By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Day camp participants learned to keep the beat and beat the heat inside the air-conditioned comfort of Inter-City Baptist School last week as they let their inner musician flourish.
“Lights, Action, Music,” held its second annual summer day camp for elementary age children July 27 to 31 at Inter-City Baptist School, 4700 Allen Road.
Kindergarten through third-graders met from 9 to 11 a.m., while fourth- through sixth-graders met from 1 to 3 p.m.
ICB music teacher Deanna Wells said she designed the camp to help children develop a life-long love of music.
“It’s a very fun and energetic camp where they come back with excitement for music each day,” Wells said.
She said she structured the camp so the children grasp the concept they are working on while having fun.
Singing, and playing percussive Orff instruments are a key component of the day camp, she said.
The Orff approach to musical education breaks down an activity into its simplest form, and creates a play-like atmosphere for children, while they learn in a group, without pressure or judgment, and are encouraged to enjoy making music individually and with others.
She said using xylophones — with wooden keys — and glockenspiels — with metal keys — is an essential way to teach children rhythm, note-training, and ear-training, and how to play with a group.
The children also learn to create music using different rhythm patterns, often using percussive instruments, she said.
The week culminates with a performance for the parents.
Wells said that music helps students learn better in other school subjects.
“Music is actually involved in everything,” Wells said. “Music helps with your math learning, of counting note rhythms and everything like that. It helps with their reading, because they have to read their words when they learn songs.
“I also teach them the states and capitals in a song, so they get used to that kind of memorization, and it helps so much with their memory. Their brain just learns to function in a different way through music, and that’s huge for them.”
Volunteer Sandra Thoune said that because she knows the benefits music will provide for them later on, she enjoys seeing the children become so enthusiastic about music.
Students’ math and science score improve when they are exposed to music, Thoune said.
“It’s a proven fact that they do better with group settings, their ability to work with others,” Thoune said.
Marissa Peterson, 11, of Belleville, a second year participant, said she likes making music with her friends, and the group activities with the percussive Orff instruments appeal to her.
“It’s fun, and when you just put it all together, it all sounds really nice,” Peterson said. “When you have them just separately, they don’t sound as good.”
Griffin Golden, 9, of Dearborn, who likes singing and is learning to play guitar, said music can cheer people up. He likes that the camp teaches drum and xylophone basics, and they play games and learn songs.
Sebastian Sherf, 9, of Allen Park, said the camp’s music focus will help him become a better cellist.
Ryan Elwart, 9, of Allen Park, said he likes learning different rhythms using the camp’s percussion instruments.
Preparing for the end of the week parent performance is exciting for Breanna Fressel, 10, of Allen Park, who sings, plays the piano and likes to perform.
Trying different instruments and learning their sounds appeals to Lauren Elwart, 10, of Allen Park.
“This is a really great camp that anybody at any level could catch on, or just learn more,” Elwart said. “And it’s really fun.”
The fun factor also makes it easier to learn things, like rhythm patterns, said Rory Brown, 10, of Dearborn.
“You can learn notes and music, and then you can make music, too, and share it with other people,” Brown said.
Sharing music with others, especially performing, appeals to Claire Harrison, 10, of Allen Park, who said she also likes being able to perform with her friends.
Harrison said some music can make her feel peaceful, and other music excited.
“I love spending time with my friends, and learning new music with them,” Harrison said.
Volunteer Brooke Myles, 14, of Woodhaven said she likes working with the children and learning the techniques that help them learn more about music.
Volunteer Madison Peterson, 13, of Belleville said she also likes teaching.
“Music is a really big part of my life, and it’s just great to watch the kids grow and be able to help them,” Peterson said.
Thoune said she enjoys seeing the children’s faces light up with smiles.
“Music brings joy,” Thoune said. “They don’t even realize that they are learning because they are having so much fun with the way the music’s being presented.”
“I just love seeing their faces and how happy they are when they are enjoying music,” Wells said. “They could use it to help someone, or encourage someone through music.”