Emmanuel Kant describes music as “Music is the quickening art”. Music has the ability to bring life to people of all cultures and ages. Music at Hillside Academy is integrated into project based learning by asking real world questions and answering with real world solutions. For instance, “How can the music we make impact the community around us?” Middle School to Preschool students answered this driving question in creative and inventive ways.
Preschoolers love their moms! We learned the song, You are My Sunshine, My Only Sunshine. I asked them, “How can we change the words to tell our moms how much we love them?” We brainstormed and collaborated to come-up with meaningful, heartfelt lyrics. At the preschoolers’ Mother’s Day Tea celebration accompanied by 6- 8th grade volunteers playing the ukulele, our new version of You are My Sunshine, rang out loud and clear to let our Preschool moms know how much we love them.
In middle school, the 6th graders learned that older generations who struggle with dementia have clarity of memory when songs of their era are played. The students researched what songs were popular between 1920-1950, then set about on narrowing the song selection to a chosen few to learn and sing. After learning the songs Buffalo Gals and Long, Long Ago, the students rewrote the lyrics to create a meaningful message for the residents of a local nursing home.
8th graders asked themselves, “What song brings me joy, and how can I share that song with others?” They all learned how to play the ukulele and researched their chosen song, finding lyrics and ukulele chord charts. Some students then went to Camp Orkila and others went to the Philippines. Each location had songbooks with student chosen songs, ready for ukulele toting students.
Through all of our music projects, singing and playing instruments brought laughter and joy. We learned that music speaks to all generations and to all cultures. The more we make music, the more alive we become!