TROY- Troy University students in Dr. Diane Orlofsky's Music for Early Childhood Elementary Music and Music for Exceptional Learner classes are enhancing their education and enriching the community thanks to an innovative project that forces them to find new ways to reach children.
M.A.D.E. for Kids – the Musical Activities Database for Everyone – is a student developed and maintained website that focuses on school readiness and social skills for children. The website is expected to be operational by the end of the fall semester, but it's not the first of its kind for TROY students.
"I saw this as an excellent way to combine theory and practice to enhance the pre-service students' technology skills while also making a difference in the community," said Dr. Orlofsky, a professor in the John M. Long School of Music.
The project was initiated by a request from local pediatricians who turned to Dr. Orlofsky to produce a music activities packet for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Music has been used extensively with special needs children and many students respond and learn when music is involved in the instructional process.
In 2009, students delivered a packet of songs and activities aimed at helping children with ASD.
When the pediatricians asked about the possibility of an audio/visual aid to assist the parents with the activities in the packet, the first M.A.D.E website was created by students in fall 2010. The earlier version focused on the materials specific for autism and the class created, recorded and filmed different musical activities. Innovation would again rise to surface, in the form of the "IPAC" module – an Interactive Percussive Activity Circle designed to allow children to use materials found in their homes to express themselves through music.
This year's classes expanded the concept to fit the needs of all children, including school readiness activities for preschoolers.
"The hope is that this site will open up a new world to parents, children and in-service teaching professionals while educating the next generation of music teachers," Dr. Orlofsky said.