Welcome Great Bend Students!

Handy Links, Frequently Asked Questions, and Other Resources

Sound Scholars™ Information Session

For those who weren’t able to attend our Sound Scholars™ family welcome and information session live or who would like to reference it again, watch here or click the button below to view on YouTube.

What You Need Before Class

Every student will need a free account with both Zoom and Seesaw:

  • Classes are held live on Zoom. Every student will need their own free Zoom account (or a family account) if they don’t already have one. For security reasons, we can only admit registered Zoom users to class.
  • We use the free online learning platform Seesaw. Seesaw is where you can find all class announcements, including assignments, and where students will turn in assignments. The Zoom link for class will always be pinned to the top of the “Inbox” tab in the Seesaw Classroom. 

For students who are brand new to Seesaw

  1. Go to the Seesaw login page in your browser or open the Seesaw app and click “I’m a Student”.
  2. Enter the eight digit, one-time class Text Code in the box the says “Text Code” and click ”Go“ to join your class. (For students enrolled in more than one class, enter just one of the class Text Codes that you received for now. Complete step 3 below and then follow the directions under “For students who already have a Seesaw account”.)
  3. Create a new Seesaw student account. You have the option to use an existing Google account to sign-in (not recommended, please see below) or to create a new Seesaw account by entering the student’s name, email, and creating a Seesaw-specific password.

We recommend using the option of creating a Seesaw account with your email and creating a Seesaw-specific password that you would feel comfortable sharing with anyone (other parent, grandparent, etc) helping your student access the Seesaw classroom. If you do want to connect your existing Google account and use that to login to Seesaw, please make sure that you would be comfortable sharing your Google account’s login details if you will have more than one person helping your child(ren) access the Seesaw classroom.

Please make sure to save the login information from step 3! The class Text Code entered in step 2 is only used to join the classroom and is not used to login to Seesaw.

For students who already have a Seesaw account

Go to the Seesaw login page in your browser or open the Seesaw app and click on “I’m a Student”.

  1. Enter the email and password for your Seesaw account and click “Student Sign In” or click on “Sign in with Google” if you connected a Google account to use with Seesaw.
  2. Click the student profile icon in the top left of the screen.
  3. Click “+ Join Class”.
  4. Enter the class Text Code provided from your class registration email.
  5. Click “Join Class”.
  6. Repeat for as many classes as you are enrolled in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sound Scholars™

What is needed for a successful class?

While there are many benefits to being able to bring a music class right into your home, it can be harder for kids to focus properly.

Please put your child’s name in the Zoom account they are joining class with! If you need help doing so, you can send a message during class to the account named Miss Heidi – Support. 

Please work with your child(ren) to locate and set up a distraction-free space for class! Snacks, pets, siblings, etc. are very distracting for the entire class, not just your student. A defined space and routine of their own really helps your child(ren) be in the right frame of mind physically and mentally.

It’s also very important to practice muting and unmuting on Zoom! Practice this skill before class if possible. We’ll also work on it during class to make sure everyone takes turns listening and participating.

A pair of headphones with a microphone can be helpful to wear during class. Even if they are not worn for every class, having practice wearing headphones will be help when it comes to recording our final virtual performance pieces, which require the use of headphones.

If possible, please position light sources (windows, lamps, etc) in front of your child(ren), and not behind them, so we can see their faces on camera!

Do I need to attend class with my child(ren)?

We recommend that a parent or other guardian attend class with Otter Pod student(s) to assist as needed.

Depending on your individual child(ren)’s needs, some parents or guardians may also attend class with their students in Seal or Porpoise Pods. We welcome as much  involvement from parents, grandparents, older siblings, and other guardians that works for each individual family and child!

What should my child expect in class?

Our daily classes are structured to use repetition and predictability to create a safe, welcoming learning environment, even though our 30 minute classes are fast-paced.

We begin each class with the same welcome song to allow students to get ready mentally and physically to learn; end with the same goodbye song; and in between we practice building skills by consistently working on the piece chosen for our final ensemble performance at the end of the term, along with other fun and games!

This makes every class a chance for kids to feel comfortable learning and demonstrating their skills, knowing that they will have a chance to continue to improve and practice, which in turn nourishes self esteem and a sense of belonging for every student. This also creates an environment where students begin to teach other students — a key part of our El Sistema-inspired program and one that gives students a sense of ownership over the music making process.

The sense of belonging that results also means that in each class, students connect with each other to create a community through music making. We share birthdays and other milestones and appreciate that the virtual learning environment means that we are able to share our homes with each other in every class.

Can siblings (or other relatives/friends) in the same class share a screen?

Siblings (or other relatives) can join class together in a shared area, each with their own device or sharing a screen. If they are on separate devices it would be best to be in different rooms to prevent echo and feedback. Often students do better having their own device. Do what works best for your family!

Who are my Sound Scholars teaching artists?

Otter and Seal Pod teaching artist Gwyndolyn Jones-Dunton, known as Ms. G. to her students, lives in Attleboro, MA with her husband and children. Her 4-year-old son, Kyrie likes to pop into class from time to time to sing and learn with us. 

Seal and Porpoise Pod teaching artist Jennifer LeCaptain, known to her students as Miss Jennifer, lives Manitowoc, WI with her very soon-to-be husband. She mostly loves to play the saxophone, but she is so excited to sing, dance, and make music in many ways with the Sound Scholars this term!

In class, you may also see Heidi Nelson, or Miss Heidi to students, who lives in Olympia, WA. She will be listed on Zoom as ‘Miss Heidi – Support’ and assists our teaching artists in all classes to help with technical support and teaching. If you have questions or need a support, send her a message in Zoom chat!

Matthew Melendez, who is our original Sound Scholars teaching artist, lives in Union, WA and now substitutes as needed — as well as making special guest appearances!

What will the assignments be like?

Every week, we have one or two small assignments that reinforce the concepts and skills learned in class. These assignments are turned in through Seesaw and generally do not require more than 10 minutes of parental or guardian involvement.

Some example assignments: coloring sheets related to vocabulary terms; demonstrating a skill like keeping a steady beat; practice for our final ensemble performance such as practicing recording and following along with a guide track.

It’s never too late to turn in missed assignments, and students are encouraged to repeat assignments that they enjoyed!

What if my child has to miss class?

If possible, we appreciate advance notice if a student will be absent for multiple days of class in a row. Please send us an email at teachers@greatbendmusic.org with your child(ren)’s name and the dates.

Otherwise, in the case of absences of 1–2 days, you do not need to notify us, but do feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns about what may have been covered in class those days.

For the occasions when there is a conflict during regular class time, families have the option of coming to another session held at a different time. The class Zoom link used for your normal time will also get you into the other sessions for each Pod (Otter, Seal, Porpoise).

Here are the sessions for each Pod in the Spring 2022 term (all times are Pacific):

  • Otter Pod: 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, 2:00 PM
  • Seal Pod: 3:00 PM, 3:30 PM, 4:00 PM
  • Porpoise Pod: 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 4:30 PM

HighKey Kids™

What is needed for a successful class?

While there are many benefits to being able to bring a music class right into your home, it can be harder for kids to focus properly.

Please put your child’s name in the Zoom account they are joining class with! If you need help doing so, you can put a message into chat during class (which will go directly to teaching artist Andy) and he can demonstate how it’s done. 

Please work with your child(ren) to locate and set up a distraction-free space for class! Snacks, pets, siblings, etc. are very distracting for the entire class, not just your student. A defined space and routine of their own really helps your child(ren) be in the right frame of mind physically and mentally. 

It’s also very important to practice muting and unmuting on Zoom! Practice this skill before class if possible. We’ll also work on it during class to make sure everyone takes turns listening and participating.

A pair of headphones with a microphone can be helpful to wear during class.

If possible, please position light sources (windows, lamps, etc) in front of your child(ren), and not behind them, so we can see their faces on camera!

Do I need to attend class with my child(ren)?

Most students attend classes independently, but we welcome as much involvement from parents, grandparents, older siblings, and other guardians that works for each individual family and child!

Who are my HighKey Kids teaching artists?

Andy Jarema, known as Andy or Mr. J to his students, is a music educator and music composer who lives in metro-Detroit, MI, with his partner Danielle, daughter Etta, and his insanely cute Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Matthew Melendez, who is our original HighKey Kids teaching artist, lives in Union, WA and now substitutes as needed and teaches our Studio Voice class in the Fall and Winter terms. His 11-year-old son Gus is an active HighKey Kids student and a member of our Great Bend Youth Chorale!

What if my child has to miss class?

If possible, we appreciate advance notice if a student will be absent. Please send us an email at teachers@greatbendmusic.org with your child(ren)’s name and the dates. We’ll be happy to go over what happened in class and can potentially arrange to record class that day with enough advance notice. Make sure to also check Seesaw to keep up to date! 

What equipment and free software recommendations do you have?

Here are some tips and recommendations for affordable, high-quality equipment for students who are taking classes like Group Piano or Digital Audio Production.

We’re happy to answer additional questions and find workarounds for the equipment your family already has or recommendations for good used equipment — email us at teachers@greatbendmusic.org if you need additional help!

 

MIDI Keyboards that can hook up to your computer:

  • Akai LPK25:  The best inexpensive option ($60).
  • M-Audio and Alesis are also great brands.
  • If you have more piano experience, consider getting a MIDI keyboard with additional keys since you will be used to a larger keyboard.  You also have the option of looking for one with weighted keys.

    Digital Audio Workstations:

    • Soundtrap is the foundation of our Digital Audio Production class.  A regular Soundtrap account is free..
    • BandLab is another free DAW we use here at Great Bend Center for Music.
    • Other free options include Audacity (PC and Mac) and Garageband (Mac only)

    Ukulele:

    • We recommend beginners start with a soprano ukulele, which is the most popular type for beginners.
    • This bundle is an affordable choice for beginners!
    • For a higher-quality option that remains affordable, we love Kala’s KA-15S

    Can my child take the same class more than once?

    Yes! HighKey Kids™ classes center students and their interests, so the classes have continuously evolving content from term to term. As of right now, Video Game Music is the only exception to this rule because the content is structured as a one-term course, but students who enjoyed that subject and want to continue building on their skills are encouraged to try Digital Audio Production next!  

    To align with our El Sistema-inspired teaching model, students who have taken a course already and enroll again will be challenged to teach concepts to other students in class — we love to see our students empowered to demostrate their knowledge by teaching themselves! 

    Contact Us

    Please fill out the form below to contact us with any questions or concerns. 

    Loading...