A Supervisor’s Perspective: The Alternative to Textbooks

by Abby @ Quaver on July 24, 2012

in At Quaver HQ,In the Quaver Classroom!

Welcome to the Quaver Blog Sheena Newman, Music Teacher & Elementary Supervisor of Bradley County Schools in Cleveland, TN. 

Take it away, Sheena:

“Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Music has been a part of my life from my earliest childhood memories.


My father sang on the Grand Ole Opry and played in a band with his brothers.  My mother’s family opened the rich world of gospel music to me.   I can still remember attending all night singings at the Convention Center in South Bend, Indiana.   Music has always moved me, but even greater than hearing wonderful music was being able to make music.  Some of my most precious memories are of my family playing music and singing together.  This love for music has carried over into my professional life as a teacher, principal, and now as an elementary supervisor.

My desire is for all children to have the opportunity to experience and actively engage in music.

Last year music teachers in Bradley County participated in professional development on incorporating critical thinking and the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy into music instruction.

As a result, this year our music teachers made a monumental decision and chose to move away from textbooks in order to achieve a more well-rounded learning experience.   

After presenting our request to the school board and gaining approval, the fun began.

Each music teacher was given $6,000 to spend on musical instruments for students and performance equipment (MP3 players, keyboards, etc.).  In order to be able to manage the order and receive the largest discount we could, we decided it would be best to combine all of our orders.  We decided which companies we would use after carefully checking on the quality of instruments and putting our order out for bid to find the best prices.  By combining the orders we were able to receive substantial discounts, and in some cases even received free shipping, allowing us to purchase more than we ever dreamed.  In addition to the purchase of instruments, we were able to secure two supplemental teaching resources along with training for our teachers for less than the cost of new music books.

You cannot begin to imagine the excitement when a semi-truck full of drums and other instruments arrived at the central office.

Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music was one of the programs purchased for each of our schools.  With Quaver in our schools:

  • We are able to offer a technology component to the students which they have not previously had in music.
  • Teachers love that the students can make music at home, not just at school!
  • They can also involve their families in their musical experiences.

Quaver takes music and makes it entertaining for students, drawing them in with wit and humor, but carefully and systematically reinforcing important musical concepts in a way that is very intentional.   

The result is a dynamic, interactive supplemental resource for teachers to use in music instruction.

Our teachers just completed the training provided by Quaver Music and are elated with the program.  It truly is a “wow” program for students that is entertaining and engaging. During the training, teachers were made aware of ways to connect learning across the curriculum. Our hope is that by connecting music to other subjects, such as reading and math, the students will be encouraged to think critically. The quality of the training provided was very impressive and teachers enjoyed every minute.  The Quaver team’s customer service was also outstanding.

Through the innovation of Quaver’s Wonderful World of Music and being able to put musical instruments in the hands of our students, music will now come alive for our children. 

Thanks to the efforts of dedicated teachers willing to step outside the box, our children will be able to go beyond seeing and hearing to active engagement in creating music. Children will be taken to a whole different level of learning.  The instruments that were purchased will provide students the opportunity to immediately apply the concepts learned in music class.

Quaver Music has helped us reach our goal of giving every child the opportunity to actively experience and engage in music, “the universal language of mankind.”


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason Humberd July 25, 2012 at 11:02 am

Bradley County is blessed to have all the resources that have been made available to them to teach music. My wife teaches music in another county and she has never had any textbooks, and she has limited instruments and equipment. Most of the equipment she has is from her own pocket. I think it is amazing that Bradley County has allotted this program and finances to each music teacher. Music is often taken for granted in other counties. Some, due to financial difficulties, have done away with it. It saddens me. Many studies have shown that music helps students retain information. I have experimented with that in my own classroom and wrote a thesis on using such entertainment as music, movement, and various forms of technology as a classroom teaching tool. Studies have shown that students who learn to play an instrument have higher test scores and higher IQ’s and simply do better in school. When combined with subjects for which students will be tested, music truly sticks with students as they are pondering over how to answer the question that lays before them. They may ask, “What is a subject pronoun?”, and then reflect back on the song they learned in the classroom or music classroom, and the answer is there before them, within the database of their mind, serving as the simplest form of retention, but recalled to accurately answer the question. Hats off to you, Bradley County, for upholding music as an important class…..because it is!


2 Abby @ Quaver July 25, 2012 at 11:10 am

We agree Jason, and would love to hear more about your research! Thanks for your support of music education!


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