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Orchestra teacher Ginny Atherton has taught at Wilshire Crest since 2012.

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With degrees from SUNY/Fredonia and USC/Thornton School of Music, she has dedicated her life to orchestral and chamber music performance and pedagogy. A flutist by profession, Ms. Atherton is intrigued by all of the instruments and plays each of those she teaches at Wilshire Crest.

Recalling her own early days learning instruments, she hopes each of her students will become fascinated with both music-making and playing an instrument.

Ms. Atherton has presented conference sessions for the National Flute Association and the California Association of Professional Music Teachers (MTNA) as well as for her colleagues in the Arts Education Branch of LAUSD.

Former students may be found in mariachi, rock and jazz bands, and in community orchestras. Some have become composers, arts administrators, and even a highly celebrated performer/professor.
 

Music

 

The Arts Education Branch of LAUSD provides credentialed educators in various arts disciplines to elementary schools. Music is recognized as a "core" subject. (See Plato!)

 

Wilshire Crest has enjoyed orchestra classes for many years. More than exposure to music, instrumental music invites and rewards full engagement at home between weekly classes during the school day.

 

Excited by the possibility of making music on an orchestral instrument (flute, clarinet, cornet, trombone, percussion, violin or ‘cello), students depend on the support of their families and classroom teachers. After the first flush of success, students often discover that to reach the next level may take more effort than they expected. Particularly, students used to easy academic success experience unfamiliar challenges when learning to play an instrument! Thus, our “contract” is for the entire school year…please don’t let your child give up!

 

Musicianship includes developing physical technique on the chosen instrument, listening (aural) and music reading (literacy) skills. Creative projects often emerge from unique interests of the enrolled students.  Playing together develops musical community we call “ensemble.” Simple ensembles might involve first creating convincing unison (one voice) and move to duets.

 

Instrumental students apply mathematical, geometric and physical concepts. They observe and analyze musical form. Musical literacy includes reading and writing musical symbols and notation, and making connections between musical language and the more familiar poems, sentences, paragraphs, spelling, word origin and syntax. 

 

Yes, daily homework (practice and written work) is expected!

 

Students bring instruments, assigned books and a pencil to each class. The most important time to practice is the day of the class, perhaps showing a parent what was new or reinforced at school that day. Throughout the year, playing the first pages as “warm-ups” and review, sometimes with new skills applied to those first notes/tones, is highly recommended.  Students will be shown how to extract challenging motifs (small patterns), and how to discern satisfaction (or not) with their execution of the motif.  Playing melodies in reverse develops nimble reading skills and prepares students to understand the compositional technique of “retrograde.”