Mastering the Art of the Lip Sync

I’ve said it before, Gretchen Wessel is the “best damn music teacher in the land.” A model for all art educators, not just music teachers. She has grown her program to be a vital and integral part of Colonial Hills Elementary School culture. Without the events she produces, the school wouldn’t be nearly as interesting a place for students to spend seven years of their lives. She brings purpose to their days, teaches them the value of hard work and commitment, and helps them mark the passage of time with annual traditions like the 6th grade Lip Sync.

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I don’t know the history of this event, but I know that it is something Rosa has been talking about being a part of since she was in kindergarten. It isn’t a superficial way of integrating kids’ culture into the school day. Gretchen has woven the lip sync into her curriculum. It’s not just a fun time, it’s learning time. Students submit song requests based on a defined set of criteria. They collaborate to choreograph their acts and come up with their costumes. I haven’t seen how she fits this in with what she is “supposed” to be teaching or any state learning standards, but I’m sure she’s meeting quite a few.

As a parent who feels herself growing older and more out of touch by the day, I enjoyed this opportunity to sample some of the music Rosa and her friends are gaga over at the moment. Now I can say I know about the YouTube sensations The Chickeneers and Ylvis.

Lots of schools host lip syncs. But I can’t find evidence of others that incorporate it into their music programs this way. Would make a great research project for an enterprising music education major…

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3 thoughts on “Mastering the Art of the Lip Sync

  1. One meets many teachers in a lifetime, then one meets Gretchen Wessel. At Colonial Hills, there is an annual lip synch show. Kids pick their song, practice for weeks, then perform it as a group and just *ROCK OUT.* Axel Rose? What Does The Fox Say? The Beatles? Talk about kids LIVING OUT their bathroom shower concerts.. LIVE and walking away feeling like a ROCK STAR. Gretchen makes it happen.

    Colonial Hills students will always have a “shave and a haircut (two bits) secret code” because Gretchen strums her guitar on the hallways, singing to kids like the female Pied Piper to .. “hello everybody and how do you do…I’m Ms. Wessel and I am your friend. Shave and a haircut (two bits!)” … like Maria from Sound of Music, ‘cept better.

    I am lucky. My children are fortunate to be in her class. Thank you Gretchen for doing what you do!

  2. Pingback: Everything’s Illuminated | Over the Fence Urban Farm

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