Quaver Makes Marvelous Music in Oregon

Here’s How One Extraordinary Teacher is Making Joyful Sounds

By Kristin Clark Taylor

Joy, Joy Everywhere!

Whenever he talks about using Quaver in his classroom, Jon Janakes is just joyful and jubilant. 

That’s a whole lot of j-words, because, well, that’s a whole lot of joy – and joy is definitely what Jon spreads when he reflects on his love of the curriculum. 

“This is my fourth year using Quaver, and throughout those years, I really have seen the joy it’s brought my students,” Jon says, ahem, joyfully.

The elementary music teacher from White City, Oregon goes on to describe the various ways this cutting-edge curriculum brings a joyful noise into his classroom each and every day. Let’s listen in:  

“There’s Something for Everyone”

“What I love most about Quaver is how many different tools there are to use. There’s something for everyone. The songs and lessons bring value to all of my students, no matter what grade I’m teaching,” he says.

Janakes is grateful that this awesome and amazing resource allows him to meet his students – all of them, at every age – wherever they are. That the lessons are both customizable and engaging is a win-win for everyone.

“Recently, I’ve been using some of the kindergarten lessons to start preparing my pre-schoolers,” he says. 

“The song ‘Steady Beat’ is a real favorite with my younger ones. We’ll listen to the lessons, sing the song, and do the dance motions, then sometimes I’ll change the beat so that they have to quickly transition from fast to slow. It’s great to see them learning these important musical concepts and having fun at the same time.”

Janakes says “Steady Beat” is a favorite with everybody—especially his pre-schoolers: “They love to dance to it!”

The joy spreads from grade to grade. 

“The recorder lessons are a huge hit with some of my older students,” Jon says. “The rhythm-building tools that you see in the beginning of the lessons are very helpful. ‘The Recorder Shuffle’ is one that everyone just loves!”

He stops for a moment to share something that makes him smile. 

“I use Quaver regularly in my classroom,” he says, “but we also use it when we’re performing concerts, which carries a whole new level of excitement!”

I listen to Jon as he speaks. You can just hear the smile in his voice as he describes the collective pride everyone feels when they perform Quaver songs before an audience. 

“We recently performed a concert using Quaver songs,” he remembers, “and every face was just beaming!”

For a time, he explains, he was in charge of another school’s band program along with the general music curriculum. He thinks back to a concert where they pulled all the grades together to perform. The result, he says, was magical. 

“At that concert, everybody’s talent was on display! The kindergartners and the 1st and 2nd-graders were dancing and singing Quaver songs like ‘Adventure Away,’ ‘Ants in our Pants,’ and ‘Argentina.’

But the multi-grade music extravaganza didn’t stop there.

“We also had the 3rd and 4th’-graders performing ‘The Recorder Shuffle,’ and ‘Hot Cross Buns.’ The middle-schoolers played the songs on their instruments. Everybody had a role, and everybody was so proud to play.  There was something special for everyone.”

The Ultimate Joy: Expressing Gratitude

Jon Janakes is joyful about Quaver, yes – but he’s grateful for it as well. 

Gratitude is a theme (and an emotion) that seems to keep rising to the surface — not just in his conversation, but in his classroom. 

There is one Quaver song in particular that holds special meaning to him and to his students. He describes a special concert they performed that was near and dear to everyone’s heart.

“We’d pulled together all of the grade levels to perform a special concert to express gratitude to everyone in the community,” Jon remembers. “We wanted to say a special thank-you to our parents, to our parents who are first-responders, police officers, firefighters, teachers — basically, we wanted to express gratitude to everyone who made a positive difference.”

There was a very special song they performed at the end of the concert. 

“’Thanks to You’ touched every heart in room,” he says. “That song was just a great way to express our gratitude and love to everyone, and that’s why we performed it at the very end.”

Says Jon: “This was the perfect song to perform because it allowed us to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who makes a difference.”

These are the themes that Quaver is all about – joy and gratitude, both. 

Just ask Jon Janakes.

He’ll tell you.

Kristin Clark Taylor is an author and a journalist.


For more information on QuaverEd, go to www.quavered.com.

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