By Laura Giammattei
GLENWOOD CITY – The Glenwood City Elementary School music program received a grant of $3,000 for the purchase of new ukuleles.
Currently, four 35-year-old ukuleles sit on a shelf of Angela Hierlmeier’s elementary school classroom.
“The kids always see the ukuleles on the shelf and ask when they will get to play them,” says Hierlmeier, “but I can’t have just four out of 35 students play.”
Hierlmeier nominated her class for the monthly “Schools Rule” program through WEAU requesting $3,000 in Box Tops for Education, courtesy of General Mills. The grant will add 35 new ukuleles to her classroom, one for each student.
“A ukulele is a great instrument for younger students to learn and play,” Hierlmeier said. “Some instruments like a guitar can be too big for their hands and it also has six strings versus the ukulele’s four,” Hierlmeier stated.
“I want to give them as many opportunities for success as possible and the earlier these kids have success with instruments, the more likely it is that they will continue playing or exploring other instruments as they grow up,” she said.
Not only does music provide a creative outlet for students, it has also proven to assist in success in academics.
“There is a significant amount of research out there that shows that if students show an interest in music and have a positive music background as children, it helps them academically across the board,” explains Glenwood City Elementary School Principal Betsy Haltinner.
Hierlmeier elaborates that there are many studies that have shown that composing, creating and being engaged in music directly correlates to kids doing well in other subjects, especially math.
“Music is the only activity that stimulates both the left and right sides of the brain simultaneously,” she explains. “Math and music are related because those that compose music are also writing mathematical equations to create that music and rhythm.”
“I have also noticed that students who are involved in both music and band tend to be very bright students who do extremely well academically.”
Hierlmeier says the box top money will flow in this fall and the school plans to purchase the ukuleles this upcoming September.