Beacon Scholarship 2018 Recipient, Theresa Iacarino:  Drum Circles for Joppa View Elementary

ACEMM’s 2018 Beacon Scholarship recipient, Theresa Iacarino, provided the 5th grade students at Joppa View Elementary School in Perry Hall, MD with drum circles led by world-renowned drum circle facilitator, Nellie Hill.  Students used percussion instruments as an outlet to create a safe space for creativity and self-expression in music class. Each homeroom received 75-minutes of instruction with Ms. Hill making curricular connections to music from East-African cultures and exploring how their personal culture and heritage is represented and celebrated within the JVE school community.  Students learned drumming techniques and cultural preferences regarding ways to perform call-and-response songs from Kenya. Ms. Hill also taught the students the welcome/greeting song “Twaingia” and the accompanying dance. After three days of daytime drum circle instruction with their homeroom teacher and music teacher, Ms. Hill led an evening drum circle for the friends and families of the 5th grade students.  

Terri Iacarino’s Reflection:

Using the ACEMM scholarship to bring in such an amazing performing artist to teach my students and lead the community was the most useful and personalized professional development I have ever received as an educator.  There is much to be learned from Ms. Hill such as how she interacts with students and how she breaks down complicated pieces to make the music attainable, meaningful, and enjoyable for students. This scholarship supported my curricular needs and the social/emotional needs of my students as we build a multicultural music program at Joppa View.  ACEMM is a supportive organization to work with because they are music educators who encourage and motivate their colleagues to provide the best opportunities for their students. It is was an honor and a privilege to be their ACEMM 2018 Beacon Scholarship Winner. It is my recommendation that all music teachers to apply for this scholarship to provide your students with unique and memorable musical opportunities.  

Student & Teacher Reflections:

“We learned to play the drums the right way.” – V.T.

 “We also played small percussion and there were instruments from different countries.” – L.D.

“It was difficult to play different parts on the drums, but it was loads of fun.” – P.T.

“It was a cultural smorgasbord of fun.  It was great to see students who don’t typically engage in traditional learning being actively involved.” – Mr. Kuczmynda

“The drum circle experience was amazing!  It was a lesson in teamwork and cooperation. I loved getting to see a different side of my students – such talented musicians!!” – Mrs. Nietubicz

“Drum Circles are the best!” – K.A.

Congratulations to the 2019 Beacon Scholarship Recipient: Scott Roether!

Scott Roether is currently employed at Wilson Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio, a traditional public school facility for students in Kindergarten through Sixth Grade. He has the privilege of serving nearly 700 students ages five through twelve both in traditional general music settings and in choral settings. He consistently uses creative and elemental approaches to teaching music including the Orff approach and regularly draws from his past experiences as a participant in various summer courses in elemental music and movement. Scott has worked with children in various educational settings for the past six years (formal settings beginning in 2013, informal and pre-professional settings prior to 2013). The programs Scott has been involved with include traditional elementary music classrooms, after school programs, summer programs, and teaching in a facility that hosted interdisciplinary field trips for elementary school students.

Scott has used elemental approaches to teaching music since his graduation from Ohio University in 2013 where he received his Bachelor of Music, Music Education with Performance Honors. These approaches did not come to fruition in the classroom until his enrollment in an Orff-Schulwerk Levels training course at the University of Cincinnati the following summer. Since his enrollment in that course, the Schulwerk and its associated approaches and processes have greatly impacted Scott’s teaching style, benefited his students, and shaped his life as a music educator and musician. In fact, nearly all of the recent successes and joys in life, both professional and personal, can be traced to his first Levels training course. Scott has since completed Levels II and III at the same university and has pursued additional training at the International Summer Course in Elemental Music and Dance Pedagogy at the Orff-Institute in Salzburg, Austria. There has been such an impact on both his students and himself due to his involvement in elemental music training.

Stay tuned for more information on Scott’s experiences in the Master Class in Elemental Explorations and the Orff Schulwerk Curriculum Course at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas!

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