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Classroom Close-up: Maureen Steger

Fort Myers, FL (Wednesday, September 3, 2008) Bishop Verot Catholic High School fine arts department chairperson Maureen Steger is teaching a new class this year, Music Theory. It has students already learning the foundations of music reading and composition.  Last year the suggestion was made to create this class for students with a program called Finale, a music writing software program that allows the student to get into today’s world of music reading and composition. Students name their composition, cite the composer and give proper credit for editing and arranging.  Most important, all original work is connected to copyright which will protect and give the students ownership in their writing.

Students are given choices for voices, tempo, and key. They are presented with a blank score and as they learn the elements and language of music they become more technically innovative given hundreds of choices they have for music notation, dynamics and rhythms. They can write a symphony for an entire orchestra or a ballad for a guitar, flute and voice.

Students learn correct pitches, understand mathematical subdivisions of measures and hear circles of fifths as they change key signatures. Students who were not able to read music before have already brought in instruments that they have wanted to play. It’s one of the goals of the course that students will go one step beyond and compose music that they can share with an appreciative audience on the instrument they learned to play by understanding music theory.

The purchase of the Finale software program was made possible by a significant donation from the Class of 2008.