Traditionally, our school’s first-graders spend the majority of their music classes after spring break learning 11 songs from The Operetta of Peter Rabbit, composed by Dudley Glass. Each song mirrors a section of the book. Then, at the assembly, as a way to demonstrate how far they've come as readers throughout first grade, each student reads a passage of the book; then, everyone sings the corresponding song.
Music teacher Emily Spaeth tried to keep the format the same when EMS moved to remote learning, but "the challenges of teaching music online, especially with our younger students, made it difficult for me to teach all the songs," she says, deciding the students would sing three of the songs that former students remembered the most: "4 Little Rabbits," "Rabbit Pie," and "Naughty Peter."
Spaeth says the real stand-out worth mentioning is that the students recorded themselves singing the Peter Rabbit songs so that she could compile them into a virtual performance. "This is not a usual request for students at this age," she says. "It is really not an age-appropriate skill to be able to sing solo; children at this age depend on each other to stay in-tune, in-tempo, and to sing with confidence. I am so proud of these first graders who stepped way out of their comfort zone to provide me with the videos used in the performance. I believe they have grown so much as musicians from this experience, and I look forward to getting back to work with them."
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- Little School