Streetsboro teacher helps write music book for teachers

by Alison Stewart | staff writer Published:

Streetsboro -- BethAnn Hepburn, a Streetsboro music teacher at Henry Defer Intermediate School, recently co-wrote a book that focuses on helping children in kindergarten through second grade learn music.

It is titled, "Purposeful Pathways. Possibilities for the Elementary Music Classroom."

This book is the first of a three-part series, according to Hepburn.

"The lessons can also help with language arts," said Hepburn. "The rhythmic pattern of words in the lessons can help children with reading."

Hepburn attends conferences in which she presents her lesson plans.

"On the weekends, I do workshops, and people sometimes suggest I write a book because they said the lessons I present are so practical," said Hepburn.

MIE Publications asked her to compile her lessons into a book for teachers to use in the classroom.

When asked to write this book, Hepburn replied, "I'll only work with one person, Roger Sams."

Sams was one of her teacher trainers for her graduate program.

"I studied with him in graduate school," she said. "It was nice to write the book together because he is such a great teacher and is still teaching locally."

The book is a collection of music lessons with a variety of options available to teachers, as well as notes on instruction, according to the book's introduction, written by Hepburn and Sams.

"The possibilities in this book can be selected and shaped to work effectively in diverse situations," states the introduction. "The teacher chooses which pathways will be explored and in what sequence they will be used."

The book's not intended to be the sole resource for music teachers; it doesn't include things like holiday or patriotic songs. But it does provide a painstakingly organized sequence of lessons based on how students' musical skills develop, according to the introduction, said Hepburn.

"It's really adaptable to teachers in different situations," she said. "In other resources, things can be very scripted."

One of the ways in which the book is adaptable is in choosing techniques from three different schools of music instruction, Orff-Schulwerk, Kodály and Dalcroze Eurythmics.

"It's the first book openly blending all three philosophies," she said.

As a result, a variety of different types of students learn about music in a variety of ways.

"The students will experience music through singing movement, speaking, playing games and instrumental performance," according to the introduction. "Ultimately, the students create new works of art that embody their conceptual understanding, label their learning with new vocabulary and simultaneously develop music skills."

There also is a CD that goes along with the book.

"There are slides that go along with each lesson, so the students have a visual aid for what they are learning," said Hepburn.

A former student, Holly Walton, helped design the slides which are used with white board.

"She did things with the Smartboard I didn't even know the Smartboard could do," said Hepburn.

People can purchase the book and CD in some music teacher catalogs, as well as on Amazon. The book can be purchased for $79.95 and the CD for $20, according to Hepburn.

"This is my first book, but I have a few articles in some journals," said Hepburn.

"One of the most exciting things about writing this book was that it made me overthink how I was teaching," she said. "I wanted to come up with the best examples I could, which ultimately benefits my students."

Email: astewart@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9419 ext 4163

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