Taking Notes: UH Teaching Music Education to Houston Educators

Preschool teacher workshop conducted at Pasadena Convention Center July 9 - 10

Never underestimate the power of music. It tells stories, entertains audiences of all ages, defines generations and shapes cultures. In the classroom, however, it’s become an effective tool for inspiring and energizing young minds.

From July 9 - 10, approximately 150 Houston Head Start teachers will assemble in the Pasadena Convention Center to learn how to incorporate music in their curriculum thanks to the Abiola Initiative in Music Education (aime) and the University of Houston’s Preparatory and Continuing Studies program (PCS). On both days, training will be conducted from 9 a.m. – noon and 1 – 4 p.m.

Rhona Brink, PCS clinician and UH alumnus is overseeing the training sessions, which will prepare teachers to make music education part of their overall curriculum for preschool children. She will focus on different elements of music education including singing, movement, games, fantasy or role playing, listening and evaluation.

“I’ll take them through these elements using songs and recordings,” Brink said. “If I am showing them how to use movement in the classroom, I’ll use particular songs and invite them to get up and move around with me. Basically, I’ll model activities that they can use with children.”

A veteran educator, Brink taught music in public schools for more than 20 years. Recently, her talents as a teacher have been put to use as part aime’s efforts to teach music at schools that cannot afford full- or part-time music instructors. During the past year, Brink taught music to children at the UH Child Care Center and at the Third Ward Head Start Program.

“Music is a wonderful educational tool,” Brink said. “There are several studies that suggest the positive impact music has on students’ academic performances. The power of music in the classroom, however, is best reflected on the smiles on children’s faces. They are delighted to move and sing. It’s a thrill for any educator to see and feel their enthusiasm.”

The initiative is the brainchild of Houstonians Lisa and Agbo Abiola, who donated $50,000 to UH to provide music lessons to schools that could not afford arts programming. In fall 2007, PCS clinicians and instuctors began providing twice-a-week lessons for children and students at the UH Child Care Center, the Third Ward Head Start Program and Houston’s Challenge Early College High School.

As part of UH’s Moores School of Music, PCS offers vocal and instrumental classes to the public each fall, spring and summer. Classes are taught by Moores faculty and student instructors and are not part of UH’s curriculum. Class fees vary, and a schedule of courses can be accessed at www.pcs.uh.edu or by calling 713-743-3398.

For more information on the Moores School of Music, visit www.music.uh.edu or call 713-743-3009.

About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.