“For over a decade, Quaver and I have grown – together!”
By Kristin Clark Taylor
From Textbooks to Technology
Haley S. Houston is a marvelous music teacher — and she could also be described as a pilot (kind of).
Ten years ago, she served as the pilot teacher who would bring QuaverMusic to her area.
This marvelous music teacher at Mt. Laurel Elementary in Birmingham, Alabama remembers her first days with Quaver like it was yesterday.
“Quaver was the first on-line curriculum I’d ever experienced,” she recalls in wonder.
“It was so new and different! No one had really seen anything like it. We were breaking ground in all kinds of different ways!” she adds with more than a little pride and excitement.
“Suddenly, my class went from learning about music in text books to being able to experience the music and the songs in a way that was colorful, exciting, interactive, and engaging.”
The memories seem to infuse her with energy and enthusiasm.
“Quaver made music come to life for all of us,” she says. “We moved from textbooks to technology and everything seemed to change.”
As the years passed, Haley recalls how the continued growth and enrichment of this innovative curriculum helped ensure her own growth and enrichment as a teacher.
“As I grew and as my students grew, Quaver grew right along with us,” she says.
Singing and Sustainability
“There’s always lots of singing and learning going on in my classroom,” she says. “But what’s really great is that I hear my students singing outside of the classroom, too! These Quaver songs have a way of sticking with you!”
Which songs do the most sticking? Haley Houston has a happy – and very quick – response:
“’Steady Beat’ is a definite favorite, especially with my kindergartners. They’ll come up to me in the hallway singing it! Sometimes they’re even dancing around. When you think about it, music itself has a steady beat – and enduring beat – just like the song says!”
She digs a little deeper on the topic of sustainability.
She knows a thing or two about the topic, given that she teaches kindergarten to fifth grade: Many of her little ones end up returning to her classroom when they’re older, so she is able to closely track their growth and their learning patterns over time.
“When they come back to me in the higher grades, they still remember the Quaver songs they learned in kindergarten,” she says. “This is knowledge that endures,” she says, “and it will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”
The Light of Learning
Haley’s ten-year journey with Quaver affords her an expansive, full-circle perspective — and the fact that she’s remained at the same school throughout the course of her decade-long trajectory offers even more unique insights.
“From the moment I brought Quaver into my classroom, I saw a shift in the way my students learned … and this was because there was a shift in the way I was able to teach music,” she says.
“For a student to be able to go to the smartboard and interact with music and learning by touching a screen is still cutting-edge. Being able to guide them in how to actually compose their own music onscreen and answer questions in front of the class, for instance, by touching the answer on-screen is still amazing,” she says.
“When this kind of learning happens, I see the light come on.”
The “light” to which she refers is obvious enough: It is, of course, the light of learning, and this light grew even brighter during a recent visit to Quaver’s Nashville headquarters …
Perry the Sheep, a Telephone Booth, and a visit to Quaver
During the visit, “We got into the Quaver phone both, we saw Perry the Sheep, and we saw the studio. Most important, we met the people at Quaver, and every one of them was fantastic!”
“My two daughters joined me on that visit, and they were in awe the entire time. So was I!”
“I first met the Quaver staff at the Alabama Music Educators Conference a decade ago,” she says.
“Around that time was when I was asked to become a pilot teacher. Now Shelby County Schools have adopted the curriculum for all elementary music teachers, and I’m proud to have played an important role in that decision. Now, we all have Quaver as a resource … which is the way it should be.”
“The people are Quaver have the heart of music education at the forefront of their minds, and they’re committed to making learning fun — not just for the kids but for the teachers as well. It’s been way more exciting to teach music since Quaver came into my life ten years ago.”
Kristin Clark Taylor is an author and a journalist.
For more information on QuaverEd, go to www.quavered.com.