Matthew Stensrud is currently in his seventh year teaching kindergarten through fifth grade general music and in Fairfax County, Virginia. He received his Master of Music Education from George Mason University and Bachelor of Music Education from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is an Orff Schulwerk approved teacher educator of movement and frequently writes about and presents workshops on the unique combination of Responsive Classroom and Orff Schulwerk in the elementary Music classroom, is on the national Orff Editorial Board, and was a key content contributor to the book Responsive Classroom for Music, Art, PE and Other Special Areas. As an advocate and activist, Matthew serves as Chair of Alexandria’s Commission for the Arts and is an influence leader for the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. He lives in the neighborhood of Del Ray, Alexandria with his husband, Michael.
Mrs. Clarke’s third grade students step to the drumbeat as they enter my classroom, joyfully singing the school song. They quickly notice various music notes separated by ‘+’ signs on the board; they know this game well. Hands shoot up. I tap a student, who jumps into action and writes the number ‘7’. “Let’s show our work,” I say. “A quarter note equals–“, “ONE!” the students exclaim. “A half note–“, “TWO!” We continue this call and response for the quarter rest and dotted half note (see image below). “And what do we get?!” “SEVEN!” Smiles abound.