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Ready Springs gets music program

Anonymous benefactors have pledged $10,000 this year to help Ready Springs Union School form a musical program. For a school that has no trombones, sheet music or batons, this is big.

Thanks to the gift, students in all grades will be exposed to music education for at least half an hour each week, including music appreciation, theory, and instruction in choral and instrumental music.

The donation, given by parents of a Ready Springs student and announced late last week, already has new Principal Susan Pastorini thinking ahead.



It is, in effect, seed money that Pastorini hopes to grow with future donations from the Penn Valley community.

“We’d like to educate the whole child,” she said. “We would like the art, the music, the theater. I’d like to see a full-blown program.” Pastorini has even volunteered to teach choral music.




Details are still being worked out. Students in kindergarten will be learning rhythm patterns, and fourth- through sixth-graders will be learning to play the recorder. Students in seventh and eighth grade will most likely take music appreciation lessons. They may even sing a little.

“I don’t like to tell kids what they can’t do because they always do more than I can expect,” said teacher Siobhan Markee, who taught a music class at Ready Springs a few years ago.

Markee runs a music class for toddlers and infants and has spent time teaching Nevada County instructors how to teach music.

They just haven’t had many opportunities recently, Markee said.

“Ever since Proposition 13, we’re producing teachers in the schools who don’t feel comfortable supplementing their curriculum with music,” she said.

Proposition 13, passed by California voters in 1978, placed caps on property taxes, limiting school districts’ major revenue source.

“I honestly believe our culture is better for having music in it,” she said.

The plans are embryonic now, which doesn’t bother the principals involved.

“We’re going to have to make this big now, because we want it to stay,” Pastorini said.


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