Celebrating sound

Fort Dodge Community School District is celebrating Music in Our Schools Month throughout March.

Each FDCSD building and grade level has its own activities to join its music curriculum.

At Fair Oaks Middle School, students are getting ready to perform.

“Our students are participating with the choir here at Fair Oaks, the Pops Band, which is a sixth-grade group that meets before school,” Tara Smith, music instructor, said. “We do fun music. We’re doing an arrangement of Katy Perry’s ‘Firework.’ We’re participating with the choir here for that concert.”

Smith said learning music helps students grow.

“We support and reinforce what students learn in all of their other classes. It makes students well rounded,” she said. “I take a music education stance on that, of course, because music has been a very important part of my personal life.”

At Butler Elementary, students are learning about proper mallet technique using basic classroom instruments, Jean Flattery, music teacher, said.

“We have some kids playing bass, some playing treble instruments, some playing metal instruments and some playing wood instruments,” she said.

The elementary students are also ready to perform.

“We’re preparing for our April spring program,” Flattery said. “We’re doing a lot of neat things getting ready for our spring rock and roll program.”

A concert takes much preparation, Flattery said.

“We’re learning our songs that we’ll be singing for that program, learning the movements along with learning all the music concepts we have in our curriculum,” she said.

According to Flattery, music helps students develop.

“It develops our brain in ways that other things don’t,” she said. “It stimulates neurons in the brain that only music can stimulate. It helps your brain to grow and do other things.”

Fort Dodge Senior High this Friday will have its Perspectives in Jazz concert at 7 p.m. in the Little Theater.

“That’s a great tradition we have here,” Joe Svendsen, FDSH choir instructor, said. “We have both of our jazz bands performing and a guest artist a professor from Simpson College, Dave Camwell.”

In addition, FDSH A Capella Choir is performing Saturday at St. Olaf Lutheran Church with the Luther College Nordic Choir.

Svendsen said music is a subject of value.

“People try to sell music as something that teaches other things. It teaches teamwork, leadership. But the one thing music ed does, it teaches music,” he said. “Music in and of itself is enough of a subject. It’s an important enough thing to study, the artistic expressive form that is music. It allows us to communicate in a way that written word and spoken language do not, that organized, mathematical sound can. Mixed with poetry or harmony, rhythm, complicated or not, it portrays an idea or emotion that we sometimes as humans struggle to articulate.”

He added, “I think it’s important young people learn how to make those expressions.”