Band students at the Jerry Zucker Middle School in North Charleston, SC had quite the set-list scheduled for this semester. Band teacher Mark Romano planned a concert for the community where the student musicians played songs that involved tunes with sounds from birds and nature, using their instruments to create the sounds actually heard in the wild using themed sheet music.
“I want my students to be able to understand how to make music and the importance of using their instruments to create nature sounds,” Mr. Romano told us. Students visited the school garden and orchard at least once a month, keeping a log of what they saw, heard and felt. They did the same for the music they practiced for the concert to see how the two converge. You can see some of the garden and orchard, as well as the outdoor classroom, in these photos of students listening for birds!
Mr. Romano also showied his students some classical examples of animal sounds in music as part of his curriculum, like Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony #6 and Hayden’s Bird Quartet. As the band performs the piece, the band teacher prompted the audience, comprised of parents, staff, community members, and other students at the middle school, to picture what nature scene the music brings to their mind. After the concert, he took interested audience-members to the school garden and gave them a chance to celebrate and listen to what they hear as they thought about the music that was performed.