Filed Under:

Jazz In The Cafeteria: Kids Learn To Listen While They Chomp

Play associated audio

School lunch is often synonymous with loud noise. Studies have shown the decibel level in some cafeterias is as high as a lawn mower.

Every so often, though, students at Alice Terry Elementary School, southwest of Denver, are asked not to make any noise.

When the music teacher told students here they'd occasionally have a "silent" lunch break, this was kindergartner Alyssa Norquette's reaction: "Why do we need a silent lunch? Is it because we're too loud or something?"

That is the reason there's a growing movement nationally to have silent lunches. But that's not music teacher Ami Hall's reason. She knew students here didn't have a lot of exposure to live instruments, so she started asking musicians to come in at lunch.

"When you give the kids a chance to hear something that is outside of their range, it allows them to be curious," she says, "and if they're curious, they're better learners in every subject."

Students soon were hearing a shiny gold saxophone played by Harold Rapp, a local musician. The kids were entranced. As Hall had theorized, being quiet at lunch allowed them to think about what they were hearing.

"It calms me down, and it makes my heart beat slow instead of fast," second-grader Edson Jimenez says.

Rapp strolls up and down the cafeteria rows, delighting the students.

"I was thinking about when I first saw him, he looked so handsome," kindergartner Megan Olsen says.

When the saxophonist kicks it up a notch, first-grader Alan Vasquez says he just wants to dance. The upbeat music made other kids want to play their own instruments.

As Rapp plays an ascending scale, all the little hands in Alice Terry Elementary rise higher and higher, high above the crumbs on their plates.

Copyright 2013 Colorado Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.cpr.org.

NPR

In 'Rams,' Two Icelandic Brothers Tend Troubles Of Flock And Family

Gummi and Kiddi are two sheep-herding brothers who've spent a lifetime butting heads near the top of the world. When a disease threatens their flocks, they must overcome decades of estrangement.
NPR

Beer And Snack Pairings: A Super Bowl Game Everyone Can Win

Which beer goes with guacamole? How can a brew complement spicy wings? Two craft beer experts share their favorite pairings and help us take our Super Bowl snack game to the next level.
NPR

Tourists Flock To New Hampshire For Front Row Seat To Presidential Politics

NPR's Robert Siegel reports on people who are not involved in presidential campaigns traveling to New Hampshire to observe the action surrounding the primary. There are families trying to give their kids a civics lesson, couples trying to see presidential politics up close, and groups of students who serve as interns for campaigns as part of their studies.
NPR

OK, Google, Where Did I Put My Thinking Cap?

It can be too easy for students to Google an assignment before they stop to think about it. Some researchers say we're losing our critical thinking and memory skills by relying on the search bar.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.