BV music teacher praises students

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Benjamin Winn is happy to be teaching music at Berryville Intermediate School.

"I'm amazed at how passionate kids are here," Winn said.

Winn, who started teaching at Berryville this past year, explained that each grade in the intermediate school must perform a piece for the public. The fourth grade class performed a five-minute song at the school's Veterans Day assembly, and the third grade class presented "Twas the Night Before Christmas" two weeks ago.

The fifth grade class will perform "Winterfest" at 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 17. Winn said this performance is the biggest so far, noting how it will help the students prepare for upper level music classes.

"The program is designed to kind of get them in the mindset of what's coming up when they go to middle school," Winn said.

The students will perform four songs; according to Winn, they have been working on the performance since early October.

"They work very hard in music class. They work their tails off in rehearsals, and I'm excited for the public to see it," Winn said, adding that fourth-grade students will be performing a musical in the spring.

The best part of music class, Winn said, is that it gives students a chance to express themselves. Winn described how the students can play a five-minute game at the end of each class period if they've behaved well, saying they pay even more attention if they know a reward awaits.

"Simple games let them relax and be kids. I think it's really cool that I get to come work where kids are that excited about music," Winn said.

The students are also dedicated to their teachers, Winn said. He recalled being part of the Magnolia Village apartment fire in October, explaining how his students supported him during that time. The community, he said, was just as supportive.

"In that little interim when I did not have an apartment, the school district took care of me. That was something I did not expect," Winn said. "I don't think I would have gotten that experience anywhere else."

Winn graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2014 and went on to teach music and choir at Greenland. He taught all ages there, remarking how much more enthusiastic intermediate school students are compared with older students.

"Their excitement about the program is more obvious. They tend to let things go and have a lot more fun rather than thinking about all the small stuff," Winn said.

The students are performing well, Winn said, but it's not all because of his instruction.

"I can't take all the credit. They worked on a song that was about five minutes long for a month and a half before they performed it," Winn said. "It's all them."

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