Teacher of the Year: Music teacher focused on the classics

  • Thursday, March 27, 2014

Staff Photo by Scott Rodgers Belvedere Elementary School music teacher Dean Radford reads to kindergarten students on Thursday morning.

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Editor’s note: This is a continuation of a series profiling local teachers of the year.

Julia Dean Radford, a veteran teacher at Belvedere Elementary School, hopes she and her students continue making beautiful music together.

Radford, who is in her 30th year of teaching, has been at Belvedere for more than two-thirds of that time. She was named teacher of the year in 1996, but said that the honor this year was just as humbling.

Since coming back from Christmas break, Radford’s students have played dulcimers, Autoharps and foot keyboards. Radford also got a grant from VH1 to get keyboards for her students. Her older students also just finished their time with recorders.

“First grade and kindergarten do a lot of playing classroom instruments,” she said.

Radford incorporates classroom subjects with her music, with lessons in math, science, history and other subjects.

She also pointed out that with this being Belvedere Elementary’s 60th anniversary, her classroom’s essential question has been “What is the role of the composer in society?”

In trying to help her students learn and appreciate music that they may not otherwise listen to, Radford had her fifth-graders go to the symphony.

“(Last) Thursday I had a trio come in, and I was excited that they did variations of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,’” she said. “The kids loved it. That’s something they don’t always get to hear. Our fifth-graders went to the symphony and played their recorders with them. They got to listen to a lot of classical music there. ... I always tell them that people use classical music for everything – for commercials, TV shows, whatever. I try to tell them that it’s important, even though it might be 300 years old.”

Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star.

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