The Beat Goes On Thanks to Donated Instruments at DES


Erica Moore

Communications Director

Weakley County Schools


New instruments are music to the ears of many students at Dresden Elementary School.

Because of the initiative of Elementary Music Teacher Alissa Gulledge to apply for a donation of gently used instruments, students at DES will be learning introductory music and playing instruments donated by Nashville-based organization Instruments For Education.

The students will make good use of their gently used electric piano, set of jembes, rhythm sticks, drum sets, tambourines, egg shakers, ukulele, and guitar. Gulledge said that the organization is also working on obtaining recycled ukuleles and a xylophone to donate to DES.

At the recommendation of fellow music educator Jacob Abbott, Gulledge applied for the donation last fall with the hopes of expanding and upgrading the aging inventory of instruments at DES.

Gulledge knows from personal experience that music has a powerful positive effect on student learning.

“Instruments open a new world of learning possibilities. Playing an instrument requires fine motors skills, dexterity, and critical thinking application that happens in real time. When I was in sixth grade, a wonderful teacher helped me get into the school band. My grades went from failing to straight A’s, and I went on to graduate 8th in my high school class. I say this to underline the influence and tremendous impact that music can have in the life of a student,” she said.

This is Gulledge’s first year teaching with Weakley County Schools. She said she’s happy to work with a supportive school system.

“Our school administrators are very supportive. When I share a need with one of my principals, they do all that they can to get it done,” Gulledge shared. “They are great communicators and make me feel welcome in the school. Our district is a great place to teach, and we have administration that cares. That’s rare these days – especially with so many educators feeling burned out and leaving the profession.”

Gulledge supports the idea that children should have the opportunity to appreciate music at home as well as school. She explained that music impacts critical thinking development.

“One great, easy thing for parents to do with their child is to simply to listen to music with them at home. Studies show that in listening to music for just 15 minutes each day – whether it be classical or rock and roll – critical thinking skills show growth and improvement. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just allow your child that time and freedom of expression and have fun together,” she said.

Dresden Elementary Principal Melanie Needham is excited about the donation and stated, “We are thrilled that Mrs. Alissa applied for the donation of these instruments, and we can’t wait to see the impact it makes in benefit to our students.”

Assistant Director of Schools Betsi Foster added, "Teachers do much more than teach school from 8 til 3 each day. They work to keep the school day in order, complete and record student planning paperwork and grades, compile and review student data, communicate with parents and supervisors, attend meetings and professional development sessions, apply for grants like Mrs. Gulledge, and more," she stated. "We are continuously grateful to our teachers and educational assistants and their dedication in going above and beyond the call of duty every day."

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