois. I met David at an IMEA conference, his energy and commitment to ALL students really shown through. He connects with the students and “allows” his students to excel in their passions. During the lunch period a couple of his seventh graders who had written some songs performed for me. They also have posted the video on school tube. This is talented group of students with a concern about Global events and problems. Take a listen to this; it will blow you away with the harmonies and message it brings.
It got me to thinking, what really matters in middle school is the connection we make to our students. Dave and I have a few seconds (actually, two minutes, you know students in for lunch, students dropping by, six classes…) to discuss how “cool” it is to teach music to ALL the students in a general music environment. We see the entire school, and for most students, we are the last music teacher that many of them will have. He offers an incredible opportunity for his students to learn the guitar, drumming, composing, and much more. He is has a drum set in the back of the room and “allows” any student to play it while the rest of the class performs the guitar songs, then another student sings on a mic and he accompanies the entire group on his guitar with an amp. The students are completely taken in.
Then, I got to play drums, I have NEVER played drums in my life, through his guidance, he created a safe place to get me out of my comfort zone. I have a video of it and will post it as soon as I can.
General music at Hickory Creek Middle School is magnificent. Students are engaged and eager to learn and create. He is another “yes” teacher whenever a student has an idea for a musical project. What a fabulous day!