News

Please note that until August 2013, zSharp was called
ETM-Bay Area.1

Xylophone or Glockenspiel?

January 07, 2015

Xylophone or Glockenspiel? Xylophone or Glockenspiel?

 

 

 

 

 

The first classroom instrument most zSharp students encounter (besides their voice!) is some form of mallet percussion. The "mallet" is a long stick with a rounded tip used to hit the resonating bars on the instrument. The most popular mallet instrument is the xylophone, which has high pitched bars made of wood. Marimbas also have wooden bars, but are pitched lower than xylophones. Instruments with metal bars (metallophones) are usually glockenspiels or vibraphones, with glockenspiels being higher-pitched, like a xylophone, and vibraphones being lower.

The two students above left are playing glockenspiels, the students on the right are playing very small marimbas.

Winter Concerts

January 07, 2015

Winter Concerts

Nearly all of zSharp's students (almost 7,000!) celebrated the holidays with a school-wide concert before heading into winter break. In addition to holiday favorites, the program included traditional folk songs from Africa and Latin America, student improvisations, and even pop songs like Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off." Each concert included singing and instrumental performances showcasing skills they learned in their zSharp-led music classes, including instrumental and vocal balance, memorization, attentiveness to the conductor, and the ability to maintain rhythmic and melodic patterns.

Songs were sung in both English and Spanish before packed audiences of family, teachers, and peers. Concerts such as these involve not only hours of class time rehearsal, but coordinated efforts among all the teachers to create a holistic program that focuses on diverse aspects of the curriculum. Principal Fuchs, from zSharp partner school Learning Without Limits, called this the "Best Winter Celebration we have had yet!"

Instrument Purchases

October 08, 2014

Instrument Purchases

This year we are partnering with eight new schools, and with that comes the need to provide instruments to those thousands of students who are itching to learn. We purchased a whopping 1,317 new instruments for the kids so far, and have over 300 more on the way! From soprano glockenspiels and bass xylophones to recorders and digital pianos, we’ve provided our students with everything they need to get started on the road to lifelong musicianship.

Training Sessions for All New Teachers

October 08, 2014

Training Sessions for All New Teachers

As part of our commitment to the highest educational standards, zSharp is providing orientation sessions, training and mentorship to prepare our new teachers for the job ahead. We began in August with an all-day orientation workshop hosted by Board Member Robert Birks, covering everything from bilingual teaching to recorder repertoire. We continue with monthly group professional development sessions that hone in on specific topics that vary from month-to-month. This month we focused on classroom management, working on creating rules and routines, organizing the physical environment of the classroom, establishing caring relationships with the kids, engaging the students, and how to best handle disciplinary issues. These sessions are followed by monthly evaluations by Program Director Allison Renn and weekly check-ins with a mentor assigned to each teacher. The end result: confident new teachers that are prepared to handle their classes in the most effective way possible.

Creating More Sustainable Music Programs

October 08, 2014

Creating More Sustainable Music Programs

zSharp’s goal has always been to provide music education to students who might not otherwise have access to it. In the past we have relied largely on philanthropy, receiving the vast majority of our revenue through contributions from individuals and foundations. Contributions from schools have represented a much smaller proportion of our revenue, yet are a far more predictable source of funding. To make zSharp more sustainable, we are transitioning to a social enterprise model, partnering with additional schools that are able to contribute the entire cost of their music programs. By increasing our earned income, and reducing our reliance on donations, we’re able to ensure that we can bring more music education to even more schools in need! 

zSharp Employees Get Health Coverage

October 08, 2014

We’re proud to announce that as of September zSharp is providing health benefits for all zSharp employees who work more than 25 hours a week. While employers are only legally required to provide coverage to their employees working over 35 hours per week, the well-being of our staff is incredibly important to us, so we decided to go above and beyond our legal obligation and provide health benefits to those teachers whose work would be considered part-time elsewhere.

Digitized Teachers’ Resources Library

October 08, 2014

We’ve begun amassing an impressive collection of sheet music for our teachers this fall. It’s a lot of work but we’ve already begun scanning and digitizing thousands of documents in our music library so that our teacher can access it online at any time! All they’ll need to do is search by keyword to find exactly what they need: whether it’s a Christmas song for a bilingual 2nd grade class or a popular song arranged for xylophones, it will be only a click away. This will be a fantastic resource for our teachers and students to pull from, and will save our schools a great deal of
time, money and effort over the years.

We Are Doubling in Size!

July 01, 2014

zSharp is proud to announce partnerships with eight more schools beginning this fall, nearly doubling our existing program from 4,400 to almost 7,600 underprivileged children being served every week! We'll be providing weekly, in-school music education in Richmond at Montalvin Elementary, Caliber Beta Academy, and Madera Elementary; and in Oakland at Manzanita SEED Elementary, Glenview Elementary, ASCEND, Learning Without Limits at Jefferson Elementary, and Korematsu Discovery Elementary.  

Teacher Chris Winslow Recording Session

May 26, 2014

Teacher Chris Winslow Recording Session

zSharp teacher Chris Winslow recently recorded a 22-song album entitled What a Wonderful World with his students at Valley View Elementary. The album, which includes six of his original songs, was sponsored by zSharp and can be purchased by emailing info@zsharp.org. In addition to teaching, Mr. Winslow is an active composer and music director in the Bay Area theater scene, including an original, full-length musical, OMFG! The Internet Dating Musical, which premiered at ODC Theater in San Francisco. 

Executive Director Dylan Tatz Wins SEA “Pitch Night”

May 07, 2014

Executive Director Dylan Tatz Wins SEA “Pitch Night”

We're proud to announce that zSharp Executive Director Dylan Tatz was the winner of Social Enterprise Pitch Night at the Center for New Music on May 6! Dylan's zSharp presentation beat out four other organizations as the audience favorite and received thoughtful input from multi-sector leaders across generations. 

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1 As of August 2013, zSharp is no longer affiliated with Education Through Music. “Education Through Music”, “ETM”, the claripen logo and ETM keyboard logo are trademarks of Education Through Music, Inc.