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This year Music In Schools Today piloted our Nature of Music progam at El Dorado Elementary in San Francisco. Thanks to a $5,000 grant from the Jack Johnson Foundation, we brought twenty students an after-school program that involved work in El Dorado’s garden, doing simple experiments, and learning songs about nature.
Children grew plants, learned about plant anatomy and their life cycle, from the birth of a seed to a plant's ultimate decomposition. In addition, children learned to play drums and xylophones. It all culminated in a performance at the end of the 10-week course. The garden thus became a laboratory for children to understand the relationship between music and ecology.
Curriculum development began in 2000 and continued over a two-year period at Tule Elk Children's Center in collaboration with the Exploratorium in San Francisco. This year music educator Yari Mander and garden educator Joti Shephi further developed and finalized the Nature of Music curriculum. In future years, they will learn to do mapping and hold community concerts in the Music Garden.