Music Education: Interview with Ms. Fritz | Legacy School Omaha

Music Education at Legacy School: Interview with Music Specialist, Ms. Fritz.

At Legacy School, it’s easy for students to get excited about Music Education! It just comes naturally to them! We interviewed Music Specialist, Ms. Gena Fritz, to see why. 

About Music Specialist Ms. Gena Fritz:

 

Mrs. Gena FritzMy name is Gena Fritz, and I attended Peru State College, where I received my bachelor’s degree in Music Education: PreK-12th grade, Vocal and Instrumental. This year is my third year at Legacy School, and I am our Music Specialist!

 

Music Education: An Interview with Music Specialist Ms. Fritz

 

1.) Legacy School: Why do you love teaching music at Legacy School?

 

Ms. Fritz: I love teaching music, period. The fact that I get to do it at Legacy School is a privilege. First, the staff is out of this world – teachers, assistants, office staff, everyone. Also, the students are fantastic! Because of smaller class sizes, I get to develop relationships with each of my students and give them the individualized attention they deserve. I’ve taught in larger schools, and let me tell you, Legacy’s small class sizes are a big deal! 

 

2.) Legacy School: Why did you choose music Education as your career?

 

Ms. Fritz: My passion is sharing the joy and power of music! Even at a very young age, I felt that music chose me, as my entire childhood lead me to teach music of all kinds. My first ‘teaching gig’ was at the age of 13 – running the music program for vacation bible school. It was so natural that I instantly knew teaching music was what I wanted to do.  

 

3.) Legacy School: Why is music Education so crucial at a young age?

 

Kindergarten Learning About NotesMs. Fritz: Music Education accelerates brain development in young children, particularly in the brain areas responsible for processing sound, language development, speech perception, and reading skills. 

Music also ignites child development and provides school readiness skills, including intellectual, social-emotional, motor, language, and overall literacy. Exposing children to music during early development helps the BODY and MIND work TOGETHER! 

 

4.) Legacy School: What is your teaching philosophy for Music Education?

 

Hands-On Activity Learning About NotesMs. Fritz: As an educator, my philosophy is to teach my students how to become the best versions of themselves while cultivating well-rounded and productive individuals. Each school year, I strive to instill a lifelong love for music within every student by giving them the tools they need to grow musically and personally. I aim to help my students become ENDORSERS of MUSIC! 

 

5.) Legacy School: Do you design your curriculum? How do you decide what to include?

 

Ms. Fritz: The curriculum that I use for music is called GamePlan. I pull songs, activities, games, etc. from the curriculum to use in class. The best part about Legacy’s music program is that I get to decide what to use from the curriculum to best fit my students’ needs and interests. 

 

6.) Legacy School: How do you facilitate music lessons to keep students fully engaged?

 

Ms. Fritz: Music is such an inclusive subject that it’s easy to find ways to relate concepts to real-life or pop culture. If I use songs that students listen to regularly, it makes learning about time signatures, dynamics, or rhythm WAY more fun. Certainly, fun is my most prominent tool to keep students engaged!  

 

7.) Legacy School: What is your favorite music lesson you have done with your students this year? (Early Childhood & Elementary) Examples?

 

Outdoor Early Childhood Music Lesson

 Ms. Fritz: One of my favorite Early Childhood lessons is about high and low sounds. During this lesson, we learn how to distinguish different pitches using animal sounds. For instance, a bird’s tweet is high pitched, and a lion’s roar is low pitched, etc. With this activity, the ‘littles’ have so much fun imitating animal sounds, and students remember the concept because they get to moo like cows and bark like dogs.

 The Elementary lesson that is my favorite is what I call ‘Emotional Coloring.’ I choose 3 or 4 very different sounding songs that convey different feelings; angry, sad, excited, scared, etc. I play each song for 3-5 minutes; during that time, students draw or color whatever the song makes them feel. This activity is challenging for some, which is why I find it so important. Music makes you feel things, and identifying those feelings as it relates to music is important. There’s a reason a basketball team doesn’t do their warm-ups listening to Celine Dion. Music motivates, drains, excites, depresses . . . it’s POWERFUL!

 

8.) Legacy School: Legacy is on 11 acres of land, allowing students to learn outdoors. How do you utilize Legacy School’s 11 acres of land to bring outdoor learning and music together? Examples?

 

Elementary Music at the AmphitheaterMs. Fritz: Nature is full of music, and we can use nature to make music! For example, we can sit outside and listen to the birds and imitate the noise they are making. Or we can make tambourines utilizing items from the nature trail, such as sticks, pinecones, leaves, etc. Also, I constantly use the amphitheater as an outdoor classroom! Overall, the outdoors is a fantastic asset to teaching at Legacy School! 

 

 

Interview Takeaways

#1: Exposing children to music during early development helps the BODY and MIND work TOGETHER!

#2: The best part about Legacy’s music program is that I get to decide what to use from the curriculum to best fit my students’ needs and interests.

#3: Fun is my most prominent tool to keep students engaged!  

 

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