Children in America have the right to become the best that they can be. This means that public education has the duty of providing quality education and programs for children of all levels and abilities.
In the past, educators seemed to “teach to the average.” It was hoped that the slower children would catch up, and the brighter children would just wait for the others. There has been a public outcry on the needs of learning-disabled students and, fortunately, many programs and teachers have been provided for these special needs students.
Until quite recently, the gifted or high potential child has tended to be ignored. These children also need and deserve opportunities to reach their potential. Most school districts have now provided funding and programs to meet the needs of these special children, but the amount or level of their commitment greatly varies from district to district. School District #622 provides a variety of programs for high potential and gifted elementary students, but nothing was available for those students whose special abilities or talents were in music.
The purpose of this project was to provide an enriched music experience for fourth and fifth-grade high potential music students. Over the fourteen week period that encompassed this study, each group met once a week before school for a 45-minute music session. The 34 students involved in the project were divided into two groups of 17 students each. Lessons were taught using the Orff Schulwerk approach.
The students were given an interest survey at the start of the project and a final survey at the close of the project. The final survey was to determine what the students had gained from the experience. The specific results of these surveys appear in this paper.
Overall, the students involved in this project made gains in perceived musical abilities, such as singing and improvisational skills. They developed more confidence in themselves as musicians and had an enjoyable experience while creatively making music.