School Bulletin: Young composers tune into apps

School Bulletin: Young composers tune into apps

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A teacher in Grafton has struck a chord with students by teaching them how to compose music using apps on their Chromebooks.

"I teach them a lot about Beethoven and Mozart," Jennifer Andrews, a music teacher at Woodview Elementary School, says. "We talk about what would they think of all of these [modern] ways to create songs because they would go crazy."

When the pandemic prevented the students from having an extracurricular choir, Andrews found new ways to engage her students through a blend of music and technology.

"During the shutdown, we had to look at things differently," Andrews says.

This winter, Andrews started Composer Club, inviting third, fourth and fifth grade students to join her for weekly lessons before school. 25 students signed up and started to arrange music using apps like Kandinsky, part of Chrome Music Lab, and Incredibox, from a French developer.

But there was more than just music lessons. Andrews says she started teaching the kids about email so they could share their compositions, and they taught her new things as well.

"The more the students are on something, they figure it out as they go," Andrews says. "One student he figured out how to add more sounds just by watching a video."

In the fall, Andrews hosted a club for students interested in drama. There were no auditions, no need for memorizing lines. Andrews says she wanted to be inclusive and have fun with the kids performing 'Fractured Fairy Tales,' which retell classic stories.

"When looking at our curriculum and looking at things for kids, I wanted to be able to offer things for every kind of kid," Andrews says.

After spring break, Andrews says she'll host another club called Melody. Students will learn more about music and performance by using percussion instruments called Boomwhackers.

If you know a remarkable teacher, student or school making a difference in your community -- contact CBS 58 to be featured in the next School Bulletin.

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