Ricky Jefferson has been the music instructor for the past year at South Whitley Elementary, but thanks to a new opportunity, he is now the elementary music instructor for both of Whitko's elementary schools. "We are so excited to have Mr. Jefferson join our Pierceton Family! It has been a joy to hear the fun, upbeat music coming from the music room!" shared Principal Michele Smith. "I know the students will learn musical skills and enjoy working towards their music performances during the year."
"During his first year here at South Whitley, many students, staff, and parents commented on how much they enjoyed the music programs Mr. Jefferson presented. Students are playing a wide assortment of instruments, singing parts on songs, and seem to really enjoy his guitar playing while the students sing," said Principal Bryan Emmert of SWE.
Pierceton Elementary will now get to enjoy the musical stylings of Mr. Jefferson. Jefferson is known for his authentic guitar playing and covers many family-friendly-favorites in the classroom by artists like John Denver (Grandma's Feather Bed), The Beetles (Yesterday), and Peter Paul & Mary (Puff the Magic Dragon).
Monday, August 12th, Jefferson introduced himself for the first time to a group of students at PES during their weekly scheduled music class. "One thing I love to do with music students, is instruments. I love to play the instruments and then let you play the instruments," shared Jefferson.
And in a world where technology seems to be taking the place of hands on learning, he summarized his approach with a promise: that he would never put an instrument in the hands of his students without first showing them how to play it and take care of it. And he went a step further in sharing some of his hopes for the future.
"We are so excited to have Mr. Jefferson join our Pierceton Family! It has been a joy to hear the fun, upbeat music coming from the
music room!" - Principal Michele Smith
"Now, you guys don't have a real good selection of musical instruments yet, but I'm going to work on that," he shared. "I've got a ton at South Whitley. And I'm going to talk to the principals and make sure it's ok (and I'm sure they'll say ok) and I'm gonna split some of those instruments over here your guys' way."
He also shared that he has the ability to order new instruments, and that after he splits up the instruments across the two elementary schools, he has plans to equalize the needs by making some additional purchases where needed.
One of the improvements to South Whitley Elementary, of which he was proud, was the new guitar and ukuleles students could learn to play. He said he would like to do something similar now that he is at PES and bring those types of stringed instruments into the classroom.
According to Curriculum and Special Services Director, Ward Lamon, by having one teacher deliver the music curriculum in both elementary schools, Whitko is ensuring that "all elementary students receive high quality and consistent music education." Lamon continued by validating that music is "more than something that people enjoy listening to. Music education provides a foundation for literacy, math, physical activity, and establishes life-long skill sets. Reading music allows students to practice many of the basic reading foundation skills – reading from left to write, taking note of where to read and where to rest, and understanding symbols that translate into meaning. Along with basic reading skills, music is rooted in mathematical computation. When students are exposed to music, they are building a foundation of fractions, which translates into money, cooking, and basic Algebra skills. Music instruction allows students to utilize active movement and breath control – two skills also needed for physical activity." Lamon's sentiments affirmed a passion for music can last for a lifetime, despite a person’s age, they can sing, play, and listen to music.
Music education provides a foundation for literacy, math, physical activity, and establishes life-long skill sets.
If parents would like a sneak peek into the future of PES' music program, they can view Mr. Jefferson's 2018-19 program. They can visit the SWE Facebook page's video from last years 1st grade and Kindergarten Student Showcase and hear, "Puff the Magic Dragon" beginning around 12:45 into the video as students perform their finalè.