Classroom Music (Elementary Schools)
Students in grades K-5 are offered classroom music on a weekly basis. All students are introduced to the musical concepts of beat, rhythm, melody, timbre and harmony. As with learning any language, students acquire a vocabulary of rhythm and melody patterns, giving them the building blocks of musical proficiency. As proficiency develops, students are introduced to musical notation and begin to build musical literacy.
Singing is the basis of music learning at all levels, and a wide range of percussion instruments and manipulatives such as scarves, ribbons, parachutes and beanbags are also put to use to demonstrate musical concepts and ensemble play. Anne Vaaler models her K-2 lessons on the “Music Together” model, a nationally recognized early-childhood music program in which she is certified. Singing games, rhythmic chants, echo play, percussion instruments and dance are some of the tools Ms. Vaaler uses to develop musical proficiency. Grades 3-5 work in a more traditional large ensemble setting, covering music from around the world, basic notation and music reading, singing in harmony, the science of music, musical instrument families and performance skills.
Anne Vaaler - District Choir Teacher
Anne Vaaler has been directing choirs since she first lined up her dolls, bears and younger siblings and told them to “watch me!” Her original plan, to sing with an opera company in Europe, kept getting sidelined by teaching opportunities until it became clear that ‘home’ was in front of young singers, with her back to the audience. It has been a happy change of paths, and as a teacher she gets many chances to perform with her students! Anne has directed choirs and taught music for the San Francisco Children’s Chorus; the San Francisco Conservatory of Music; the San Lorenzo Unified School District; the San Francisco Unified School District, particularly George Washington High School where she directed a choral program of seven ensembles, as well as serving as music director for two theatrical productions each year; and now serves the Pleasant Ridge United School District in Grass Valley, directing four award-winning choirs at Magnolia Intermediate School and teaching general music at all three elementary schools. Like many music teachers, she instructs over 1,000 children every week.
Anne received her B.A. in music from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa where she was fortunate enough to sing in the premier Nordic Choir and work under the direction of choral directors Weston Noble and Craig Arnold. She continued her studies at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco State University, completing her teaching credential in music. She is a certified “Music Together” teacher and is a member of MENC-CMEA and ACDA. She has been awarded the California League of Teachers “Outstanding Educator” award, and was honored by San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown for her work with the George Washington High School choirs. She has served as a clinician and adjudicator for numerous choral and solo/ensemble festivals, and was part of a People-to-People delegation of music teachers to China in 1998.