Mr. Willy Leafblad
5th - 12th Band Director

(507) 498-3221 ext. 151


 

 

Dear Spring Grove Public School students, parents, staff, administration, and community,

 

We are writing today to provide you with information pertinent to music education at Spring Grove for the 2020-21 school year.

 

On August 13, the Minnesota Department of Education released a document entitled “Arts Education in the 2020-21 School Year: Recommendations and Resources.” The paragraphs below are taken from page 2 of the document:


Is Arts Education Required in All Scenarios?


Arts instruction is an essential part of a public-school education in Minnesota and should continue in distance learning, hybrid learning, and in-person learning models. Arts education is a right, not a privilege or an extra. The arts are a core, required content area with academic standards for all students in Minnesota. In addition, Minnesota has early childhood indicators in the arts. The continuity of arts learning for all students ensures that districts and charters are providing a well-rounded education. For information on arts education requirements in Minnesota, please see this overview of the requirements on the MDE website page.

The arts play a unique role in education as they can help the whole child flourish and communities thrive. Quality arts education promotes student engagement, academic achievement, and students' personal and social well-being. Arts education often contributes to social-emotional learning and can be leveraged to bring people together in school communities, two aspects of education that are especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. As schools reconvene this fall, regardless of scenario, the arts can serve as a catalyst for student success and should be considered an essential part of students' educational experience. Fortunately, all arts learning can be modified for each of the possible scenarios to help support students’ social, emotional, and academic growth. 

 

Music ensembles (choir and band) have been a primary model of music education at Spring Grove Public School since the subject of music was introduced into the curriculum. Participating in a music ensemble can be one of the most intrinsically rewarding parts of a child's whole education. Music ensembles can act as “social glue” for teens, connecting them with their peers. The school music ensemble creates opportunities for students to explore and connect with deep emotions. Our bodies, specifically our nervous system, can have physiological responses to music such as goosebumps or “the chills” when the sound waves stimulate our senses. Talk to any Spring Grove music student, we are sure they have had experiences akin to this within the music classroom.

In some ways, it is indescribable what happens when we make music with others. The social-emotional benefits of making music in community with others are numerous [see attachment]. As stated above by MDE, musical ensembles are uniquely poised to combat the trauma our students have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

That is why we, as music educators, have been tirelessly researching ways to make our music ensembles SAFE this year. We are pleased to share our Spring Grove Music COVID-19 Safety Strategies with you today. These procedures, techniques, and mitigation strategies are based on current and ongoing research supported and endorsed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), and the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). As always, please reach out to us with your questions and concerns (bethany.engen@springgrove.k12.mn.us and willy.leafblad@springgrove.k12.mn.us).

 

On Wednesday, September 2 at 12:00 noon, Spring Grove Music Educators and Administration will be hosting a lunch time Q&A session. Parents, community members, school faculty and staff, and any interested parties are invited to attend. The overarching topic of discussion for the Q&A session will be “Keeping Music Education Safe at School.” We hope you will join us! The session will also be recorded and sent out post completion.

 

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/94513790466?pwd=V0xnMjVPOEIrOVNiYUhlNEVISW5HQT09

Meeting ID: 945 1379 0466

Passcode: 820067 

 

ELEMENTARY MUSIC

Young learners will attend music class outside (rain location: homeroom), physically distanced a minimum of 6x6 feet apart. Learners are not required to wear masks for outdoor music classes when not singing. Learners will wear masks when singing outdoors. Singing will take place in the last 5 minutes or less of class, just before learners leave the music space. Mrs. Engen will wear a mask and face shield when singing. Young learners will be studying music from a wide variety of cultures. Activities include recorded music, dance, movement, and note reading.

 

Middle age learners will attend music class outside (rain location: homeroom), physically distanced a minimum of 6x6 feet apart. Learners will experience music through note reading, recorded music, dance, movement, ukuleles, rhythm cups, and drumming. Instruments will be used exclusively within cohorts, and disinfected after each use. We will not be playing pennywhistles and recorders during semester one. Playing these wind instruments will be reevaluated in December and possibly included in the second semester. Singing will take place in the last 5 minutes or less of class, just before learners leave the music space. Mrs. Engen will wear a mask and face shield when singing.

 

5-12 BAND

- Masks will be worn by all band students and staff.

- Mr. Leafblad will use a portable amplifier to keep his voice at a low conversational volume. Band students will also be encouraged and reminded to ask questions in a low conversational volume with a mask.

- No talking will occur in the room without a mask being properly worn.

- “Band masks” will be utilized while playing instruments. These masks have an opening in the center for instrument mouthpieces to fit through. The masks are sewn in such a way that the mouthpiece opening closes again when not in use (double layered).

- Instrument bell covers will be utilized. Multi-layered, MERV 13 or surgical mask type materials are recommended for these bell covers. 

- Flute players can wear masks while playing by inserting the flute headjoint between their mouth and the mask. Example: https://youtu.be/A3T6h1muUic

- During outdoor and indoor rehearsals, students will maintain minimum 6 foot distancing. Trombones will be allocated a 6x9 foot space to accommodate for the slide.

- An effort will be made to keep indoor and outdoor rehearsals at the recommended 30 minute length. If more time is allotted during the period, playing will cease and the group may possibly move to a different location to allow aerosols time to dissipate. 

- A minimum of 5 minutes will be allotted between outdoor rehearsals to allow aerosols to dissipate.

- Outdoor rehearsals will be utilized as long as feasibly possible. Minnesota Band Directors Association recommends instruments not be played outside if the temperature is below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

- Groups will split up into smaller numbers during indoor rehearsals to accommodate adequate distancing.

- Students may spend time rehearsing in small ensembles (flute choir, brass quintet, jazz combos, etc.) during indoor rehearsals.

- Students should still sign up for band even if they plan to learn virtually this year. Every effort is being made to ensure all students have access to a complete music education and the experiences that accompany it no matter the education model their family has chosen.

- Brass instrument water keys (“spit valves”) will be emptied on to an absorbent material (washcloth) and stored in a ziplock bag in instrument cases. Students will bring these home to be washed at appropriate intervals. (at least once every 2 days)

- There will be no shared band instrument at Spring Grove this year apart from select percussion mallets and beaters (*see below).

- Percussionists will be required to purchase their own snare sticks and one set of mallets for use at school.

- *Select percussion mallets and beaters (timpani sticks, suspended cymbal mallets, bass drum, gong, triangle beater, and the like) will be used by percussionists wearing gloves and wiped with disinfectant between players.

- Percussionists will wear masks at all times.

- Hand sanitizer will be readily available. Students will be encouraged to wash hands with soap and water as often as possible.

- 70% alcohol wipes will be available to wipe all surfaces before and after touching.

- Small group and individual band lessons will be available to all band students. Students and parents may make requests for the size of lesson group (one-on-one or small group) by emailing Mr. Leafblad

- Lessons will be held outside as often as possible.

- A certain number of pen air shelters (tents) will be available for outdoor rehearsals and lessons.

- There are no scheduled band concert dates at this time, however, live stream performances and virtual ensembles are a possibility.  

 

7-12 CHOIR

  • Masks will be worn by all choristers. Three (3) layer disposable masks (usually blue) are recommended. “Super-singers” (singers with powerful voices who may transfer aerosols through the top of the mask) are encouraged to wear a face shield as well as a mask. Mrs. Engen will wear a mask and face shield.

  • Mrs. Engen will use a portable amplifier to keep her voice at a low conversational volume. Choristers will also be encouraged and reminded to ask questions in a low conversational volume with a mask.

  • Choir rehearsals will be held outdoors as weather permits. No singing indoors. 

  • Outdoor rehearsals will last no more than 30 minutes.

  • Choristers will rehearse a minimum of 6x6 feet apart. 

  • Choristers will learn their parts through drumming, body percussion, and audiation (singing pitches in their heads). 

  • Singing will take place during the last part of the rehearsal. After singing choristers will vacate the rehearsal space. 

  • A minimum of 5 minutes will be allotted between outdoor rehearsals to allow aerosols to dissipate.

  • Small ensembles will be honored upon request. 

  • Students should still sign up for choir even if they plan to learn virtually this year. Every effort is being made to ensure all students have access to a complete music education and the experiences that accompany it no matter the education model their family has chosen.

  • Voice lessons will be available, face-to-face or virtually, at the request of the chorister. 

  • There are no scheduled concert dates at this time, however, live stream performances and virtual choirs are a possibility.  

 

MUSIC INQUIRY PROJECT

Spring Grove musicians in grades 7-12 have the opportunity to participate in  Band and/or Choir ensembles or complete a self-guided music inquiry project. Click here for more information about inquiry projects.








 

National Standards for Music Education

 

 

What Spring Grove Public Schools values:

Keep students and staff physically safe.

Care for the social-emotional needs of students and staff.

Keep learning the priority to create a strong learning environment no matter the delivery model.

Reduce inequities by meeting the learning needs of students.

Engage in complex work that will require the collective efforts of many.



 

Sincerely,

 

Mr. Willy Leafblad

willy.leafblad@springgrove.k12.mn.us

Band



 

Mrs. Bethany Engen

bethany.engen@springgrove.k12.mn.us

Elementary Music, Choir



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MUSIC INQUIRY PROJECT


Optional topics of inquiry include but are not limited to:

Chord Analysis 

Community Connections through music

Composer Study

Composition/Arrangements using technology

Conducting

Elements of music study

Exploring your musical identity

Reflections on pieces of music

Research paper

Respond to and critique music

Music history project

Music theory (notation)

Tutor a young musician

Passion Project of your choice!

 

               National Standards for Music Education--->

 

Procedure for learning music through inquiry:

The music educator offers a variety of topics for exploration.

Learners discuss what they already know about the topic.

Learners ask questions about the topic.

Learners explore the topic at a deeper level. Research!

Learners share what they have learned with their peers, families, and the community.

Learners transfer the musical understanding they have constructed to new situations.

 

Guiding questions for learners 

What do you already know about this topic?

What questions do you have about this topic?

Who composed this music? What do you know about the composer?

How do you hear this music?

What does this music express?

How do you connect to this music?

How might you change your project?

What musical understanding have you constructed?

How does your musical understanding transfer to other things you know?

What would you like to try next?

 

 

Contact: Willy Leafblad