West's Symphonic Winds Shares Love of Music

West's Symphonic Winds Shares Love of Music with Kindergartners
Posted on 03/19/2021
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symphonic winds in a zoom sessionSome of Lakota’s oldest and youngest learners shared a unique learning experience last week when Lakota West’s Symphonic Winds zoomed into Alyssa Carr’s Liberty Early Childhood kindergarten class. While COVID has posed many challenges over the past year, it has also resulted in many creative and fun collaborations like this one.

Alyssa and her husband Andrew Carr (West’s band director) were discussing how it would be fun for the band to play for her kindergarten students, so they decided to test it out using Zoom. And, if they could get the technology to work well, Mr. Carr could bring a live Zoom to other schools in the district so students could understand what band class looks like, what band students do, and how much fun it is to play an instrument at the high school level. Since the annual ‘Try Band’ event for elementary students couldn’t happen this year due to COVID, this could be a great alternative to give the students a chance ask questions about the music program and explore all of the instruments available to them.

The test run was an all-around success.

The kindergarten class loved watching the band play their instruments. “It’s vital to give students rich arts experiences even in a virtual manner this school year. It seems especially important since we are not having field trips or performances happen in our school like we usually do.”

Her students had just finished their music specials last semester, so it was nice to revisit some of their musical listening skills with the Symphonic Winds. “I asked the band to play individual instruments one at a time so that my students could hear how the individual instruments sounded compared to the entire group,” said Mrs. Carr. “Our school listens to Mindful Music every morning so it was nice to tie that daily experience in with visually experiencing a band play as a group and then play individual instruments. Young students are typically in awe of older students and view them as role models. They are a captivated audience excited to take it all in.”

The high school students were equally excited to show off their skills to the younger students. Not only did the Symphonic Winds play a piece of music that they are preparing for an upcoming concert and festival, they also performed a special request from one of the younger students. Even though it was March, one of the kindergarteners ask if the musicians could play Jingle Bells. Trumpet player Gabe Pimentel got into the Christmas spirit, stepped up and played it for the class.

We have a fairly complicated setup in the band room and it is difficult to keep a loud band sounding good through a Zoom call so the test run helped us figure out the best way to do it in the future,” said Mr. Carr. Not only will the band play pieces as a group, but individual students will come up to the front near the camera and introduce themselves, show the instrument to the camera, and tell the kids what elementary school they went to.

“It’s so important to be able to expose younger students to music and show them what is possible in the future,” continued Mr. Carr.

The plan is to set up several of these events with West feeder elementary schools in the coming weeks to let students know about the band opportunities that are open to them in junior high.