Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District

Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District News Article

IMD's 'Kiddie Concerts' Encourage Elementary Students To Play Musical Instruments

May 23, 2024 -- After watching a mini concert by Heights High's band and orchestra members, a Fairfax 4th grader was inspired to pick her cello back up again. 

“I was so bad at bowing in the beginning that I quit,” she said after the performance. “But now I want to try again.”

A classmate who transferred to the district midway through the year was likewise inspired to pick up an instrument when she begins 5th grade. 

And a group of 3rd graders eagerly wondered when they’d be old enough to start playing. The answer is the very next school year, as all district 4th and 5th graders have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument at school through once a week lessons. 

“That’s exactly the point” of these Kiddie Concerts, said Heights High orchestra director Dan Heim. “The goal is to demonstrate how cool it is to play a musical instrument and encourage our eligible elementary students to keep or start playing.” 

It also serves as a bit of a reunion tour for the high schoolers who are returning to their elementary buildings and often reconnecting with classroom and music teachers. A whirlwind schedule that included all seven elementary schools in two days was a logistical challenge that proved well worth it in the end. 

Scheduling around high school Advanced Placement exams, an early Prom, playoff games, and senior projects, plus elementary school field trips, testing, and musical concerts of their own, was no mean feat. “The elementary principals are extremely helpful in targeting solutions that work,” said Mr. Heim, adding an extra “BIG shout-out to the Transportation Department – best dispatchers and bus drivers anywhere!”

The concerts were performed for each school’s 3rd through 5th graders and included high school musicians introducing their instrument and why they recommend it to the younger students. As senior Sophie Muller, who played with the Fairfax orchestra, explained, “All the best music is written for the violin and we always get to be the star of the show.”

Senior Julian Grim, who started on the violin at Gearity before switching to the double bass, described his instrument as “a lot of fun. You get to be the rhythm for the orchestra.” The high schoolers rotated through the sections, from string to high brass and then low brass, introducing each instrument and playing a mini solo.

Then the fun began, as the members of the Heights High Symphony and Symphonic Winds played songs from popular movies for the elementary students to identify. “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid was the most recognizable for these members of Generation Alpha, who struggled with songs from both Aladdin and Star Wars (instantly recognizable to the teachers in the room). 

As the parent of a high school senior reflecting on her son’s first musical performance long ago said, “During that first elementary school concert, I never imagined that Julian would experience the success he has through his music and that he would return to the school all these years later to perform as a member of the high school orchestra. For the kids who were inspired by Julian and his bandmates today, I hope they find the same joy in music that he has.”

As Director Heim said, “That was exactly the point.”

imd kiddie concerts
imd kiddie concerts
imd kiddie concerts

Print This Article
View text-based website