Zero hour music: Fun skill building at LWES

Zero hour music: Fun skill building at LWES
Posted on 02/18/2020
Lake Wilderness Elementary students in the "Boomwhacker and Handbell" zero hour class play the boomwhackers.
In the early mornings this fall, a somewhat unfamiliar type of music drifted out of the music room at Lake Wilderness Elementary School. Inside, a group of students and teacher Zoryana Lakotiy worked on refining songs they played on the “boomwhacker,” a percussion instrument made of a tube of colored plastic.

Sitting on the rug before the projection screen, the students held the boomwhackers in their hands and waited to play their note. The tubes are of varied lengths, and sound different notes when struck on the ground. Lakotiy played songs on the computer that featured accompaniment, and videos on the screen showed the students which note to play. In each video, a bouncing graphic would land on the note that should be played at that beat in the song. For example, in a song called “Sugar Fairy,” a glowing fairy bounced from note to note.

The students played songs such as “Ladybug,” “Paris” and “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” Between songs, they had the option to switch boomwhackers with a classmate.

Lakotiy said she wanted to offer the class because when kids have the opportunity to try different instruments, it often sparks a love of music.

“Zero Hour music classes are fun! They really teach kids how to appreciate music and all the joy that it can bring,” said Lakotiy, who began teaching music at Lake Wilderness last school year. The classes also help underscore teamwork and good musicianship, she said. Other music zero hour classes throughout the year include choir, boomwhacker/handbell club, conga club and recorder club.

Every week this quarter, the students learned a different musical concept and then worked on a specific song related to that concept, such as tempo and rhythms, dynamics, form, harmony/chords, articulation, meter, duration, pitch, the musical alphabet, notes/rests, in addition to how to play the instruments with good technique and posture.

Partway through the class, the students returned the boomwhackers to their storage bin, and Lakotiy distributed handbells, a more well-known instrument that some Tahoma elementary students play during music class.

As Lakotiy prepared to lead them in a song called “Evening Rise,” a student exclaimed, “Oh yeah, I love this one!” The group played several Christmas songs, then sight-read “Carol of the Bells.”

Asked why they chose to take the class, Alina C. said “I love music!” and Sawyer C. replied that “it’s calming.”

Principal Audrey Meyers said that zero hour classes increase learning choices for students, such as the music choices, Team Games, Green Team and volleyball.

“We are looking forward to offering many new activities for our students during the winter trimester starting in January,” Meyers said.

Zero hour classes across the district are primarily funded through levy dollars.
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