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Impact Grant Winners: Makers of Musicians

Music plays a very special part in the lives of so many students. It can become their safe place, their escape from the stressors of life, their breath of fresh air in the middle of a school day, and an opportunity to form a love that could last for a lifetime. Apart from the social-emotional benefits of music education, it has also proven to help develop brain function that can improve language skills, test scores, creativity, and even math. Two of our grant winners recognized just how much music and academics go together.

Ukuleles Empower Students to Learn an Instrument 

Instruments can be hard to learn for some, and many just need the opportunity to start with the right instrument to build a good foundation. Mr. Nathan Whitehurst of Carmel Elementary recognized this and got to work finding the funds to purchase 40 ukuleles for students in grades 4 and 5. By participating in ukulele lessons, students will learn to read musical notation, chord symbols, and lyrics. They not only learn to play an instrument and collaborate with classmates, but students are learning a skill that can be done as an individual as well. They're expanding their skills, learning the importance of individual practice, and how to work with others towards a common goal. 

Mr. Whitehurst hopes that his students will develop a passion for music that will open up the possibility of creating a ukulele club. Mr. Whitehurst stated, "I would like to say a very sincere thank you for your generous donation to help us establish a ukulele program here at Carmel ES. My students and I are very excited for this new possibility for musical development. Thank you once again for your outstanding work in bettering our community."

Note Knacks Launch Young Students into Music Composition

Often, the mechanics of music composition are left for more advanced musicians, but Ms. Julie Bryant of Indian Knoll Elementary School is launching even her youngest students ahead of the game in both music and math through Note Knacks. These music block manipulatives help students as young as 4 years old learn the number value of notes, and how to pair the correct combination of notes to fit into different time signature frames. The program starts with students learning the notes and associated colors. For example, a whole note is long and grey so students can fit this into a 4/4-time signature by speaking: "Gre-e-e-ey." Red represents quarter notes, which in 4/4-time would be verbally expressed as "Red, red, red, red." The next phase allows students to create their own rhythmic compositions by tracing the music block manipulatives, and in the final phase, students add in melodic composition.

Not only are students learning incredible music skills, but they are also learning the value of math including fractions, patterns, spatial relationships, and other similar lessons. Ms. Bryant plans to collaborate and coordinate with K-5 teachers to reinforce math concepts during music class since all grades have access to this tool.

Way to go, Ms. Bryant!


We're so thankful to have such awesome teachers in the Cherokee County School District. They are life changers and we hope Ms. Bryant and Mr. Whitehurst have great success with their new tools and instruments. Congratulations! 

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