My grade 4/5s and I wrote a school cheer to be yelled at all future competitions. To the rhythm of “Smoke on the Water”… “Jean Lumb Towers. Show us your powers. Make us proud. Be strong!” There’s also a 3-part drum/body percussion part that was revealed at our January assembly. Go teams!
Inspired by Georgia Dickie’s sculpture called “Listening Ears” that’s outside on our JLPS schoolyard, my students and I re-wrote the words of Bruno Mars’s “Talking to the Moon” to instead be “Opening our listening ears. Hearing sounds and all voices.” 60 Grade 2-5s in Towers School Singers and 30 Grade 6-8s in Towers School Band (what a huge team of musicians!) learned to sing and play this tune and layer it in 7-part harmony! We performed in a circle around the sculpture and surrounded by the rest of the JLPS students.
I’ve been dreaming about this show for years! Zak Smith, our primary P.E. teacher, and I started by asking our Grade 2 and 3 students if they knew any clapping and skipping games from our schoolyard. “Lemonade,” “TicTacToe,” and “Stella Ella” were our favourites. Next Zak and I wrote our students’ families and invited them to share schoolyard games from their childhoods. The student whose families shared a schoolyard game became the expert and taught us the games and all the words to the songs (we learned games in Spanish, Urdu, Marathi, Mandarin, and Brazilian). We shared these games on an outdoor stage on our schoolyard and then invited all of the JLPS students, staff, and community members in the audience to play them with us!
Edmee Nataprawira and I presented together and the positive response we got was overwhelming. We opened our circle to 50 delegates! Our talk was entitled, “It’s not your story to tell. But listen quietly and share loudly.” Our focus was on approaches to sharing music from cultures that are not our own. We shared our thoughts and listened to others.
It’s finally happening! My incredible principal, Judith Kramer, and I thrilled to be offering a steel pan program for our interested Gr. 6-8 students. Thanks to our partnership with Joy Lapps, we’re working with Humber College and the Canoe Landing Community Centre to make this happen for our kids and their community.
on the floor makes an incredible sound and the students who piece it back together will learn their musical alphabet for life.
In September all of my students learn to (or review how to) carefully take out, listen to, produce sound on, and put away our instruments. We are now starting to talk about our upcoming “gigs” and students will be able to choose their own performance instrument. In my experience this leads to more involved practising, responsible rehearsals, and proud accomplishments.
The hallway to our music room is finally decorated and it’s a JLPS music code…ask any one of my students what it means and they will sing it back to you AND can play it on any “strumming instrument.” A right of passage and a sense of belonging. “We are Jean Lumb community.”
What JLPS sound is quietest? What JLPS sound surprises you? Where in JLPS do you make the most sounds? My 2023/24 Gr. 2-8 music students and I are discussing sound, pondering Murray Schafer quotes, and creating Soundscapes using recorded school sounds in GarageBand. Best start to our music program yet…like ever!
AMAZING feeling to be leading Strings at a camp again (I miss Music by the Lake!) and especially with all three of my own kids as campers. I hope to bring some of my JLPS students with me next summer!