Welcome to Mr. Nate's Elementary Program


Nate Ginsberg — Elementary Music Specialist

My goal as an elementary music instructor is to establish a solid foundation for music that will continue into middle school. As I have grown as a mentor in music, I have found that guiding students to successfully progress into a middle school program is my most important job. This is paramount since I found the most fundamental and essential motivational learning period comes from the pre-teen and teen years (10 -16). It’s my goal to do this in a fun, enthusiastic and engaging manner as well.

Lower Elementary

In my lower elementary program, I emphasize singing, movement, imagination, cooperation and respect through content derived from the Orff-Schulwerk Method, music textbooks and Classic American folksongs and fingerplays, based on the California State Elementary Music Standards. I’ve also created my own festive activities that celebrate holidays and culture in a genuine way that both give meaning to the celebration and incorporate musical fundamentals.

Upper Elementary

The upper elementary recorder program is designed to give every participating student a basic fundamental background in reading and processing music symbols, so that if and when the opportunity presents itself, the student will be able to perform that skill — usually in middle school band or chorus. To accomplish this aim, I encourage a regular practice regimen including outlining practice discipline and conduct, and, a semester practice calendar that supports regular recorder practice and allows the student to log his progress and view his practice efforts.

To support live student performances I record age and content appropriate songs in the correct children’s vocal key, to maximize their vocal music education in a performance setting. I can, as a professional musician, add a polished variety to the finished sing-along recordings, so they sound like a complete orchestra. As a choral director, I teach the students the basics of watching the director’s hands and expressions to convey vocal technique needed for correct choral singing.

Many educators feel that playing music provides many benefits beyond simply the knowledge or skill of playing a musical instrument. Research suggests that a focused musical curriculum can enhance intelligence and academic achievement, build self-esteem and improve discipline. A relationship between music and the strengthening of math, reading, creative thinking and visual arts skills has also been reported in research papers. It’s my feeling students should also learn a musical instrument just for the joy of playing music. All these benefits will last well beyond the students’ tenure in higher education.

My 30+ years experience in music study and performance, my love for children and my familiarity with the culturally diverse Bay Area give me a unique perspective on teaching children. It’s an opportunity I truly love.

Elementary Program Goals, Curriculum and Benefits

Goals:

  1. Make music fun, engaging, challenging and interesting with enjoyable activities
  2. Prepare the students for a lifetime of enjoying/playing music — either as a pastime or engaged actively in making music. 
  3. Provide the students with the tools/skills to play and perform in middle school band or chorus

What do students learn and how are they taught?

K — 2nd

  1. Processing/learning singing games, fingerplays, body percussion and dancing for fluidity
  2. Teach singing technique
    1. Breath support, posture, pronunciation, expressivity
  3. Introduction to different types of Musical instruments

For younger children I use the classic circle method when introducing games and songs. I include all the children in the class.

3rd — 5th

  1. Music/Recorder fundamentals
    1. Melody/Harmony/Rhythm
    2. Music symbols, notes, language of music
    3. Recorder technique and care

Older elementary are usually taught at their desks. I utilize worksheets and music board games frequently to reinforce concepts taught.

The curriculum content Mr. Nate’s utilizes is based on the California State Music Standards with recommendations from the National Association of Music Educators.

I also use material based on the International Orff - Schulwerk Method of Music Instruction, having attended the Orff Mills College courses and many Orff Music Teacher Seminars.

Performance shows happen three times a year — Halloween Show, (including poems), a Holiday Show in December and a Spring Show in April/May.

How does learning music assist students with other academic areas?

 Many studies have been done to support the theory that music helps a child develop the brain; School subjects that benefit include math, (counting notes and rests etc.) science and reading (reading the code -language of music).  Other benefits from learning music are more about intelligence — spatial-temporal reasoning skills, sequencing, and high cognitive competence scores. Social and other skills are included as well — discipline, cooperation, listening, coordination, memory and muscle memory — not to mention positive self-perception, healthy self-esteem, and a bigger interest in school involvement as a whole.