New music program gets funding for expansion in Sarasota County School District

Little Kids Rock Gets Expansion

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - While many schools around the country are making cuts to music classes, the Sarasota County School District is expanding theirs.

It’s music to the ears of teachers who were just given a grant by the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation to expand a new program called “Modern Band.” The funding will help implement Modern Band into nearly 30 of the 42 traditional public schools in the District.

On Thursday morning, the tune of Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” could be heard from Ms. Alyssa Hunek’s music room at Brentwood Elementary School.

Her students were singing a parody to the song with new lyrics that helped them study for science.

“I did a parody to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” and I did it to ‘Science of Sound.’ So [the lyrics are] “How’s sound made? We know that it vibrates," sang Hunek. "So they were learning for their science test while they were implementing a modern band song in their classroom.”

Modern Band is a program offered by an organization called Little Kids Rock. The newly implemented lesson plan provides everything the music teachers need to teach the students how to play their favorite, modern songs, including the instruments!

“It gets them really excited about learning. So I really love using the program," she added.

This includes drums, keyboards, a ukulele for every student and more.

“Music is a way for me to connect spiritually, it’s a way for me to connect emotionally, it’s just, it’s basically just everything for me," said Ms. Hunek.

It’s a passion that might become everything for Ms. Hunek’s students, too.

“My top priority in life is to be a singer," said 10-year-old Piper Lashua.

Lashua said she’s using this class as training.

“I feel happy and overwhelmed because it’s really fun and it gets me hyped,” said Lashua.

Music is a new way to express those feelings and a fun break from reading and writing, but for some, it’s even more than that. The Title One schools may have low income students, but this one is rich in culture.

“They will learn those note names and those half notes and treble clefs," said Angela Harvtigsen, fine arts program specialist with the Sarasota County School District. "We’d like for students to feel like music is something that they can come back to throughout their life and with a guitar, you can be very quiet and by yourself and come to that music. We want students to have music as a lifelong support for them.”

Harvtigsen said they hope to continue to expand the program to additional schools in the District, too.

For more information about Little Kids Rock, click here.

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