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Beaver Dam fourth-graders get a chance to learn to play the violin

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Fourth-grade students in Beaver Dam elementary schools are getting the chance to learn how to play the violin.

Dawn Gaylord, district music teacher, has been traveling around to elementary schools to help children feel more comfortable with the instrument.

BD students learn to play the violin

Washington Elementary School fourth-grader Ruby Meisel watches as music instructor Dawn Gaylord tightens the strings on her violin. Fourth-grade students in Beaver Dam elementary schools are getting the chance to learn how to play the violin in hopes that it piques their interest in joining music programs over the next couple of years. 

“This is an attempt to build up interest in our fifth grade music program, our orchestra and band programs in fifth grade,” Gaylord said. “The purpose of this little club is to introduce the kids to instruments that they did not have outside of their music classes.”

The violin is part of the orchestra program in fifth grade, Gaylord said. The district had a similar program for fourth-graders in the past, but the students would start the fourth grade program and would not go on to the fifth grade program.

“We are finding when our students start in fifth grade that the rate of the students continuing on into sixth grade, when the classes are in the day, are significantly higher than going from fourth to fifth grade,” Gaylord said. “This is kind of a replacement of that full fourth grade program with the intent of it being easier to access during recess or right after school.”

The district does own quite a few violins, so that seemed to be the perfect instrument for the students to start using, Gaylord.

“The idea is to have them to have what it is like to be part of one of those ensembles,” Gaylord said.

Each school has a six-week session.

“It’s just enough time to get the kids excited about something new and spark that interest,” Gaylord said.

The students learn basic instrument handling and care, how to hold the instrument and basic tone production, Gaylord said. By the end of the six weeks, the students will be able to play “Hot Cross Buns.”

Gaylord is still at Washington Elementary School and has already seen students at Prairie View Elementary. Students at Lincoln, Jefferson and Wilson schools still have an opportunity to take the course.

Gaylord said she sends out forms and parents can sign up their children that way. She can take up to 15 students at each school.

Follow Terri Pederson on Twitter @tlp53916 or contact her at 920-356-6760.

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