Music Specialist Information to Families

Music Specialist Information to Families

Hello Families:  

Welcome to another fabulous year of music at Horace Mann!  This will be my 8th year at HM, and each year is more exciting than the last.  I’ve learned a lot from the staff and the students here, and each year continue to hone the program to provide the best learning experience possible for all our students.   

Here is a “big picture” view of the music program, the plan that I have for each grade level: 

K – “Intro to Music”.  My goal in our students’ first year is to pique their curiosity, to get them interested in exploring music, both making it and listening to it.  We learn to keep a beat, to sing as a group, and introduce the lessons as structured in the Silver Burdett Music Series, the industry standard for music education.   

Grade 1 – “Folk Music of America” is the main theme of the songs that I choose, and the curriculum is again taken from the Silver Burdett Series. 

Grade 2 – “Music From Around the World” is the theme, and again the curriculum is from Silver Burdett.  I also add lessons in reading music/notes, and we do lots of work with rhythms. 

Grade 3 – “History of Music Part 1” and “Introduction to Instruments”.  In addition to learning songs, we learn about the figures that shaped 20th century music, from Jimmie Rodgers to Johnny Cash to Chuck Berry to Aretha Franklin to Ella Fitzgerald.  We also learn about all of the instruments in the orchestra/band, and the legends who have played them (violin – Paganini, trumpet – Miles Davis, saxophone – John Coltrane, clarinet – Benny Goodman, etc.).   

Grade 4 – “Musicals” and “Greatest Songs Part 1”.  We start off the year with the works of Rodgers and Hammerstein as we explore one of the 2 genres of music that originated in the US, the Broadway Musical.  We also launch into a 2 year countdown where we explore the writing and creation of the songs that have changed and shaped our world. We present a “pops” concert in February followed by a mini-musical in the Spring (for grades 4 and 5).   

Grade 5 – “History of Music Part 2” and “Greatest Songs Part 2”.  The discussion of musical legends continues from 3rd grade, with focus on such legends as Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, John Lennon and Paul McCartney.  We finish up our “Greatest Songs” countdown which culminates with a performer who is not only from Minnesota but who actually did a performance at Horace Mann way back in the day! 

As in the past, the year will culminate with musical programs demonstrating some of the songs that we have learned.   

I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with your children, and to share – and hopefully pass on to them – my passion for music!   

Kevin Dutcher 

PS – I very much enjoy meeting and talking with you at our PTA Silent Auction, it is one of the highlights of my year.     

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