Auburn University introduces music education to Notasulga students with ‘Beethoven & Me’

AUBURN – “Beethoven & Me,” a music education project designed for elementary students in Notasulga, has introduced music instruction to the students and has earned an award for its creator.

Jane Kuehne, an assistant professor in Auburn University’s Department of Curriculum and Teaching in the College of Education, recently received the 2010 Robby D. Gunstream Education in Music Award for her efforts to build the instrumental and compositional skills of elementary school students in Notasulga.

Through Kuehne’s project, “Beethoven & Me,” Auburn University music education students and Notasulga third- and fourth-graders work together to create music using a method designed by the late German composer, Carl Orff. The Notasulga students compose the melodies, while the Auburn students create the arrangements.

Kuehne, who initiated “Beethoven & Me” in spring 2009, will receive a $1,000 cash prize for meeting the College Music Society’s criteria of creating “an imaginative and exemplary program that furthers education in music through engagement with local or area organizations.” The award, presented each year to a university faculty member or unit, will enable Kuehne to buy additional mallet and rhythm instruments for students.

Kuehne’s original project will expand this fall, with Auburn music education and Notasulga students collaborating on “Beethoven & Me: Wolf Tales Live!” During a six-week program, students will improvise on Orff instruments and build their writing skills. They will read stories featuring a wolf as a primary character and then construct their own stories and musical themes for characters covered in their readings.

The Auburn students will create Orff-style arrangements from the themes provided by the elementary school students and then teach the young musicians to play the music in preparation for a concert that will tell their stories.

The “Beethoven & Me” concept has not only provided a creative outlet for Notasulga students, but has also provided valuable experience for Auburn students who aspire to teach music.

(Contributed by Troy Johnson.)

Contact: Troy Johnson, (334) 844-4468 (, or
Mike Clardy, (334) 844-9999 (