The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) defines the arts, specifically music, as a core subject, and that the arts play a significant role in children’s development and learning process. This is essentially an unfunded mandate that virtually all educators see as important but have few, if any (cost effective) choices to meet this requirement with. The Children’s Music Foundation (CMF) was founded in February 2009 as a non-profit organization to address this need, as recent school budget cuts have been particularly hurtful to music programs throughout the country. Check out the CMF introductory video (pictured).
“Our mission is to enrich young students’ lives by creating and supporting standards-based, turn-key music programs that are easy to use and free to all schools to make music a central part of the elementary school curriculum”
Having visited several classrooms, it appeared to the founders that in many cases, music education tended to begin in the third grade, for those that were fortunate enough to have a music instructor. Even then, the instructor was often stretched thin, being shared by several classrooms, and even several schools within a given district. We concluded that developing an easy-to-use, teacher-centric tool, could empower or ‘leverage’ our existing educational investments would create a solution that would not only scale, but could drive true systemic change. In the earliest grades, the classroom teacher spends virtually all day with her students and is in an ideal position to take full advantage of the inter-curricular opportunities that a complete , sequential music curriculum offered. Some classrooms have teachers who are musically inclined or “talented”, but many don’t. A (live) trained music specialist is ideal, but in the absence of one, First Notes’ Miss Melody is great to co-teach with!
First Note Program
Designed for students aged 3 to 6 years in age, the most unique feature of the program, is that it is not designed so much to be ‘taught’, but rather ‘facilitated’. This is key in that specialized music training is not required by the facilitator, dramatically expanding the number of teachers, or even volunteers, such as parents that could provide this program to our youngest students. Academic rigor, ease of use, artistic integrity, and fun and engaging content were combined to create the First Note Music Curriculum. This combined with the low cost of the program makes First Note an attractive option for all schools.
Our long term goal is ambitious as we seek to do our part to bring positive change to our educational system, by working to see that all Pre-K through 1st Grade students have at the very least, foundational music education.