ABS Thursday Notes- December 10, 2015

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                         December 10, 2015




How We Do It and Why

By Mary Siebert
A Well-Tempered Mind demonstrates that by working together, we can make a difference in our children’s lives and replace cultural bankruptcy with a full pocket of good music.  Lord knows we need it.”—Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center

“This book should persuade parents and administrators to give education in music its deserved high priority in the schools under their care.” —Walter J. Freeman, M.D., professor of Neuroscience and Molecular & Cellular Biology, UC Berkeley


Five adult musicians perch on teensy first grade chairs, gleaming instruments at their lips. A crisscross-legged group of first-graders gathers curiously on the carpet.  There is a nod, a collective deep breath, and a glorious burst of music. Little eyes grow wide and round, little mouths drop open. Wiggles become statues, leaning forward. One little girl turns to stare at me, flushed with delight, as if to say “Can you believe this miracle?” then she quickly turns back. When the music stops, the children sit in bewildered, delighted silence for a moment. The classroom teacher begins the applause, children join in. The smiling musicians introduce themselves and their instruments, and ask the children for comparisons. “What is the same about these instruments? What is different? Which one plays the lowest?” (Demonstrations follow.) The children learn that small instruments play higher than large instruments, just as little dogs have high barks and big dogs have low barks. It is the first day of “Quintet” in the 1st Grade.

The Quintet has worked with ABS students every year, since we opened our doors in 2002. They will visit first grade classrooms eight times before winter break, linking their performances with the first grade academic curriculum. The work of this distinguished group of professional musicians is chronicled in A Well-Tempered Mind, a book (available on-line on Amazon and from the University of Chicago Press,) by Peter Perret. Maestro Perret is Conductor Emeritus of the Winston-Salem Symphony, former ABS band director, and one of the founders of our school. He was inspired to create the “Bolton Quintet” after reading of experiments in neuroscience which produced evidence that active listening to music helps develop cognitive abilities in children. With five instrumentalists from the W-S Symphony, he designed a cleverly crafted curriculum that links with reading, comprehension, story structure, science, and math. Mr. Perret worked with Dr. Frank Wood, professor of Neuropsychology at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, to develop and test the Quintet program. ABS participated in the study, which was shown to cause significant improvement in emerging readers, reflected on standardized test scores.

One of the hallmarks of the group is that they perform right in the classroom; not in a concert hall. The children grow to regard these musicians (and their instruments) as friends. Music is selected and prepared with meticulous care, including everything from Mozart to the Pink Panther; all performed just a few feet away from 1st graders’ ears. We are honored and delighted to host the Quintet again this year.


Band and Chorus Concerts Next Wednesday!

All 6th – 8th grade band and chorus students will perform next Wednesday, December 16th at Brendle Recital Hall on the Wake Forest University campus, at 1834 Wake Forest Road. We are very excited to perform in this distinguished venue! Students should be in place by 6:30. (Parking can be puzzling for first-timers, so please plan accordingly.) The concert begins at 7:00, and will last under one hour. For more information and a map to the location, contact either Ms. Hayes at chayes@artsbasedschool.com  or Ms. Cooper at acooper@artsbasedschool.com


New Horizons Band and ABS parent jazz ensembles visit ABS

Next week we welcome several performances of fun, live music: jazzy holiday and wintery songs by an ABS parent group of musicians during morning reception at each building (MLK on the 17th, 7th Street on the 18th) and a concert by New Horizons Band, conducted by Peter Perret, at 12:55 in the ABS back space for K-4 students. Music everywhere!




ABS Spelling Bee

We will be holding our annual spelling bee for third through eighth grade students on Friday, January 8th. The top three winners from each classroom will participate in the school wide event.   Winners will proceed to the Regional Spelling Bee.


Happy Holidays

The holidays can be perplexing for American educators. The North Carolina Standard Course of Study (guidelines for what children should be taught at each grade level) specifies only first grade as a time for focusing on celebrated holidays and special days in communities, while nearly every other grade is expected only to discuss historical figures and practices associated with diverse holidays.  We respect the religious and cultural backgrounds of every student.

Holiday decorations are not used indiscriminately in the classroom or about the school; though they may be used as part of a focused study. We do encourage fun in learning and discovering.  We decorate our walls all year with the brilliant creations of our students. We often incorporate delicious receptions into our art openings and performances. We join together singing songs of peace and understanding. Thank you for supporting us in making every child feel included in the delights of learning together.


High School Information Night

Save the Date-January 6, 2016

Lead counselors from several local high schools will be on campus to participate in a high school information night. The meeting will include information about course selection and registration as well as time for questions and answers with individual counselors. Parents of 7th and 8thgrade students are invited to attend on Wednesday, January 6 at 6pm in the 7th St. building.


Garden Work Day

Saturday, December 12   9:00 to 1:00

Join your fellow ABS families for our last garden work day of 2015. We have more planting to do, plus a lot of fall tasks…..pruning, clearing out dead plants, mulching, weeding.

RSVP to Matt Mayers: mlmayers@gmail.com or 723-7189




Parent Council Meeting December 11

The meeting is Friday morning from 8:15 to 9:15 in the teacher resource room of the MLK Building. The agenda is attached to today’s Thursday Notes.


Volunteers Needed for ABS Fundraiser at Mast General Store

Volunteers are needed for the Mast General Store gift-wrapping fundraiser to benefit ABS. Vounteers will wrap gifts at the store on Friday, December 11 and Sunday, December 13. We’re using VolunteerSpot (the leading online signup and reminder tool) to organize volunteers to wrap gifts in shifts.
Here’s how it works in 3 easy steps:
1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot: http://vols.pt/daZ8Ms
2. Enter your email address: (You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)
3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders. Easy!

Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact Emily Ball and she will sign you up manually (emilynball@gmail.com).