DELAVAN — Delavan-Darien School District elementary instrumental music teacher Tom May enjoys helping kids make music, and he enjoys making music for kids.
He gets to do both in his job as teacher of about 190 fourth and fifth grade orchestra and band students. Recently, he learned he would be helping other kids make music throughout the world.
The Hal Leonard Corporation selected two of his original compositions, “Bowin’ the Blues” and “Treasure Quest” for publication. Hal Leonard is the world’s largest publisher of print music.
The pieces May composed are written for beginning to early-intermediate level string instrumentalists, including violin, viola, cello and bass.
The Hal Leonard website lists the following descriptions of the two works:
“Bowin’ the Blues” — “Great fun for all with this blues tune that effectively introduces the difference between F-sharp and F-natural for violins and violas, and C-sharp and C-natural for all instruments. Let your group jam their hearts out on this great ensemble teaching piece.” (Listen)
“Treasure Quest” — “Students love great adventure music, and “Treasure Quest” is sure to please. A seafaring, swashbuckling tune in 3/4 with bold statements for all parts, this mini-overture by composer/string educator Tom May is a delight to learn and perform.” (Listen)
May has penned many other original works and arrangements for his young learners. These were the first two he has had published.
“It’s very gratifying to have it happen,” May said. “Being published is an honor that further validates your work and makes it accessible to a much larger variety of people. Hopefully, many students across the country will enjoy studying the musical concepts within these pieces as they work toward performing them in their own concerts.”
May, who has been teaching, composing and arranging for more than a decade in the district, writes music mostly for his strings students in fourth and fifth grade.
“I started writing music because I had a difficult time finding concert pieces that fulfilled the needs of my students,” he said. “So I began to take recognizable melodies and arrange them as pieces that students at this level could perform in an ensemble setting. That eventually grew into composing original works for string orchestra.”
May also occasionally writes or arranges music for his band students, but he typically has enough band literature to choose from for his liking, he said.
May wrote “Bowin’ the Blues” about seven years ago. His students have performed it often at district orchestra concerts.
“Treasure Quest” is a newer piece written and modified in the last two years.
The music faculty and programs of the Delavan-Darien School District help to place it in a fairly unique and advantageous position in Walworth County. Delavan-Darien is one of only two public school districts in the county to maintain a strings music instruction program.
That, along with access to participate in a quality band and/or choral program, gives a distinct educational advantage to Delavan-Darien School District students.
According to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, quality music education promotes cognitive development, leading to higher standardized test scores, enhancing the brainstem’s sensitivity to speech sounds, scoring better in English and math, improved memory and more (Source: http://www.vh1savethemusic.com/benefits).