The project I would like to present is the creation of a music curriculum for underprivileged kids, fifth through eighth grade. I decided on this project because music is one of my strongest and most focused interests, while curriculum development and teaching are professions I have considered pursuing after college. Music education is that it has proven critical to brain development in children and has affected their thought processes and perceptions even later in life. The arts have been put on the back burner for many years in numerous education systems, a mistake because the learning of music has an immense education value, as do the tools it can give a person.
Curriculum development is not an easy task, especially when the project is tailored for a group of people that I have little experience with. I hope this brings attention to issues within American public schooling programs and help alleviate some of the dying enthusiasm to keep children educated within the arts. They are more than an escape from reality, and even more importantly, they can influence a child to a better life.
I hope to improve on numerous skills and perceptions as I build my program. It is incredibly beneficial to study something so important to my life in depth and mold it to help others. I will become a better musician because I will understand my craft better. I will also get to look into how music affects the human psyche, certainly a useful and interesting topic because I will better understand the human mind, not something to be overlooked by teachers. I will also grow more as a person myself.
It certainly will be a challenge to have to study, understand, and try to relate to kids that live high risk lifestyles, or do not have nearly the same opportunities I have due to lack of money. The first step in fixing something is to understand it. I cannot boast that I will fix anything for any child, but I can certainly try, and the more I can understand, the more I can educate others and help spread awareness. I gain personal growth out of my scholars project.
I want to divide my project up into different grades. I will work on one to two grades per month, depending on how long a particular grade takes me to create. I have a vast amount of work to do. I must research each grade in terms of child psyche, how music affects their brains, what kind of music they should be learning, how it will connect to other subjects they currently learn, goals for that particular year, how it can help with family life and involvement, etc. I will be writing papers and making simple PowerPoints for each grade. There will be one overarching summary that is simple for anyone who does not want to go in depth.
I don’t expect my amount of work to exceed the time I have planned for myself, due to the fact that I already have a plan and have already started some of my research this summer. One of the beautiful things about my project is that I have a plethora of mentors to choose from. I have two music teachers, an English teacher, my parents who both worked in curriculum development, a therapist, multiple groups of friends who are well versed in different genres of music, and many other teachers I can interview and gather information from. I have a big support group who is excited that I am going to tackle this challenge. I understand that I am taking on a lot, but this is something I am passionate about and I want it to work out. I do not need much to complete this project beyond my research, the people who will help me, determination, and hard work.
My biggest obstacle will be relating to children who live high risk lifestyles, because I’m not growing up below the poverty line. I need to find someone who works with poor children in those schools and learn and understand how to properly help them. It is going to be challenging, but I know many people who work in volunteer and high risk situations so I am confident that I will not have to work long. As for my success, my biggest goal is to learn. I will certainly be doing that. It is unlikely that any school will even bother looking at my program, but that is ok. I will put it on my writing blog which I promote frequently, and I will present it to St. John’s. As long as people understand how incredibly important and influential music is, I am making a difference. A ripple in the pond still disturbs calm waters, no matter how small the rock was.