Mon01262015

Schools

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions

MVLA revisits prospect of ninth-grade PE exemptions


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote on a proposal to exempt ninth-grade student-athletes from taking PE. Students take part in a physical education class at Mount...

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Community

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF

Midnight Express offers late-night rides from SF


From Midnight Express Instagram
A group of millennial-aged Santas celebrating a night on the town prepare for a safe ride from San Francisco to their South Bay homes, courtesy of Cory Althoff’s new Midnight Express shuttle.

It’s no understatemen...

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Comment

More open than ever: Editorial

One of the Los Altos City Council’s objectives for 2015 is implementing an open-government policy. The title of the policy may be somewhat misleading, because it’s not as if the city has had a closed-government policy. But the new proposal goes beyon...

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Business

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine

Cassidy Turley, DTZ plan to combine


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Cassidy Turley, which has offices at 339 S. San Antonio Road, is combining with DTZ following its recent acquisition.

Commercial real estate services companies DTZ and Cassidy Turley have joined forces to operate as a sin...

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Books

Gawande's

Gawande's "Being Mortal" proves an important book on aging


Books about death and dying are usually not on my list of “must reads.”

I couldn’t resist, however, the best-selling “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End” (Metropolitan Books, 2014) by Atul Gawande.

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People

JUDY HOFFMANN

JUDY HOFFMANN

Judy Hoffmann passed away unexpectedly October 17, 2014 in New York City. It was only fitting Judy would be traveling and enjoying special adventures in so many different places until the very end.

Judy has lived since 1969 in Los Altos with her h...

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Travel

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill

Cuban photographer slated to appear at Foothill


Courtesy of Raúl Cañibano
Cuban photographer Raúl Cañibano is set to appear at Foothill College tonight. His work – including the image “Series: Guajira’s Land, Viñales, 2007,” right – is on display at the KCI Gallery t...

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Stepping Out

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View

TheatreWorks launches '2 Pianos' in Mtn. View


Suellen Fitzsimmons/Special to the Town Crier
Christopher Tocco stars in TheatreWorks’ “2 Pianos 4 Hands,” which opened last week.

TheatreWorks’ production of “2 Pianos 4 Hands” is scheduled to run through Feb. 15 at the Mountain View Center fo...

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Spiritual Life

Start something great by ringing in the new year with prayer

There is a tradition, which I’m told originates in the Midwest, that calls for people to pray in the new year. A few years ago, I was invited to a friend’s house and a number of people stayed up until midnight (approximately two hours pa...

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Magazine

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years

Christmas At Our House home tour celebrates 26 years


Courtesy of Christopher Stark
Homes on the St. Francis High School Women’s Club’s Christmas at Our House Holiday Home Tour showcase a variety of architectural styles.

The days grow short on sunshine but long on nostalgia as the holidays approach...

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Music for Minors showcases song as science and craft


Eliza Ridgeway/Town Crier
First-graders rattle and tap in a Music for Minors class last week in Cupertino.

First-grade teacher Kenzie Brand shepherded her troupe of 20 students into a Cupertino elementary school’s portable music room last week to the bopping rhythms of samba music. Music for Minors’ docent Daphna Rahmil hefted a guitar to lead them through the familiar words of “their” hello song – “I’m in the mood for singing, hey! How about you?”

Singing included much more than following her lead – students practiced vocalizing not piano, and not forte, but at just the right volume, and worked on learning the lyrics without Rahmil’s help. To “John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,” they practiced clapping the la-la-las, striking hands to anticipate the eight-fold percussives.

The nonprofit organization, founded in Los Altos, brings song and sound to schools across the Bay Area that lack music programming. Sometimes, parent groups muster together to find and train volunteers for the program. In other areas, school communities need even more assistance, and Music for Minors, with help from donors, sends in a professional music teacher to bring music to a school for the first time.

Supporters such as the Town Crier Holiday Fund help provide materials and a 50-hour training class for the primarily volunteer-led teaching project, which reaches approximately 18,000 students in the community each week.

A Music for Minors class loops the whole body into the process as young people learn to handle and silence instruments, and bob heads and swing hips to illustrate songs.

Brand’s class didn’t just learn a new song about thankfulness last week, they also picked up the sign language to narrate along with the tune. One student stayed after class as his peers careened off to recess, to ask Rahmil whether she knows music from everywhere. He was wondering whether they could sing the Indian national song sometime.

“The emotional, the social – the connection – should never be undervalued,” said Rahmil, a seven-year volunteer with Music for Minors. Her students learn standards-based musical skills such as singing on pitch, how to read rhythm notation and how to follow a tune. But they also take turns leading demonstrations and doing solo work, working together to make their sounds.

Brand described some of her students’ irresistible desire to move their bodies throughout the school day, and stressed how hard it can be to fit that kind of energy into a traditional classroom space.

“Here, I don’t have to limit that as much,” she said, noting how even though the class allows for physical expression, it also showcases students’ ability to channel their enthusiasm into following thoughtful directions.

Unless Brand plans a specific craft for her classroom, this one hour of music is their only arts class during the week.

“When you’re young, these things get ingrained in you,” Rahmil said of early musical exposure.

She described Music for Minors as opening a door for local young people to become creators of music, not just consumers.

For more information, visit mfm.org.

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