Here are some letters and comments we've received from our docents, students, teachers, and administrators.
Letter from a Student
"Hi Mrs. Carlile, I'm sure you do not remember me what-so-ever! Hahaha but I attended Parkmont the same years as Brittany and Ashley H. I wanted to let you know that you and Mrs. Hess helped me to get where I am today. F.A.M.E. and "Music for Minors" was pretty much the start to my future! Since I left Parkmont, I joined band and I have been playing the french horn for 7 years now and the viola for 3, I have joined my high school choir as well as the Oratorio Society up at Cal State Hayward. I am currently one of the assistant directors for the Golden Gate Boys Choir and Bell Ringers (which we are taking a trip the day after Christmas to Rome, we were invited back to sing for the Holy Father!). Right now I am at Chabot and will be going into the teaching credential program at Cal State Hayward for Music Ed and will then persue a Masters in Conducting. I want you to know that you and Mrs. Hess hold a very special place in my heart and that I have not forgotten about a single moment in class with you two. I have even taught my boys solfege with the song you taught us, "Cookies Made of Do!" I cannot express how much I am greatful (sic) and the only thing I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart! Yours truly, ~Joseph Rodriguez" (October 2010)
Teachers Praise Music for Minors II
MFMII has received wonderful comments from our classroom teachers regarding their docents and the MFMII program. Teachers are especially pleased with the curriculum reinforcement that the MFMII curriculum offers which greatly enhances children's learning. Song lyrics become poetry and songbooks improve reading skills. Music supports the language arts/social studies curriculum and encourages students to participate in a cooperative, respectful manner. Teachers notice that children are more confident in their singing and not so shy and improve in their following directions and listening skills. They observe that their docents bring out the best in all the students and find that their students are happier overall which helps them learn and get along with each other. Music is a powerful learning tool!
- “I make copies of the songs for their poetry and songbooks which enhances their reading skills.” 1st Grade, Patterson School, Fremont
- “It supports the language arts/social studies curriculum and encourages students to participate in a cooperative, respectful manner.” 4th Grade, Gomes School, Fremont
- “Children are more confident in their singing and not so shy. This is the first time to try musical instruments. She has a real knack in bringing out the best in all the students.” 4th Grade, Ardenwood School, Fremont
- “I have seen improvement in my students’ following directions and listening skills.” 2nd Grade, Ardenwood School, Fremont
- “I just think it makes my students happier overall, which helps them learn and get along better with each other.” 4th Grade, Parkmont School, Fremont
- “Fantastic program!” 5th Grade, Gomes School, Fremont
- “I am so pleased to have Barbara Rodriguez as my docent. My students are very happy on our music days”
- “Annette Liao puts a lot of effort into her teaching! She has taught my kids a lot about music and they love it! … I think this MFMII program is something my students look forward to and it helps to make them want to come to school!”
- Nancy Kwok “is a very enthusiastic docent!” “My children love her enthusiasm and have fun learning music.”
- Christina Broadwin “is patient, kind and excellent. I appreciate and admire her/the music program very much.”
- “My students are full of excitement when they see Peggy Su. I love the way she writes the lyrics on large poster sheets, as it helps my kids to become better readers as well as better singers.” “I have a special education student in my class this year. He feels very successful in school when he participates in Music for Minors II.”
- “Isabel Mao is fabulous, positive and prepared! The students sing the songs from MFMII during work time because they are catchy!”
- “Karna Redman is doing very well. She is always prepared, follows the curriculum, and is very enthusiastic.”
- Leonard Ott has done a great job of teaching recorders in the classroom. “I have noticed that students low or high academically are equalized with the recorders. I see their confidence level building.”
- Thanks to Linda Hsu, “we had a fabulous experience singing with Charlotte Diamond. It was a once in a lifetime experience for my students to be able to sing on stage with her. Wow!”… “My class’s reading and math scores seem higher than in the past”
- “All students in my class seem to enjoy going to MFMII classes with Stephanie Wesley.” “This is especially helpful for English Language Learners.” “The music helps to balance a rigorous academic program.”
- Ed Mateo (who is teaching 12 classes) “is very supportive of our school.” “Students have a fun time and a love for music.” They enjoy singing a lot more now than when we started in September.”
- “Students really enjoy music with Kinjal Modi and appreciate being able to partake in it weekly. This gives some students a more positive outlook on school.”
- “I have a very active boy who has trouble staying focused. But he loves music with Kathy Garfinkle and always behaves. I was able to praise him and tried to get him to improve his overall behavior.” “Thank you Music for Minors II.”
- “Jaya Murthy is great! Joyous, patient, and enthusiastic.” “I have seen a slight improvement in some of my students’ following directions skills and listening skills.”
- “Suparna Dangi is fabulous in that she so enjoys teaching. She lights up the class with her good spirits.” “I just think it makes my students happier overall, which helps them learn and get along better with each other.”
- Catherine Pearson “ draws-out the “inner performer” of my most timid students…love it!” “I just know that my students look forward to MFMII e very week!” “We recently visited the Math/Science Nucleus on a Tuesday, when Mrs. Pearson arrived that Friday for her weekly session, she brought the same song, on poster, for the students to sing and revisit...loved it!”
An Amazing Docent Experience With An Autistic Child!
Docent Landa Bishop at Snow School in Newark, shared an incredible experience about one of the autistic children that her classroom teacher shared with her after Landa only presented the lesson twice for her class. Landa had shared rhythm notation with her K/1 students using symbols for “ta” and “ti” a la Kodaly method using a poem for context. Following the MFMII lessons, when the autistic child returned to his classroom, he wrote musical notes and recited the rhythm along with parts of the poem.
His teacher shared that many children with Autism really enjoy music and it motivates them to learn. What is amazing to her however is that he learned so much in such a large group of students since she has him in a small class of 5 students, not the MFMII class of over 20 students. Previous teachers thought that he would not be able to learn as much in a large class. The result of this is that the teacher will be placing him more often in a larger class setting for part of the day as he showed that he can learn in that setting. Time will tell but at least it is clear he learned when there was music.
All of these teacher comments reinforce what research keeps telling us: music promotes learning – they’re a perfect match! Music definitely promotes literacy and is a great tool for content area learning not to mention how it helps brain development, focusing, listening, and problem solving. It’s not just an “extra.”