Friday, April 19, 2013

Music At Hillwood

Gayle Schmitt is the music teacher at Hillwood Academic Day School. Every Wednesday, Gayle Schmitt comes to Hillwood and she goes to every classroom and sings Country Music. 2nd - 4th grades and 5th - 8th grades have music books. Kindergarten - 1st don't.

Gayle has her own band for children called The Toodala Ramblers. She gives a recital every year and she invites older children from Hillwood to help her perform. We dance and entertain the children in the audience while Gayle and her band, fiddle, two guitars, banjo and bass, play music and sing.

 She has a regular guitar. Children love her! She is very entertaining! The little children sometimes dance and sing with her.

Miss Ann is the guitar teacher at Hillwood. She comes every Thursday after school. They mostly play rock n' roll. Lots of fun! Children play in ensembles at the end of the year!

What class (out of the three) enjoys singing the most? 
"Singing is such a universal and natural way to express oneself I really feel all ages of people like to sing….there’s something about singing with other people that I think is very powerful - like a big community.

"As far as the three classes at Hillwood…..

"With the younger group they like to sing familiar songs and also love when a song can be acted out or  includes some movement.
The 2nd  – 4th graders I think really enjoy having the “sing-a-long” books to follow along with and because of this might enjoy the group singing the most of the three groups. The 5-8th graders this year also really like to sing together and know many of the songs from our books by heart! They are also wanting to sing more popular songs that they hear on the radio which is good for me because it means I get to learn new songs too!"

What songs do children enjoy the most? 
"Favorite songs this year are – Rattlin’ Bog,  The Ladybug Song, Habitat, Glenridge Train, Jennie Jenkins, Wabash Cannonball, Winter’s Come and Gone (a favorite of mine by songwriter Gillian Welch), How Many Biscuits, Old Joe Clar, Who Killed Poor Robin?, The Cat Came Back, Waltzing With Bears, Swinging From a Star, Blowin’ in the Wind, Let it Be, and Why Can’t We Be friends?"

Do you enjoy working with older children, or younger ones? 
"I enjoy each group for different reasons. Most of the other schools I teach at in San Francisco are for very young children (Pre-K) so I love that I have a chance to work with school – age kids at Hillwood. Each group gives me an opportunity to explore music in a different way. It’s why I love my job so much because music offers many ways to express itself. Singing as a group, singing solo, singing on only the chorus of a song, singing a song along with an instrument, dancing/moving to a song, acting out a song, discussing the story of a song, discussing the poetry of a song or even just listening to songs that make us feel a certain way …..I always hope the Hillwood students learn a song or two that they love and  might even find themselves humming or singing this song when they are by themselves at home." 

Written by: Rubina Mazurka

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