Music at MDC
Montessori Discovery Center offers a uniquely rich musical education. Students typically participate in music classes two or more times per week with music education specialist Dr. Joseph Harchanko. Students explore a variety of different educational activities including Montessori Tone Bars, Orff and Kodàly techniques, West African drumming and dancing, Baroque recorders, and singing. The individual focus of the Montessori education is extended by asking students to problem solve as a group in order to develop a deeper understanding of the materials, organization, and history of various musical cultures. Students build confidence and competency by participating in musical performances in a supportive and nurturing environment. The music education experience is enhanced by weekend field trips to watch dress rehearsals of the Salem Symphony Orchestra and other cultural performances.
Students are offered the opportunity for further musical enrichment through MDC’s orchestra program and through the song writing workshop. Students involved in MDC’s poetry workshop learn how to use their understanding of music to set their own words to music, composing original songs. Students learn about music notation, harmony, melodic writing, and word setting.
Central to MDC’s orchestra program is the belief that learning an instrument needs to involve one-on-one instruction weekly with a master teacher. Each student in the orchestra receives a weekly private lesson on their instrument in addition to their orchestra rehearsals. Students are also encouraged to perform solo works on their instrument in recital several times throughout the year in conjunction with their orchestral performances. Students can opt to study violin, viola, cello, and bass. The Montessori classroom experience is particularly conducive to allowing students to schedule their individual instruction during their school day, as well as nurturing the peer-sportive environment where students learn from and work with each other in a creative manner developing leadership, problem solving, and positive team working skills.
Dr. Joseph Harchanko, holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Texas, two Masters in Music from The Florida State University, and a Bachelor in Music from Auburn University. At the University of Texas, he studied with renowned music educator and pedagogy specialist Phyllis Young. He has taught elementary school programs in Alabama and Texas and was an Assistant Professor of Composition and Music Theory at Ball State University in Indiana, prior to moving to Oregon in 2005. In addition to teaching at MDC, he is the principal cellist in the Salem Symphony Orchestra and runs the Harchanko Music Academy where he teaches cello and violin to all ages. He is currently working on receiving certification in Music Together™ teaching and adapting that curriculum for elementary school.