Two fourth grade boys slide into their seats, grab their trumpets out of their cases, set out their music, and start playing “Wipe Out” by the Safaris even before Carly Spaeth-Walsh starts practice. She jumps in and starts snapping her fingers to the beat while handing out sheet music to the students who have forgotten theirs.
“I’m going to stop you there,” said Spaeth-Walsh, taking her place at the keyboard at the front of the classroom. She riffs with scales and chords while reviewing the week’s schedule with the students. The band concert is two days away.
“Can we take out ‘Lean on Me,’” said Spaeth-Walsh. “We’re going to practice it the way it’s going to be at the concert."
Kirin’s trumpet valve is sticky. Spaeth-Walsh takes the instrument and applies valve oil while singing “Lean on Me;” counting out the beats instead of using words. Her confidence spills over to the students. They are disciplined, eager, and sound good. Even two days before the concert the mood is easy.
Small group lessons like this happen across the district at the elementary level once a week. The teachers are versatile musicians. Spaeth-Walsh meets with woodwind, brass and percussion students. Linda Kirchenbaum, the district’s elementary orchestra teacher, gives lessons to violin, cello, and bass students, and Christian Provetto meets with fourth grade orchestra and band students at Meadow Pond Elementary School.
Students who sign up for chorus meet with Melissa Richardson at Meadow Pond Elementary and Carly Spaeth at Increase Miller and Katonah Elementary Schools.