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Welcome Back!

Welcome back to school Plaza Vista, Westpark, Woodbury, and Vista Verde!  Ms. Schultz and Ms. Turrell and so excited to be teaching primary music for the 2017-2018 school year and are looking forward to meeting all their classes this week and and next

20 Important Benefits of Music in our Schools

Music is so vital for our young children!  Read this article that is published on the National Association for Music Education website (NAFME) to see all of the reasons why.

20 Important Benefits of Music In Our Schools


Nearly everyone enjoys music, whether by listening to it, singing, or playing an instrument. But despite this almost universal interest, many schools are having to do away with their music education programs. This is a mistake, with schools losing not only an enjoyable subject, but a subject that can enrich students’ lives and education. Read on to learn why music education is so important, and how it offers benefits even beyond itself.

1. Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Students who have early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. The left side of the brain is better developed with music, and songs can help imprint information on young minds.

2. A mastery of memorization: Even when performing with sheet music, student musicians are constantly using their memory to perform. The skill of memorization can serve students well in education and beyond.

3. Students learn to improve their work: Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study.

4. Increased coordination: Students who practice with musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination. Just like playing sports, children can develop motor skills when playing music.

5. A sense of achievement: Learning to play pieces of music on a new instrument can be a challenging, but achievable goal. Students who master even the smallest goal in music will be able to feel proud of their achievement.

6. Kids stay engaged in school: An enjoyable subject like music can keep kids interested and engaged in school. Student musicians are likely to stay in school to achieve in other subjects.

7. Success in society: Music is the fabric of our society, and music can shape abilities and character. Students in band or orchestra are less likely to abuse substances over their lifetime. Musical education can greatly contribute to children’s intellectual development as well.

8. Emotional development: Students of music can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures They also tend to have higher self esteem and are better at coping with anxiety.

9. Students learn pattern recognition: Children can develop their math and pattern-recognition skills with the help of musical education. Playing music offers repetition in a fun format.

10. Better SAT scores: Students who have experience with music performance or appreciation score higher on the SAT. One report indicates 63 points higher on verbal and 44 points higher on math for students in music appreciation courses.

11. Fine-tuned auditory skills: Musicians can better detect meaningful, information-bearing elements in sounds, like the emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Students who practice music can have better auditory attention, and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise.

12. Music builds imagination and intellectual curiosity: Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the whole brain and develops a child’s imagination.

13. Music can be relaxing: Students can fight stress by learning to play music. Soothing music is especially helpful in helping kids relax.

14. Musical instruments can teach discipline: Kids who learn to play an instrument can learn a valuable lesson in discipline. They will have to set time aside to practice and rise to the challenge of learning with discipline to master playing their instrument.

15. Preparation for the creative economy: Investing in creative education can prepare students for the 21st century workforce. The new economy has created more artistic careers, and these jobs may grow faster than others in the future.

16. Development in creative thinking: Kids who study the arts can learn to think creatively. This kind of education can help them solve problems by thinking outside the box and realizing that there may be more than one right answer.

17. Music can develop spatial intelligence: Students who study music can improve the development of spatial intelligence, which allows them to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. Spatial intelligence is helpful for advanced mathematics and more.

18. Kids can learn teamwork: Many musical education programs require teamwork as part of a band or orchestra. In these groups, students will learn how to work together and build camaraderie.

19. Responsible risk-taking: Performing a musical piece can bring fear and anxiety. Doing so teaches kids how to take risks and deal with fear, which will help them become successful and reach their potential.

20. Better self-confidence: With encouragement from teachers and parents, students playing a musical instrument can build pride and confidence. Musical education is also likely to develop better communication for students.

2015 Music Shares

The Spring 2015 Music Shares are Quickly Approaching!

choir jnr

We are so excited to share what students have been working on in Primary Music!  Please be sure to look out for invitations and announcements during the next month.  Also, check out the ‘Schools’ tab on our website for updates regarding the Music Share!

The 2014 Music Shares are here!

The 2014 Music Shares are here!


It is that time of year again!  The 2014 Music Shares are happening within the next few weeks!!!  Click on the ‘schools’ tab and you will find specific information regarding the date and time that the Music Share is scheduled for your school. Hope to see you there!

Colorful music background.

2013 Music Shares Are Here!

You’re invited to come to our music class!  Maybe you’ve heard some of our songs at home or in the car. Well now it’s time to visit us at school!  Come and be a part of our music class and sing with us.  Please join us during your child’s regular music time in the multi-purpose room.

You may bring a camera or video device.  Please be aware that you are joining us for a taste of your child’s regular music lesson and not a performance.  Finally, you’ll get to see the amazing wonder of IUSD Primary Music!

We hope to see you soon!
Mrs. Bresenden, Ms. Bohm/Ms. Larsen, Ms. Fulleman, Mrs. Held, and Mrs. Pitts (formerly Scavone)

You can find your Music Share schedule by clicking on your particular school’s page.


What is the Kodaly Method of Music?

Who or what is Kodaly anyway?  Zoltan Kodaly was a Hungarian composer and music educator who lived from his birth in 1882 until he died in 1967.  He wrote many songs and pieces of music and during the 1930s became very interested in music education in the schools.  He was concerned with the way children were learning to sing and was inspired to address some of the issues in music education.  Kodaly wrote many articles on the way children learn and the best way to teach singing.  His work eventually resulted in what we now call the Kodaly Method.  Right after World War II, many pedagogues followed Kodaly’s principles and popularized them throughout Hungary and other countries as well.  We now use the Kodaly Method throughout the world.

The Kodaly Method is based on these principles:

  • Singing & Folk Music

The voice is considered the most natural instrument and one that everyone carries.  Learning to sing in tune develops good listening and ear training skills and paves the way for playing an instrument.  The Kodaly Method teaches music by singing simple folk songs from countries around the world.  Naughty Kitty Cat, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Apple Tree are all examples of folk songs we use in our curriculum to teach singing and reading.

  • Solfege

The major scale is made up of eight tones: do, re, mi, fa, sol, la, ti, do.  The Kodaly Method teaches that by using these eight tones to notate and sing music, children develop their inner ear and learn to sing in harmony.  Hand signs are used for each tone to connect music with the body.  The Moveable ‘Do’ System helps students to learn to sing the scale in different key signatures on the staff.

  • Rhythm Reading

Children learn to read, write, and perform music through the Kodaly method.  There are symbols of rhythm and melody Kodaly used to help students understand musical compositions.  We use the Kodaly symbols of rhythm in our music classes to teach our youngest learners how to read and write musical patterns.

  • Sequencing

Kodaly believed that learning should be a joyful and meaningful experience.  He emphasized a sequential learning process.  First the children are introduced to a simple song, usually accompanied with a game.  Once the children become familiar with the song, they learn to read and write the patterns of rhythm and melody in the song.  After they have mastered this, they are able to perform the song with accuracy.


Teach music and singing at school in such a way that it is not a torture but a joy for the pupil; instill a thirst for finer music in him, a thirst which will last for a lifetime.”  -Zoltan Kodaly

To teach a child an instrument without first giving him preparatory training and without developing singing, reading and dictating to the highest level along with the playing is to build upon sand.”  -Zoltan Kodaly


You’re invited to our 2012 Music Shares!

It’s that time of year to see what we’ve been up to in music. Maybe you’ve heard some of our songs at home or in the car. Well now it’s time to visit our class! (Note: the Primary Music team is NOT responsible if our songs get stuck in your head.  We haven’t been able to get rid of them either.) Come and be a part of our music class and sing with us!  Please join us during your child’s regular music time in the multi-purpose room.

You may bring a camera or video device.  Please be aware that you are joining us for a taste of your child’s regular music lesson and not a performance.  Finally, you’ll get to see the amazing wonder of IUSD Primary Music!

We hope to see you soon!
Mrs. Bresenden, Ms. Barbosa, Ms. Claytor, Mrs. Held, and Ms. Larsen

You can find your Music Share schedule by clicking on your particular school’s page.

Feeling the Beat

Experiencing the beat of the music is not always as easy as it seems.  In our culture, music is all around us.  In the car, on the radio, at a coffee shop, in the background of movies, accompanying dance performances. We listen and we sing along, but we often have a hard time finding the beat and staying with it.

What is the beat?  The beat of the music is like the heart beat in our bodies.  It is the steady pulse that is always there, keeping the music alive.  All music has a steady beat.  The rate of the beat can change (just like when we run our heart beats faster and when we sleep our heart beats slower), but it stays steady.  The problem is we are not all trained to find the beat.  So what can you do to practice find the beat?

Here are a few exercises that will help you feel the beat.  Some we do in our class and you can try them as well.

  • Tap your knees as you are listening to the music and say the words, “beat beat heart beat” over and over
  • Use a straw or stick and imagine the way a conductor would conduct, bringing the stick down on the beat and up on the off-beat
  • While you are standing in line at a coffee shop, tap your toes along with the music
  • Use a percussion instrument, like a drum or an egg shaker, to accompany a piece of music, playing and shaking on the beat

The way beats are grouped is called the meter of the music.  The most common groups are three and four.  If the music is grouped in beats of four you can practice feeling the beat by counting “1 2 3 4” along with the music.  The same is true if the music is grouped in beats of three, like a waltz.

Finding the beat is not only important in music class.  Music surrounds our everyday lives, everyone should know how to find and keep the steady beat in music so you can dance with a partner, clap along at a pop concert, play with an orchestra, sing with a choir, and tap along to the radio.



2011 Honors Concert

IPSF and St. Joseph Hospital present the 29th Annual Donald Bren Honors Concert featuring the students of Irvine Unified.

Each year, third graders from three different schools are chosen and invited to participate in the Honors Concert held at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. If your school was invited to participate in this year’s concert, you can find all the details on your schools individual page.

In case you missed last years concert, here’s a video we found on YouTube posted by Ron Burnette.


My child only sings low tones. How do I help?

Singing is both a natural and learned behavior.   Everyone is born with the ability to sing, yet, singing is a skill that has to be nurtured.

We have four ways to use our voices: Singing, Speaking, Shouting, Whispering.  When we speak, we use the lower range of our voices and children often carry those low tones into their singing voices.  However, singing involves an extended range of tones both above and below typical speech.  In music class we play games and explore sounds to help get use our full singing range and to differentiate from our shouting and speaking voices.  Here are some the exercises we use in class (it’s really fun to try out at home as well!):

  • Make sirens from high to low like a firetruck.
  • Be a cat and make high “meows.”
  • Be an owl that says “hoo.”  First be an daddy owl with a low voice.  Then be a mommy owl with a high voice.
  • Use an instrument like a slide whistle to listen to and identify high and low sounds.
  • Remind your child that singing “higher” is not necessarily singing louder.  Sing lightly, don’t shout.

If you need a little laugh, you can hear a clip from our Kindergarten/First grade lesson on high and low sounds.

“All children can and should learn to sing.” Jean Ashworth Bartle, Sound Advice