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National music group names Elon a 'chapter of excellence'

The National Association for Music Education recognized its Elon University members for their contributions to the "It Takes a Village" Project reading program.

Elon University music education students volunteer with the "Music in the Village" initiative, part of a broader effort to help young children from the community strengthen their reading skills.

The National Association for Music Education has honored its Elon University affiliate with a Chapter of Excellence award for a program that exposes young children to song and musical instruments as part of a larger effort to improve their reading abilities.

Under the guidance of Associate Professor Gerald Knight, the “Music in the Village” component of the “It Takes a Village” Project includes a spring campus concert for children and their parents to perform the music they’ve learned in recent months.

Music education students assist Knight with the program, which also was honored in November by the North Carolina Music Educators Association.

“As always, thank you all for your leadership of the future music educators on your campuses,” Susan Lambert, manager of the national association’s Collegiate Advocacy Special Projects office, wrote in a letter to Knight. “The strength and quality of your guidance shines brightly in the projects that we received this year, and no doubt will follow your students throughout their careers.”

The Elon chapter will receive a subscription to the association’s “Learning Network” professional development webinar series and archives. It also will be named in the April issue of Teaching Music magazine and in the June issue of Music Educators Journal.

"'Music in the Village' has been a rewarding experience for the students and parents who come to the village and for the music students and faculty who have the privilege of working with them," Knight said. "The process of making music and performing has the ability to profoundly transform lives and we are committed to impacting the lives of the bright, eager and talented participants in the village. To be recognized by the National Association for Music Education is a tremendous honor that gives us a sense of accomplishment. However, it also reminds us of the immense value in being strongly connected to the community, the worth of our efforts to make a difference, and the work that still remains to be done."

Local children from the Elon community learn guitar, chorus, piano and drums during Elon's "Music in the Village" Sunday program.

"Music in the Village" provides opportunities for Elon’s music education majors to develop their teaching abilities, as well as for K-12 students in the Burlington and Alamance County community to learn about music through opportunities on campus they may not have otherwise encountered.

It is the newest addition to the broader "It Takes A Village" Project started five years ago to help local children who struggle as they learn to read in school. Known simply as "The Village Project," the larger program pairs young struggling readers and their parents with Elon students enrolled in a reading methods course for education majors. The college students meet once a week throughout much of the semester with the children and their parents.

"'Music in the Village' has been rewarding for our students and families in the Village but it has also been beneficial for our Elon music education students," said Associate Professor Jean Rattigan-Rohr, director of the Center for Access and Success at Elon University and founder of the “It Takes a Village” Project. "Every Sunday evening it is great to see how excited our students and their families are to begin the music component of the Village, whether they are singing or playing an instrument. But as I go from room to room I also cannot help but notice the commitment and dedication of the Elon music students.

“I am delighted for the awards they have received for the project and eagerly look forward to where 'Music in the Village' goes from here.”

Eric Townsend,
Staff
3/6/2014 10:05 AM