Hakuna Matata!

The Dommerich Elementary production of The Lion King features over ninety students, ten staff members, two UCF students and dozens of parent volunteers. The show is a living example of humans working together to create something beautiful. Those of us lucky enough to collaborate on a creative production know how special it is. Scientific research also illustrates the improvement to physical health, increased cognitive function and powerful social connections that come from making music together. This article tells the story:


Enjoy The Lion King, and happy summer music making!

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DES Celebrates the Arts!

On Thursday, April 19, DES Celebrates the Arts!  Students, families and friends are invited  to witness the creative ideas, hard work, and collaboration of the Dommerich Chiefs. All events are free and open to the public, beginning at 6:30pm and ending at 8:00pm.

You will also have the opportunity to see a new collaborative art project called the Inspiration Garden. Dommerich students have been busy painting rocks with positive words and images. The rocks will be used  to create a beautiful garden at the back entrance of the school.

There will also be stations for families to make art together. As you walk through the lobby and hallways there will be ideas and materials to make your own masterpiece. This is a wonderful chance to be creative with your child.

The Dommerich cafeteria stage will be turned in to a concert hall. Between 6:30 and 8:00, many Dommerich students will perform, including all of First Grade and all of Second Grade.  The Fourth and Fifth Grade Orchestra will perform, along with the Recorder Club.

Every day we witness amazing creativity in art and music classes. This is our chance to share the students’ talent with the community. Please mark April 19 on your calendar!

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Music class and beyond

If you were a fly on the wall in the Dommerich music room you would hear joyful singing, see children skipping, jumping and running to piano music, or hear thoughtful discussions about recordings.  You might notice groups of students working on creating a rhythm to go with our music. Sometimes you will see students playing recorders, or ukuleles, xylophones or drums. All of the these activities encourage creativity and collaboration while building cognitive skills. 

As a music teacher, I love seeing all this productive work in the music room. But sometimes, it is what happens outside the music room that tells me the program is effective.  For instance, a third grade boy walked into music class and told me he already knows the new song because he heard a friend sing it on the bus! I see students in car line practicing recorder. I’ve been told chorus students read their Lion King scripts morning, noon and night! Kindergarten students sing to me as they walk by in the hall. These magical moments tell me that music is more than a 40 minute special each week.

Keep making music, Dommerich Chiefs!


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Music live at the Bob Carr Auditorium!

On Thursday, October 5, all Dommerich 3rd, 4th and 5th graders will go on a field trip to hear the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. We are grateful for this wonderful opportunity, which is provided to all OCPS students, with funding provided by OCPS and United Arts of Central Florida. This helps fulfill the mission of the OCPS Arts team.  We believe that all students, regardless of ethnicity or socioeconomic status, deserve equitable access to the highest quality arts education.

The concert will includes pieces from the 1700s up to music of modern times. One thing we learn as we listen to music from different eras is that even music written 300 years ago sounds familiar! It is just as fun to listen to the Royal Fireworks Music by George F. Handel as the Star Wars theme by John Williams. Some composer’s music is well known, even though their names are hard to pronounce. Tchaikovsky’s music is often heard at Christmas time when his Nutcracker Ballet music is played everywhere. But he also wrote heroic and patriotic music, such as the 1812 Overture, which included an actual canon to supplement the instruments of the orchestra. We will also hear music from famous operas, including the Toreador song from Carmen.

During music class, students will learn about instruments of the orchestra, composers, and how music is used to tell a story or convey an image or feeling. We will move to music, listen and analyze musical elements, and even sing songs related to the works on the program. Then, we look forward to hearing the music in a live performance on October 5!

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Making Music at Dommerich

Music performance groups for the fall term are starting soon!  Dommerich music groups practice after school every week and perform concerts at Dommerich and in the community. Chorus meets on Thursdays and Orff Band practices on Tuesdays. Both groups are open to all 4th and 5th grade students; no audition required! Chorus is for students who love to sing and perform. Orff Band students play instruments like xylophone, recorder, and drums.

Students who sign up are making a commitment to attend all rehearsals and the concert. Here are the important dates for the fall term:


Application due: Tuesday, September 5

First practice: Thursday, September 7

Concerts: Saturday, December 2 and Tuesday, December 12.


Application due: Friday, September 29

First practice: Tuesday, October 3

Concert:  Tuesday, December 12.

In the spring term there will be Recorder Club, Orff Band and a musical performed by Chorus. Third grade students can audition to perform in spring term performance groups. Applications for the spring term will come out in January.

Click below to download an application:

Chorus application

Orff Band application

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Music Makeover Complete!

The Dommerich Music Room is new and improved thanks to an investment by the PTA. They purchased new Orff Instruments and accessories so all children can use a quality instrument and the entire class can play at the same time. This equipment empowers  children as they use their imagination to sing, move, play and create great music!

Thank you Dommerich PTA!

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 9.45.05 PM

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Summer Reading

Summer is a time to enjoy family and friends as we take a break from the structure of the school year.  I am in the mountains at Skyland Camp for Girls where I teach Musical Theatre, but also go on hikes, tubing in Deep Creek and sing lots of camp songs. I did take time to read this latest article on research that proves what I have observed for many years: music makes kids smarter!

Children’s Brains Develop Faster with Music TrainingChildren’s Brains Develop Faster with Music

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Looking ahead

At the end of the school year, teachers start packing our rooms, making plans for the summer and looking forward to some R&R. In spite of the break ahead, one part of our teacher brain is already planning bigger and better things for next year. I value your opinion! To give me ideas about Dommerich performing ensembles, please complete this survey:


Thank you and have a wonderful summer!

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Sing, Say, Dance, Play!

Carl Orff was a musician and composer who was a visionary educator. When I say we are going to play the “Orff” Instruments I often get blank stares. When I elaborate by saying “its the xylophones and other percussion instruments” I’m still not doing it justice. This short video shows the creative thinking, teamwork and cognitive skills that go into an music class using ideas from the Orff philosophy for teaching children.

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Celebrate Music in Our School!

Everyday joyful music can be heard in the Dommerich Music Room. Students express themselves, think outside the box, and collaborate with others. This would be enough by itself, but click here to see 20 Important Benefits of Music in Our Schools.

To learn about the after-school ensembles at Dommerich click on the Orff Band and Chorus tabs.

Happy singing!

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