Kingwood music teacher receives $10K grant for instruments

KINGWOOD — Kingwood Elementary music teacher Bronwyn Clagett received a $10,000 grant to buy instruments for her classes.

Clagett received a grant from the George W. Bowers Family Charitable Trust. She will use the money to buy 20 Orff xylophones and storage shelves, and a digital piano with stand and pedal to use in class.

Clagett applied for more than $16,000. The grants were awarded Thursday at WesBanco, which manages the trust.

She said later in the day that she is working with the Preston County Board of Education to perhaps get the rest of that amount so the school can purchase all the instruments.

“In elementary music, it’s like the most basic instrument,” she said of the Orffs. “They’re totally kid friendly.”

In her teaching, she uses the Orff technique, which was developed by German composer Carl Orff.

“It’s all based on exploration of play and exploration of sound and the instrument,” Clagett said. These xylophones are specialized instruments, with fewer bars and very durable, to work better for elementary-age students.

This is Clagett’s second year teaching at Kingwood Elementary. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade rotate through music, art and physical education classes as part of the curriculum.

Clagett said knowledge of music is important.

“I just think it’s important for them to be good human beings,” she said. “It’s part of your culture, it’s part of your experience … It speaks to you.”

There are many things that can be done with the instruments, which vary in size and composition. As students explore them, they’ll be asked if they can make the xylophones sound like wind or rain, for example, and to explore what’s a high sound and what’s low.

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