By Mark Newman,News staff
Buchanan Park Elementary School music teacher Dawn Martens was recently named elementary school music teacher of the year by the Hamilton Music Awards via an on-line vote. Martens is well known in the west Mountain community as the founder of the school’s opera club. Photo by Mark Newman
For more than two decades Dawn Martens has been trumpeting the benefits of music at Buchanan Park Elementary School and in the community.
The 48-year-old music teacher’s hard work was recognized last month when she received an industry award from the Hamilton Music Awards.
Martens was named elementary school music teacher of the year at the awards ceremony in the McIntyre auditorium at Mohawk College.
“It was just like the Oscars,” said Martens, who didn’t know she had been nominated by a Buchanan Park school parent until just prior to the awards ceremony and was amazed to hear her name announced as the winner. “Of course I was surprised, I never assume anything.”
Martens noted the award was determined by public on-line voting and she credits the Buchanan Park school community for giving her enough support to finish ahead of the three other nominees.
“It gives you the boost to keep going,” said Martens, who has been at Buchanan Park for 23 years, the first two as a Grade 1 and 2 teacher. “Every once in a while, even though you have had recognition and you’ve been going for a long time, it gives you that adrenaline to say ‘yes what I’m doing is validated by the community,’”
A lover of all kinds of music, especially opera, Martens enjoys teaching youngsters about music, but also demonstrating the various notes and chords on her classroom piano.
“It’s an international language,” said Martens, who has a Grade 8 level in piano. “Even if you have a child that lands in here and English is a second language…you can still reach them with music.”Unlike other subjects, Martens noted music is not all paper and pencil-oriented and that appeals to many students.
“It gives children that are more kinesthetic learners a chance to really break out their creative selves,” she said.
Martens is also well known for introducing hundreds of Mountain children to opera.
She began the Buchanan Park School Opera Club 18 years ago and plans are under way for the production of Hansel and Gretel that is tentatively slated for next April.
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