Mrs. Mertens

Welcome to Mrs. Mertens’ Music Class

Music is….

  • Singing
  • Playing
  • Moving
  • Listening
  • and Creating

Students at North and North Grove have music class once a week for forty minutes. Students study a wide variety of music, including folk music, from both the United States and around the world. They participate in a variety of activities, including playing instruments, listening to music, and dancing. We also use poetry and children’s literature as a foundation for creating music. I am a certified Orff specialist, and I teach your children using the Orff approach. The Orff approach uses speech and movement as well as singing to teach musical concepts, and it places a heavy emphasis on student application and creation.

Students in 4th and 5th grade can choose to join a before-school choir. In addition, 4th grade students may join orchestra and 5th grade students may join band.


I have been teaching in Sycamore since 2004, and I love watching my students grow, mature and use music in a meaningful way in their own life. Your children amaze me with their creativity and insight every single day. I am married to Scott Mertens, who teaches band at Sycamore Middle School, so I guess you could say that music runs in the family.

I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Music Performance and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from Northern Illinois University. I took my Orff Certification levels at George Mason University in Virginia. I play the oboe and the English horn with the Kishwaukee Symphony Orchestra.I am president of the Fox Valley Orff-Schulwerk chapter, and I have served the Illinois Music Educators Association as an EGM representative in the recent past.

Click to find out about the Fox Valley Orff-Schulwerk chapter.


North Grove Elementary Choir

Choir at North Grove is an extracurricular activity for 4th and 5th grade students. We meet on Tuesday mornings from 7:45 a.m.-8:25 a.m. through the school year. We sing at a variety of events and give a few concerts throughout the school year.


Fourth and Fifth Grade Recorder

In Sycamore all students begin learning to play the soprano recorder in their 4th grade general music class. They continue to develop their reading and playing skills on both the soprano and alto recorder through 5th grade in music class. Soprano recorders are available for purchase through the school for $5 from either their music teacher or the online store.

We use a reward system called Recorder Karate. For each new concept, song, or sight-reading mastered, students will earn a belt for their recorder. There are a total of 10 belts that your child can earn in fourth grade. For students who move quickly through the program and earn all 10 belts, we have added bead belts. By the end of fourth grade, every student should have earned at least through their purple belt (white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple).

When a child learns to play an instrument they apply all of the music skills such as reading pitch and rhythm, keeping a steady tempo, improvising, ear training, and learning musical terms as well as being able to be an active participant in the music of a variety of cultures, different eras of history, and many different composers. Your child’s success on recorder will be a part of your child’s skill grade at the end of each semester. As with any academic area in school, your child will need to practice regularly at home to practice new notes and songs that they learn as a part of music class.

Here is the music that students use for their recorder tests at school so you can practice online or print music at home. Paper copies are also available in the music room.  Students should practice five to ten minutes each day.