Music programs hit new note

Students Matthew Booth and Kendra Degner practice on keyboards for the new piano lab program.

In Muscatine, Saints Mary and Mathias’ music department has expanded its band program this year to include fourth-grade students.

Previously, only the fifth-grade students were allowed to be part of the band. In a survey, parents were unanimous in their acceptance of band in fourth grade. The increase in students has increased profits from the band’s fruit sale, the annual fundraiser. Musical instruments are purchased each year for the school with the funds raised.

Third, fourth and fifth-grade students will begin participating in a new piano program this spring. Jean Mengel, Saints Mary and Mathias’ music and band teacher, will instruct the students in beginning piano during their regular music classes. Mengel, who has a master’s degree in piano, has been envisioning this program for three years.

Keyboards have been purchased through donations and the fourth and fifth-grade band’s annual fruit sale. Right now there are enough keyboards for partners to share. Mengel hopes to add a keyboard or two each year. Eventually, piano instruction will be given to all grades: kindergarten through fifth grade.


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