farmingdale Mush Program Lauded in Publication
Farmingdale Public Schools
mftsic program was described
in an article entitled '' Sonata
For Two Clarinets. StudentCom-posers
Take Over" by Harold
W. Arberg and Charles S. Carle-ton
in the February issue of
' American Education', a publication
by the United States Department
of Health, Education
The article begins, by describing
a program in McMinnville,
Oregon stating that Professor
Harold Hill, Meredith Wilson's
mythical Music Man was lucky
he got off tho train at River
City, Iowa. If he'd gotten off
in Oregon, the market for music
instruments is glutted.
The article continues " Across
the continent from McMinnville,
in a sprawling commuter land,
is Farmingdale, LA whose
public school system is endowed
with 12,700 students and 35 music
teachers under the con brio direction
of Herbert Alper, district
supervisor of music.
Alper doesn't call his approach
the " Think System," ( the revolutionary
method espoused by
Professor Hill where notes were
things that weren't bothered
with). The program he started
in 1963, he says, was " an outgrowth
of exploratory sessions in
music learning conducted at the
Bennington Summer Institute for
High School Music Teachers at
Bennington College." Sharp observers
of the musical scene,
however, note a striking similarity
to Professor Hill's novel
( Continued from Page 7)
cannot postpone these programs.
The children entrusted to our
care are here now and pass
through our school buildings just
once. They do not get a second
This is one example of the educational
need demanding that the
State and the local school board
face today's responsibilities
today. There a re other programs
which cannot be postponed- there
are curricula revisions to be
made- new techniques employed!
Like Hill, Alper doesn'tbother
with notes. At least, not in the
early grades. He and his staff
have become convinced that
teaching children the formal
symbolism of musical notation
before they get some personal
musical insight will just turn
them off - either ruin music
for them or badly distort it.
So the children are taught to
concentrate in the concepts of
sound. They listen. Then, as
they progress they invent their
own notational systems, making
it possible for other students
to perform their musical ideas.
Eventually, as the students' musical
concepts develop and in -
crease in sophistication, Alper
introduces formal notation. After
the youngsters have a
foundation in music, die learning
of dotted eighth notes becomes
a relatively easy task.
But the students at Farming-dale
do much more than listen.
Underlying Alper's variation of
the " Think System" and, for
that matter, his entire program
at Farmingdale is his conviction
that, as he puts it, " While the
heritage of musical literature
is one band in the total spectrum
of music, it is not the
primary nature of the art. More
important is the view of Aaron
Cope land, who has stated, " Music
is in a continual state of b e coming."
Activities are therefore designed
to involve students in composing,
performing, and judging-and
judging in terms not of
" right" or " wrong", but, rather,
" it works" or " It doesn't
In the early grades, study focuses
on rhythm, dynamics, and
timbre, so that the children can
discover the expressive potential
of sound and perform themselves.
They use all sorts of sound-producing
devices- bottles, metal
rods and pipes, pieces of wood,
as well as regular instruments.
Grades one and two have a
half- hour period of music each
week. Grades three through six
have two 40- minute periods a
week. Seventh r and eighth grade
students are on a block schedule
with one period of music each
day for 13 weeks. High school
music classes are elective and
meet five days a week; students
may select classes in music
theory, appreciation, or performance.
Alper's program is now going
into its fourth year, and a l ready
the constant exposure to
composition and expression has
produced considerable musical
sophistication in students by the
time they get to high school.
Compositions in the music theory
class, for instance, range from
17th century counterpoint to 12-
tone technique; and creative jazz
work is regarded with the same
seriousness as, say, a composition
for brass quartet.
An absolute necessity to the
program is that all music written
by the students be performed.
This often involves the cooperation
of instrumental classes.
Alper has conducted three in-service
courses for his teachers,
who work on the same system
but at a higher level than
that of the students they will
teach. He feels that no teacher
can use this creative approach
effectively in the classroom
without personal experience
in the musical process.
" The program", says Alper,
" i s in a state of constant growth,
constant development, and constant
refinement. Even as this
new level of involvement in music
has excited the students, it has
excited the musicians and educators
in our system. We find
that the students have a new interest
in music, that their own
discovery of musical meaning,
achieved through their creative
efforts, is the greatest motivation
for continued learning."
PTA Slates Smorgasbord Dinner
The Massapequa High School
Parent Teachers A ssociation will
sponsor a Mother and Daughter
Smorgasbord Dinner on Wednesday.
Munch l i t , at 7: 30 p. m. at
Ziegie's R e s t a u r a n t , Massapequa.
Tickets priced at
$ 3.50 may be obtained by calling
Mrs. Grandt at PY 8- 1658.
We will meet our responsibility
- levying a property tax for this
purpose. In making your decision
as to where the priorities lie-we
would like to share with you
the promise of fulfillment which
could be sensed in Farmingdale
several months ago in one small
class for disadvantaged youngsters.
The parents of these
children were involved in a small
fund raising project. When completed
it was suggested that the
proceeds be used to buy a sorely
needed article of clothing for
each child. The parents r e -
RESERVED SEAT PRESENTATION
jected this suggestion and voted
unanimously to use the money
to purchase a book for each child.
While we understand your
problems we feel that the future
of our communities and our state
depends upon adequate support
for educational progress.
We cannot stand still. Therefore
we urge that the state aid
ceiling be increased to $ 726. and
dot there be a needed size correction
as recommended - by
so doing we can together continue
to meet the increasing costs of
^ DJNNER THEATER
Civil Air Patrol cadets of the Farmingdale flight, Nassau Composite
Squadron V, view a photo of the late Lt. Colonel Edward H.
White 11, NASA Astronaut, taken during his space walk. Left to
right: Eugene Kempey, Jerry Lanni and Peter Schleichkom.
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795 CONKUN STREET FARMINGDALE
Page 10 Farmingdale OBSERVER Thursday, February 16, 1967
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