Omaha Performing Arts' "Musical Explorers" program expands to 2000 students

Posted at 12:19 PM, Oct 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-12 13:42:34-04

Singing, dancing, it's not just part of elementary school music class.

This is part of a larger curriculum.

Last year, kindergarten, first and second grade students from three Omaha public schools Harrison, Walnut Hill, and Gilder Elementary was part of the pilot for the musical explorers program.

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It is developed by Carnegie Hall Program.

It was brought to Omaha Schools by Omaha Performing Arts and is a semester of work.

It starts with teachers learning songs and dances, getting curriculum and recordings. Then they teach them to the kids.

This leads to a concert in the spring, featuring music from local artists.

New schools have signed on for the expansion this year, from 600 to 2000 students,

The national endowment of the arts is partially funding the musical explorers program.

They've also added three new artists and music genres.

In additional to develop listening and singing skills, students get "edu-tained".

We've worked with the Nebraska Department of Education to make sure that all of the lessons have some kind of a tie in to state standards,” said Kathleen Houstad with the Omaha Performing Arts.

It’s a variety of curriculum.

“We touched on science, social studies. It fit into our reading and writing, art. It was so cross curricular. We included math. We hit everything,” said Tara Wilcox.

Shanna Whitney of Carnegie Hall explains the program.

"We all learn in different ways, we give them movement, we let them draw in the curriculum, we let them draw and it gives a buy in for every type of learner,” she said.

Schools can register for the program online now. Teachers will begin teaching musical explorers in the classroom beginning in February 2017. 

For more information on the program, click here.