Pioneer elementary music teacher wins Grinspoon award

  • Lynette Snedeker was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award. She is in her 21st year as the elementary school band director for the Pioneer district. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 4/2/2019 5:01:25 PM

NORTHFIELD — Elementary school music teacher Lynette Snedeker was selected by the Pioneer Valley Regional School district for the 2019 Excellence in Teaching Award.

Snedeker is in her 21st year with the Pioneer district. Until this year she taught only elementary school band. This year, due to recent cuts and restructuring, she also teaches general music, which builds musical skills from kindergarten onwards.

The Pioneer Valley Excellence in Teaching Awards, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, are granted every year. Winners are chosen by their colleagues. Snedeker and the winners from other local school districts will be honored at a banquet at the Log Cabin in Holyoke on May 15. Each receives an engraved plaque, a $500 check and scholarship opportunities at Elms College, Bay Path University, Springfield College, Western New England University, Westfield State University and the University of Massachusetts.

Snedeker grew up on a dairy farm in Southeast Pennsylvania. Her parents enrolled her in piano lessons starting in third grade. Later she picked up the French horn.

After high school she went to the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of music, graduating with a major in French horn and a minor in piano. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst then taught for one year in the Mohawk Trail Regional School District before coming to the Pioneer district.

Until this year, Snedeker had taught band for fourth grade through sixth grade at all four elementary schools. The curriculum comprises weekly group lessons on each band instrument, a band of the fifth- and sixth-graders at each school and a separate band of the fourth-graders. The fourth-grade band program was removed this year.

This year, Snedeker also started teaching general music, which starts in kindergarten and continues through sixth grade. The curriculum begins with basic singing and rhythm games, and advances to reading and writing musical notation.

“This year has been new, exciting and different,” Snedeker said.

When she’s not at school, Snedeker lives on a goat farm in Leyden. She sings to her goats.

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