Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

These Students Get a Chance to Become Mallet Masters; Callahan: School Group Plays Music

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

These Students Get a Chance to Become Mallet Masters; Callahan: School Group Plays Music

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Under the watchful eyes of classical masters Chopin, Beethoven and Bach, Callahan Intermediate School's own masters are making beautiful music.

The Mallet Masters is one of two after-school music groups sponsored at Callahan Intermediate by music teacher Mary Ann Salis.

The tunes the young musicians perform on 18 xylophones and metallaphones are simple, yet the sonorous tones of the instruments combine to make a hauntingly beautiful sound.

The Mallet Masters group is an offshoot of Salis' use of Orff Schulwerk instruments in teaching music to her students.

Salis, who has been teaching at Callahan Intermediate for 18 years, acquired the $16,000 worth of instruments about four years ago, when the school moved into its new building.

Salis said she asked for the Orff instruments, which include a drum set, for a simple reason.

"It's instant success for every student, no matter what ability level," Salis said.

Several Mallet Masters said they think learning to play the xylophones will make it easier to learn other instruments.

Andrew Allen, 10, said he plans to join the band when he graduates to Callahan Middle School. He likes studying music and playing in Mallet Masters.

"It's actually like learning the piano, except with mallets," he said.

Orff Schulwerk is an approach to teaching music to young children developed by German composer Carl Orff and his associate Gunild Keetman in the 1920s.

According to the American Orff Schulwerk Association, the method focuses on what children do naturally -- sing, chant, clap, dance and keep the beat. And the xylophones and metallaphones are used because children can immediately make nice sounds with them.

C.J. Lawton, 11, said he likes being in Mallet Masters because "now I know how to play an instrument. …

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