I’ve been working with Whitestone Elementary for the last month, and I can confidently say that these kids are PUMPED to have Pathways Through Music in the classroom. As soon as the students found out why I was there, they couldn’t stop asking questions: ‘What instrument do you play?’ ‘Do you play drums too?’ ‘Do you also play the tuba??? (No, unfortunately I do not).
And who can blame them? Last year they experienced music, school, and socializing almost exclusively online. Concerts? Guest teachers? None. They lacked real world experiences that I think we often took for granted before the pandemic. So, starting this program feels like perfect timing. At least, that’s what Brooke Hartgraves believes.
Brooke Hartgraves is the Performing Arts teacher at Whitestone Elementary. She is someone who cares deeply about her students, and wants them to have as many opportunities and as much fun as possible. In fact, I was impressed with many of the things that she had planned for the classroom while I was observing. This included a movie production for Veterans Day, a song and movement game for Thanksgiving, and a custom light show by the kindergarteners! I could tell that each and every kid was excited to be there, and that the students were thankful to be able to participate.
I asked what makes Whitestone so special, and Brooke immediately said one word: everything. If she had to choose one thing though, she said that it’s the support she feels from her principal, her administration, and the community. And that’s part of the reason she was so eager to get us in the classroom. She knew that everyone would be excited about new opportunities for students to experience music. She considers herself a lifelong learner too, and can’t wait to see some of the things we’ll be able to do together.
Pathways will begin its programming at Whitestone by visiting in December to do some guest teaching classes. This will give all of the students at the school an opportunity to get to know us. Then, in January, we will begin visiting on a more regular basis. These visits will include lessons on new instruments, performances by guest teachers, and meetings to implement some of our curriculum for the long-term.
We can’t wait to start making music with Whitestone Elementary. We can feel the support that Brooke Hartgraves has mentioned, and we know how important that is for any school or organization. That is why we are so thankful for the support we have gotten so far, and for the support we will continue to receive.