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Second-graders learn about music instruments, science

Cary Ashby • Nov 14, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The second-grade students in Debbie Elmer’s class danced in their seats as music educator Jody Chaffee hit the cymbal with a drum stick.

They also boogied when the the Greenwich woman shook an Easter egg containing uncooked macaroni and a Pringles can with rice.

Chaffee, the community engagement director for the Firelands Symphony Orchestra, said the goal of the Science of the Symphony program is to show second-graders how sound works and the way sound is produced. 

For about the last five years, Geotrac Foundation has provided a grant so Chaffee can teach science, reading, math and related rhythm studies in multiple schools in Huron and Erie counties. 

“They actually gave me additional money to go to Bellevue,” she said.

In Huron County, Chaffee teaches programs in Norwalk City Schools, Norwalk Catholic School/St. Paul High School, Monroeville, New London, South Central, Western Reserve and now Bellevue.

At Pleasant Elementary, Chaffee taught students how to produce notes and sounds on brass, woodwind and string instruments and percussion. She also provided similar lessons on homemade percussion instruments, such as “playing” rubber bands stretched over the hole in an empty Cheerios box.

Isaiah Kelsey, who turned 8 Monday, said what he enjoyed learning was that “the faster the air goes, the higher the note.” Of the instruments that Chaffee showed his class, the son of Joe and Hannah Sutton said his favorite was the flute.

To show the students how different amounts of water in glasses changes the pitch, Chaffee tapped the side of each glass with a metal spoon. She used the three glasses to play “Mary had a Little Lamb.”

“My favorite thing was adding the water,” said Lily Jones, the daughter of Tommy Jones, Alison Lute and her stepfather, Andrew Hey.

The favorite thing she learned was how a bow is made of horse hair. The 7-year-old girl’s favorite instrument she saw Monday was the viola because she said “it plays the pretty, pretty music.” 

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