Campus News - February 26, 2001
Music school fills education void
By Laurie Mellas-Ramirez
many of us catch a few extra winks Saturday morning, the minds of more than
500 area youth will awake to the sound of music at UNM.
The UNM Music Prep School at the Center for the Arts provides music-related
education and activities for children from birth to sixth grade. Non-profit,
and now in its eighth year, the school helps fill a void created by decade-old
cuts to general and instructional music programs in the Albuquerque Public Schools.
Diane Bonnell, director, says most of the schools dozen or so certified
music educators, once taught for APS.
Classes are offered for 14 weeks in the fall and spring with an eight-week summer sessio.
Classic nursery rhymes and childrens literature are heard in the schools preschool curriculum. Some children start with us at age two or three and progress up the spectrum to an instrument such as piano or guitar, Bonnell says. We have instruction in all band and orchestra instruments and steel drum and marimba. And if children are interested in working on vocal music, they can participate in chorus.
The emphasis is on skill building, not performance, says Bonnell, although students close each semester with a final sharing at Keller Hall open to parents and friends.
Classes for children through age four require parental participation. We help parents to interact with their young children through music, says Bonnell. We incorporate movement and songs, and even the babies can play some hand-held instruments like the shakers.
Families travel from Belen, Los Lunas, Corrales, East Mountains and Rio Rancho
to take part in the program.
Many universities have music preparatory schools, Bonnell said. Programs like this can easily become elitist, but we are proud to say we represent most zip codes in the area. We are thrilled that the families come from a cross of cultures and economic levels.
A limited number of partial and full tuition waivers based on the same guidelines
as the APS free and reduced lunch program are available. About 10 percent of
the children attend on scholarship.
We have 565 children enrolled this spring. It shows that there is such
a need for music education and that there are parents out there who are willing
to get up on Saturday morning and make sure their children get one, says
Bonnell. Were fulfilling a real need in the community.
The deadline for eight-week summer classes, June 2-July 28, ends May 31. Class
fees are $55 for ages 2-1/2 through sixth grade and $35 for birth to 29 months
with a $5 discount per child for multi-child families.
For a registration form and information, call 277-8816 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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