UTM Collaboration Is Music To Our Ears

UT Martin Collaboration Brings More Music To Greenfield School Students
Posted on 09/26/2022
Music School Leadership Team

For the first time in years, more music instruction is now available to Greenfield School students. Thanks to a new partnership with the University of Tennessee at Martin Department of Music Education, students are now offered choir and general musical instruction two days per week instead of one

Along with one period of instruction with District Music Teacher Rebecca Steele, an additional Choir class and a General Music class are being taught by UTM Music Ed students who are working toward their teaching certification.

The first-year program, loosely titled “Music Lab School,” provides the extra period of General Music class for middle school students, and the additional Choir class for students in grades 6-12.

The collaboration was initiated after students asked Greenfield Principal Jeff Cupples about the possibility of more musical instruction.

“I was approached by students who were requesting more than one period a week for music class. We’ve got a lot of talented musicians in our school, and we started to think out of the box for answers. Mrs. Steele is a graduate of the UT Martin Music Education Department and knew that the UTM team has been interested in collaborating with local schools. We all immediately got to work identifying how we could make the ‘Music Lab School’ a reality for the students. It is a blessing to have UTM in our own backyard," said Cupples. 

Supervised by Dr. Jody Blake, UTM Assistant Professor of Music Education, future teachers gain more experience in front of a classroom prior to earning their licensure. Dr. Blake provides his college students with in-class support by supplying advice on classroom management and making suggestions for effective instruction.

District Music Teacher Rebecca Steele said the partnership unifies a common objective.

“The goal of the Lab School is to provide all music education students with more time in the classroom. UT Martin Music Education students gain classroom management and teaching experience prior to the Student Teaching requirement for their degree, and Greenfield School students get more time learning musical instruction. It all came together with the support of our Director of Schools Randy Frazier and the UTM Music Ed Department. It is a win across the board for music education in our county,” said Mrs. Steele.

music lab school

UT Martin is always a proud partner with local schools according to Dr. Jody Blake, Assistant Professor of Music Education.

“We’ve been looking for a new way to partner for a long time, and Greenfield School is a great place to kick off our program. Because solid curriculum was already in place, it was easy for us to plug right in and start instruction on day one. We look forward to exploring future opportunities to work with Weakley County Schools,” stated Dr. Blake.

Under Mrs. Steele’s teaching curriculum, General Music Class students study rhythm patterns, harmonic structures, melodic patterns, musical form, expressive elements, and the music of various cultures. Students also enjoy the hands-on application of their knowledge by learning bucket drumming and/or the ukulele. Choir students learn about reading music and a variety of vocal components including pitch, rhythm, timing, melody, harmony, and resonance.

The Music Lab School began the week of September 5th and is planned to continue throughout the school year.

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