When Highlands Elementary Pre-K Scholars arrive in Ichun Lu’s Music Classroom, they can expect to learn the basics of melody, rhythm and sound.
“They are like sponges, and they really absorb it – we have a lot of percussion instruments in the classroom” said Lu, who’s in her 13th year of teaching Music at Highlands and 23rd year as a Music Educator. “It’s great to see their eyes light up.”
By the time those scholars are in the fifth grade, they’re reading music and composing their own melodies. They’ll know the different periods of music history as well as the names of famous composers.
“Ms. Lu does a great job of directing performances and leading efforts in the Arts at Highlands,” Highlands Principal Candice Griffin said.
Highlands Elementary’s next show will be in February to honor Black History Month.
“For a musical, scholars learn the setting, plot, characters and so forth,” Lu said. “And then, they will learn songs. In order to have every scholar play a role or part in the musical, I create extra parts for an instrumental, or dances, along with the musical.”
Lu has worked at Highlands long enough that the first group of Highlands Pre-K Scholars she taught are now high school juniors. The first group of fifth graders are either in college or have recently graduated college.
It’s not uncommon for Lu to see Cedar Hill ISD middle and high school scholars and their families. They share with her their experience of singing in the middle school choir or the high school band.
Even for scholars who aren’t particularly interested in music, Lu hopes they learn something in the class.
“Everybody can learn something in Music Class,” Lu said.
Lu was born and raised in Taiwan where she played piano in a family that included several musicians. She attended a Magnet School for Music when she was in high school and studied Music (Vocal and Piano) at college in Taiwan.
Lu decided to move to Texas because she had family in Arlington. She enrolled at Texas A&M Commerce where she completed a Master’s Degree in Music. She was in the university’s choir when she was a student there in the late 1990s.
Upon graduation, Lu was hired as an Intermediate School (and then, Elementary) in Greenville, a community located just 18 miles from Commerce.
She taught there for a decade but decided it was time to move closer to her relatives in Arlington. That’s when she joined the Highlands Elementary teaching staff.
“I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to teach here,” Lu said.