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Saving music by injecting it across the curriculum: Grades K-8.

With many small districts eliminating music programs altogether as they tighten belts and adopt curricula that focus more and more on prepping students for standardized assessments, Candace Costa has helped pioneer a noteworthy way to sustain music instruction, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Costa, the lone fine arts teacher in the five-school, 2,200-student Robla Elementary School District in rural central California, figures out innovative ways to inject music across the curriculum as she wheels her cart of instruments to nearly 60 different classes in the system each week.

She has written more than 40 songs and chants that support lessons in subjects including language arts, social studies and math. A favorite with first graders is "Harry Hound Dog," tailored for young ESL students to work on their h's and g's.

"We feel it's part of the total project of raising test scores, and at the same time, it instills the enrichment and love of music," said Charles Pryor, the superintendent who championed the program.

Added Costa, "Music is a very powerful learning modality. When you learn something with music, it stays with you forever."

Of course, the teacher would love to have more time to focus on musical concepts. But in an area where a nearby district recently laid off 11 music teachers and killed its program to address a funding shortfall, she'll take what she can get--which includes leading after-school choir lessons sponsored by the Sacramento Choral Society and Orchestra.

"This is the best possible situation at this point in time," Costa said. "It really has to do with the facts of life in a small district with a tight budget."

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Title Annotation:music education
Publication:Curriculum Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Feb 1, 2006
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