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4th & 5th Grade Visual and Performing Arts Music Program

All 4th & 5th Grade students will participate in Band, Orchestra (Strings) or Choir weekly. Being part of a musical group promotes leadership and teamwork. Most of all, we have fun! Music classes are provided by the San Diego Unified School District VAPA instructors for fourth and fifth grade students. Classes meet once a week on Tuesday, during the school day.

Students are taught basic fundamentals such as: music notation, pitch and rhythmic concepts, music appreciation; as well as performance skills on their instrument of choice. The class is taught by a team of three teachers who travel as a group from school to school. Each week the music teachers simultaneously teach the students who are enrolled in one of three choices: Band, Choir or Orchestra.

Meet our Instructors:

Harmon Tipton is the 2011 David Paul Schuchman award winner for outstanding instrumental music teacher and the 2012 Teacher of the Year for VAPA. He began by playing jazz bass in high school and then studying guitar in college, but ultimately earned a BA in composition and an MA in musicology before earning a teaching credential all at SDSU. He is a singer and songwriter who also has a great interest in American music of all types doing his Master's Thesis on American music and the American political-economy. Harmon also plays baritone with and occasionally conducts the Pomerado Community Band. This is his 15th year with VAPA teaching elementary instrumental music and he has also taught at the middle school and high school level. Harmon was the manager of the SDUSD Elementary Honor Band for 10 years. htipton@sandi.net

Mark Nadeau began playing clarinet at the age of 8 and continued throughout high school and college, eventually graduating from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education. He is currently in his 29th year of teaching in the SDUSD, where he spent the first 11 years teaching middle school. He received the Visual and Performing Arts Department Site Teacher Of The Year Award for 2004-2005, and again in 2013-2014, the David Paul Schuchman Elementary Music Director of the Year Award 2004 -2005, and was District Teacher Of The Year Semi-finalist for San Diego Unified School District 2004 -2005. He was named Elementary Music Specialist of the Year by the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Southern Border Section (U.S./Mexico Border to Orange County) for 2006-2007, and the Illuminating Culture Award for 2013-2014. He looks forward to an enjoyable year teaching at your school. mnadeau@sandi.net

Sandra Stram has been teaching strings in the local public schools (all levels) since 1987, building string programs in Sweetwater Union High School District, and working in Poway and now S.D. Unified school district.

She has been the director of the Sweetwater District Orchestra and Civic Youth Primary Orchestra, and also orchestra director at the Sweetwater and Arrowbear summer music camps. In 2006 she was selected to direct the honor elementary orchestra, and received the David Paul Schuchman award for outstanding instrumental music teacher for 2005-06. She recently directed the honor orchestra again in 2017.She is also a judge for SCSBOA, and has taken her elementary strings students to festival each year where they are the youngest participants (and they earn superior ratings.) She has also judged for MENC and Forum Festivals. Ms. Stram is a specialist in early string instrument performance, with a masters degree in viola da gamba performance, and she has also worked as the conductor of the SDUSD Jr. Recorder Festival for many years. She is a member of the Renaissance group "Courtly Noyse" and Kensington Baroque orchestra. She also plays fiddle with the bands "the Swamp Critters," "Fiddle Cats" and "The Wild Oats." sstram@sandi.net

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