Creativity in music class allowed BPES students to continue learning through COVID

Mary Rasefske teaches music at Broadalbin-Perth Elementary School and has a wide variety of musical instruments that students typically use during class including ukuleles, tambourines, xylophones, boomwhackers, drums, recorders and more.

three images show instruments in a classroom, including a xylophone, drums and ukeleles

This year’s COVID-19 pandemic altered the way that children were able to interact and learn in music class. Added safety and disinfecting protocols meant that sharing instruments was sometimes not a realistic option, but Rasefske came up with a creative solution that emphasized safety in the classroom and still allowed students to learn about music and even create music of their own. 

a young female student with blonde hair wearing a face mask and pink t-shirt holds up a plastic ziploc back that holds her makeshift musical instrumentsThe district’s youngest learners in K-2 use personal music kits so that they don’t have to share instruments with their classmates or worry about disinfecting in between each use.  Kits are kept in plastic ziploc bags with each child’s name on it. Inside, there are several different tools that the students can use during music class. 

Paper plates sound just like drums when you use chopsticks on them — plastic eggs filled with beans make for an excellent maraca — cut up pool noodles kind of sound like sandpaper when you rub them against each other — and keyrings with small bells on them sound just like sleigh bells.

images of students using their personalized music kits

“This year brought a lot of challenges our way,” Rasefske said. “With an interactive activity like music, we had to find creative ways to teach them content, while prioritizing everyone’s safety. The music kits ended up being a great solution and the kids definitely enjoyed personalizing their kits by decorating some of the ‘instruments’ inside.”

a woman with short dark hair, glasses and a face mask shows students how to use pool noodles as a musical instrument students use chopsticks on paper plates to simulate playing the drums

a woman sitting down teaches her students musical concepts

a boy with a grey shirt and black face mask shows his music kit a young girl wearing a face mask uses a pointer to help explain music class rules