Teaching elementary music a joyful experience

Teaching elementary music a joyful experience

Submitted by Darrell Baughan

I am the music teacher at Central Elementary and West Central Elementary. I live at Lake Monticello with my beautiful wife and three cats. As I finish out my 30thyear as a teacher with Fluvanna County schools, I want to share some of my thoughts and precious memories of the amazing years that I have been a proud Fluco educator.

I was born in Richmond. I attended schools in Henrico County where my love of music started. I fell in love with music in the fourth grade. One day in music class, our music teacher asked the class to listen to a recording of a musical story titled Peter and the Wolf. The teacher displayed seven posters of different musical instruments. As we listened to the music, we were asked to match the instruments we were hearing with the poster that represented each instrument. As I sat at my desk that day, I fell in love with music.

As I grew older, my parents bought me a trumpet and I slowly learned to play. In high school, marching band was my life. Being able to be outside on a large field and blow that trumpet was like being in heaven for me.

I attended Virginia Commonwealth University and studied music education. I became a member of Phi Mu Alpha, a professional music fraternity that fosters and encourages education and love of music.

I originally dreamed of being a professional trumpet player. I wanted to travel and be the best trumpeter in the world. I realized in college that although I was a very good trumpet player, there were many others who were better. I always had a love for music and children, so I was encouraged to become a music teacher.

I was hired in 1988 to teach elementary music, fifth grade chorus and fifth grade band at Central Elementary School. At first I remember being overwhelmed by my music schedule and being the director of not only music classes, but band and chorus as well. I taught fifth grade band for the first 23 years of my teaching experience. I had to teach band after school due to the busy schedules during the school day. It was a delight seeing the young children progress during the school year as they began to make better sounds on their musical instruments and learned to sing many songs from their hearts.

I will always remember the fifth grade band performing Space Shuttle Rockfor their parents on stage at the end of the school year. We used an old drum set and the trumpet players stood up as they played. I was so proud of those students and it was so much fun.

I now teach kindergarten, first and second grade music classes at West Central and Central Elementary. I absolutely love my job. In music class, the children enjoy a variety of experiences. They love to sing and dance; learn about different musical instruments, rhythms and musical notations; listen to different styles of music; and appreciate and engage in the musical world.

Music should be enjoyable and fun. Some of my best memories of my younger school days revolve around music. Music makes our world a better place. Music can be used to learn many other subjects in school. In music class this year, the second graders have learned the names and capitals of all 50 states as well as the names of the seven continents of the world and many of the places located within each continent. It is wonderful to see the look of excitement on the children’s faces when they want to learn different subjects taught in school with the help of a catchy song.

I have been blessed to work with some of the best teachers on earth here in Fluvanna County. One thing I love the most about teaching in Fluvanna is that my coworkers are also my family. We share a common love of children and education and strive every single day to make a positive difference in the lives of all of our students. I am grateful to Amy Barnabei and Clint Estes for being the best school principals any school could have. They love and care about the children in our school just as if they were their own children. Our children and staff are lucky to have them in our school system.

The past 30 years have gone by so fast for me. I can still remember that first back to school meeting we had in the cafeteria of the old high school. There were so many people I did not know and I was so intimidated. After an hour I began to feel right at home with my new Fluco friends. I am so grateful for all the love and encouragement the Fluvanna staff has given me over the years.

I am excited about our kindergarten spring concert. We have a total of 12 kindergarten classes at West Central Elementary. Kindergarten classes from Pod 1 will be performing in our school’s auditorium Tuesday (April 16) at 6:30 p.m. Kindergarten classes from Pod 2 will be performing Wednesday (April 17) at 6:30 p.m.

The children have been working hard memorizing the words to all their songs. The concert is open to the public and you will be in for a treat when you hear them sing. Two of their songs will be from popular movies and one song will be sung in sign language.

We hope we see you at our spring kindergarten concert.

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