Greensboro students benefit from Montevallo music program

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 22, 2005

GREENSBORO – Greensboro East and Greensboro West Elementary School students will have the opportunity to participate in a music program provided by the University of Montevallo music department this fall.

Last year, Dr. Gary Packwood, associate director of choral activities and coordinator of music education at UM, offered a student-led music program to Hale County elementary schools. Packwood said Greensboro East and West were the only schools to respond.

Law Lamar, an accountant from Birmingham, gave Packwood the idea to have UM’s music students teach music classes in Hale County. Lamar said he noticed the schools had no music programs, so he came up with the idea to contact area universities to help out.

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“We were overjoyed to have the program last year,” said Janet Sherrod, Greensboro East principal. The music class was highly anticipated each week, she said.

One first grade class and one fifth grade class were visited every Friday for six weeks during the spring at Greensboro East. One student from UM taught music basics for 30 minutes in each class during that time.

The students who teach the classes are music education majors enrolled in the “Methods for Elementary Music Teachers” course at UM. Teaching the 6-week program is part of their course requirements.

Packwood said the elementary students are taught the basic elements of music, including rhythm, melody and timbre.

“We are trying to make students musically literate,” Packwood said. Elementary music programs are often viewed as a play time for students, he said, but with this program, he hopes they will be viewed as more of a time of education and learning.

UM music education students are required to do eight weeks of elementary student-teaching and eight weeks of middle school or high school student-teaching. This 6-week program gives those students a preview of their upcoming semester of student-teaching, Packwood said.

This year, five student-teachers will visit Greensboro East and West on Fridays. As before, the program will last six weeks.