Spotlights
Putting the “Fun” in Fundamentals
12/09/10

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Warren Elementary School instrumental music teacher Alex Mueller works on developing the beginning fifth grade band and orchestra students’ fundamentals on their instruments. 

“It is very important to take the time in the beginning of the year to really stress basic fundamentals so that students can gain more independence in reading and performing music as the year goes on,” Mr. Mueller said. 

These fundamentals include proper playing position (how to accurately hold the instrument), developing a correct embouchure (how the mouth forms around the mouthpiece), breathing and articulating properly, developing fingering technique, coordinating the bow with the string instruments and learning to read musical notation and translating note reading to individual instrument performance. 

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Mr. Mueller explains that teaching fundamentals can be a challenge as students can quickly create poor habits on their instruments which can be hard to change once they happen. 

As band and orchestra students at Warren Elementary and across Baltimore County Public Schools begin preparing for their winter concert, Mr. Mueller says he will continue to stress these fundamentals through the music the students will be performing. 

Baltimore County Public Schools has been named one of the nation’s “Best Communities for Music Education” by the NAMM Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing active participation in music making, in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010.

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