Earlier this year, Pine Beach Elementary School received an artist residency grant valued at $1,500 from New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association and its Foundation for Educational Administration (NJPSA-FEA), a grant program sponsored by the George H. and Estelle M. Sands Foundation. After months of planning and preparation, the unique arts-integration project is taking off.
Through EcoSound, Pine Beach students K-5 are using recyclable materials to create instruments of various design. Lessons not only teach music, but the science of sound; the impact of recycled materials on the environment; and the cultural significance of certain materials and musical techniques. Pine Beach students are using their imaginations and creativity to design their instruments for functionality and to self-express, all the while learning broader curricular content.
Melanie Shantz is the artist in residence, and she has been working with Pine Beach music teacher Gregory Warren on developing and implementing a series of fun EcoSound activities. Last week, for example, students created harmonicas with popsicle sticks and rubber bands, water bottle maracas, and paper towel trumpets.
Pine Beach will host a school-wide culminating EcoSound student concert to celebrate the project in February. This past summer, the school was the site of the NJDOE grant-funded Make Art a Part (MAP) Learning Project, and Pine Beach is gaining well-deserved recognition as a district hub of arts-integration.