Mrs. Lisa Geene
Lower School Music Teacher Mrs. Lisa Geene on fostering an early passion for music and what the program means to the development of students.
As a music teacher I hope to encourage a love of music in children and help them gain the tools to make musical choices throughout their life. The Lower School music program benefits students by teaching them the basic elements of music in general music classes; but more importantly gives them the opportunity to work together as part of a group and discover a voice to express themselves in general music, chorus, band, orchestra, singing club, and the musical. World Music Drumming has had a large impact on my teaching as it not only gives us a chance to explore music and cultures from around the world but drumming helps to build a sense of community, reinforces rhythm skills, and gives students a venue to express themselves and communicate through drumming.
What I enjoy best about teaching music at Ranney school is the students. I remember the first time I walked onto the Ranney campus and was amazed at the beautiful facility and how friendly everyone was; my first thought was that I wished I could have attended a school like this. Our students have the opportunity to learn and grow in a positive environment enabling them to discover and explore their individual talents. The families and faculty are very supportive of the students and the performing arts programs. I also appreciate being able to work with students across divisions even though I teach at the Lower School. Upper School choral students volunteer to mentor our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade chorus students leading them in warm up activities and encouraging them as well as answering questions about the upper grades. Middle and Upper School students volunteer to assist with stage crew and sound/lighting for our Lower School Musical. Our performing arts faculty work together closely; I enjoy seeing the growth of my students as they progress to the Middle and Upper Schools. Coffee Houses (informal student performances) have long been a Ranney tradition for Middle and Upper school students; I initiated the Lower School Coffee House in my third year at Ranney providing an opportunity for 5th grade students to showcase their individual talents in a fall performance. Lower School Chorus students have represented Ranney at the CJMEA (Central Jersey Music Educators Association) Treble Honors Chorus for the past two years which we will continue to do in the upcoming years. I feature a “composer of the month” and Haydn is one of the favorites; students beg to listen to the “Surprise Symphony” so they can pretend to be an audience member in the Classical music period hearing the “surprise” (suddenly loud chord) for the first time. One of my most memorable and rewarding moments at Ranney School was with a student who was painfully shy and quiet who surprisingly wanted to be a Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, Jr. We could barely hear him say his lines at first but as the rehearsals progressed he really had fun with the role, bonded with his castmates, and embraced the theater experience. This student is now in the Upper School and assists with our theater productions as part of the Technical Sound/Lighting Crew. Everyday I am privileged to witness children discovering the joy of music and how it can impact their lives in a positive way.
Mrs. Geene teaches Lower School General Music Beginner through Fifth Grade and Lower School Chorus. Mrs. Geene’s after school advisor activities include Theater Games, Singing Club and directing the Lower School Musical. She has National Board Certification in Early/Middle Childhood Music as well as training in Orff-Schulwerk Levels I and II, iTheatrics, and World Music Drumming. Mrs. Geene, originally from Cleveland, OH, taught music for fourteen years in the Youngstown, OH area and two years at Lafayette School in Chatham, NJ. She received the “Outstanding Arts Teacher Award 2002” from the Youngstown Area Arts Council and is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Phi Delta Kappa International, and American Mensa. She has an extensive performance background having played flute and piccolo in the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, the Warren Chamber Orchestra, and in the All-American Orchestra in Walt Disney World, Florida.