A closer look inside FAA class

Students find a way to learn more about music
Students in FAA class practicing with music note sequences.
Students in FAA class practicing with music note sequences.
Emily Johnson

Every day, students come to Fine Arts Aide class (FFA) ready to learn and participate in activities that help them understand music better. The teacher of the class, Mr. Claussen, plans a variety of activities for the students each day. Most days start with warm-up activities like breathing to music, marching to music, or conducting to music. These activities are meant to establish a routine for the students so that they know what to expect each time they come to class.

Jenna Jay practicing music note sequences in FAA class. (Emily Johnson)

The students get to use a variety of instruments during class like drums, bells, sand blocks, shakers, and boomwackers. No matter the instrument, the students learn how to follow rhythms and beats with them. The students who may have trouble with class activities are assisted by student helpers. “It’s really fun getting to know the students and helping them out,” Estefania Montalvo said.

Students in the class also do other activities, such as creating their own music sequences with music notes. They have learned 4 different kinds of notes so far that they get to arrange into a music sequence. Once the pattern is created, it’s up to the student helpers to help them clap it out.

Student helpers not only help the other students, but they occasionally lead the class with their own activities. Every few weeks they are assigned an activity they must plan for the students to participate in. The activity has to be from 5 to 10 minutes long and be enjoyable for both the students and other student helpers. “It’s an opportunity to get creative and create a lesson plan that is both fun and informative for the students,” Logan Lee said.

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