Teacher teaches students music

Third grade students at Pisgah Elementary brightened the day with a performance of a story from the land of the rising sun. This Japanese folk-tale, titled “The Boy Who Drew Cats,” tells the story of a young child of farmers who is sent off to be a priest, but has a difficult time because of his love of drawing cats on every surface he can find. The play for Mr. Peter Wilbur’s music class is a “soundscape” performance where students create various sound effects and tonal elements through instrumentation.

“Creating a soundscape is part of the third grade curriculum,” said Mr. Wilbur. “But that is rather broad, so I thought, ‘let’s incorporate it with what they’re learning about Asia right now and create a soundscape to a story.’”

The production is a small play to be performed for the student’s families. A handful of students play the part of the cat-drawing boy, his parents, and townspeople, while the rest use various instruments to create sounds. Examples include scratching on drums to make the sound of drawing, xylophones for the pitter-patter of kitty feet, piano for a loud crescendo, or the triangle for the sound of the wind. 

students at drums

“It allows students to turn their music learning experience inside-out,” said Mr. Wilbur. “Instead of learning what instrument makes what sound, they’re taking a sound and learning how to create it with an instrument, or with their voice.” 

This sort of creative learning experience happens in our art classrooms every day, brought by exceptional arts teachers. Learn more about BCS music and other art programs.