Make music a part of your life

Published 3:07 pm Monday, April 21, 2014

By MICHELLE ADAMS / Community Columnist

Each semester, the University of Montevallo’s Community School of Music offers a musicianship class to children in grades K-5. This class, offered free of charge and meeting once a week, provides an introduction to music and an opportunity to learn music fundamentals.

Students participate in an activity placing musical “notes” on a scale during the musicianship class at the University of Montevallo. (Contributed)

Students participate in an activity placing musical “notes” on a scale during the musicianship class at the University of Montevallo. (Contributed)

Since children in the class are different ages, a variety of methods are used to encourage students to participate in singing, movement and playing an instrument.

“In addition to traditional children’s songs, we use children’s books and poetry to further illustrate musical concepts,” Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Becky Halliday said. “Students are also encouraged to create music through improvisation and simple composition exercises, and in doing so, they explore rhythm, melody, texture and form. We listen to music of great composers, and study folk music from other cultures.”

Playing instruments is a popular class activity. Halliday instructs students on playing xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels, which aid in melodic improvisation. Students play percussion instruments such as hand drums, maracas, rhythm sticks, cowbells and tambourines to explore rhythm and tone.

Although children are exposed to music through school, a school music class typically meets only once a week for 30-40 minutes. The musicianship class can therefore supplement and enhance music education for children. Music education can also be incorporated at home.

“The best way to spark a musical interest is to sing, dance and play with your children,” Halliday said. “Music has so much more meaning when it can be shared with others. Listen to a wide variety of music, whether you are in the car, doing the dishes or walking your dog. Sing along with music—make up songs during the day and sing with your children. They will love your singing voice, whether you do or not.”

Through the musicianship class, students learn where notes are placed on a musical scale and how to apply the solfège syllables (do re mi fa so la ti do) to musical notes in song. Such fundamental exercises prepare students for the study of voice or practice of an instrument.

To learn more about the Musicianship Class and UM’s Community School of Music through the College of Fine Arts, visit the university website: