"Music for all" is Doyle's philosophy

(03-25-2010)

Just inside the south entrance of the Adams State College Music Building, a class walks, skips, and jumps like kangaroos to the beat, and then, when a gong sounds, quickly and quietly drops to the floor, all eyes on Dr. Tracy Doyle, associate chair of music and music education professor. The lesson continues with bubbles, marked boxes and a variety of musical instruments to inspire and educate.

This may sound elementary -- and it is -- the students are first through third graders, children of Adams State faculty, staff, and students. Doyle said "Music for All" sums up her teaching philosophy. She created the once-a-week class to help children "discover their inner musician." Her music education students assist with instruction, for hands-on experience.

The class, Music for Kids, is based on the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education, and by its nature, immerses children in music making. "They are not passive observers, but active participants," Doyle said.

Pilar Rubio said her daughter, Elena MacWilliams, "comes running" to the class. "I love it," Rubio said.

Doyle was an elementary school music teacher. "I have missed working with young students and helping foster a love of music and the arts." She also wanted to provide an opportunity for music education majors to observe the theory discussed in the classroom and put it into practice, and provide opportunities for micro teaching, with feedback and reflection. "It has been a joy to watch my students teach the class. It gives me a glimpse into what kind of teachers they will be someday. I am very proud of them."

Marcos LeBlanc, senior music education major, said the real-life experience is a big difference from "text book reading" or hypothetical "what-if" classroom instruction. He plans to teach high school band and, although this class is geared toward elementary-aged children, believes many of the techniques would work "toward any age."

The children are a mixed group, from a variety of schools, backgrounds, and grade levels. "There was quite a bit of shyness and uncertainty at the beginning of the semester and now they have all blossomed. Timid voices have given way to enthusiastic singing," Doyle said.

"I've seen a lot of improvement from the first class," LeBlanc added.

In the fall 2010 semester, Doyle plans to continue the Music for Kids program and teach two classes. By having a class for kindergarten and first-graders and another for second and third graders, she can "better provide developmental appropriate instruction." In addition, she will provide a weekly music class for the La Puente Pals program and work with them on an upcoming project that integrates all the arts.

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By Linda Relyea