On Tuesday, March 27th, Education Through Music joined with educators, community members, government officials, and students to celebrate the opening of the new music technology lab at Hunts Point Middle School M.S. 424 in the Bronx. This state-of-the-art classroom is the second of its kind at an ETM partner school, and is the most advanced music technology lab in New York City public schools. The launch coincided with the final week of "Music in Our Schools Month" and represented how technology can be incorporated into general music instruction to engage middle school students.
Following a casual meet-and-greet, attendees were invited to take a seat in the lab's "listening lounge" area for opening remarks. New York City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo highlighted the power of what can be accomplished when community members work together. She urged listeners to remember that, "Projects like this throughout the city are the result of partnership at the very grassroots level of our community residents, their schools, and organizations like Education Through Music."
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. also noted the impact of strategic partnerships and planning among officials and educators, and added that, by making music education a priority, "we can make sure that these kids who are living through challenges can satisfy their appetite for knowledge."
Attendees moved to the computer stations where ETM Director of Programs Peter Pauliks tasked them with creating an original, 16-measure composition with four different instrument tracks. Anticipating the challenges of this assignment, a class of sixth-grade students came to the rescue and paired up with the adults to complete the project. M.S. 424 students have had general music class in the lab three times per week since February, and they were able to share how much they have already learned about the software and components of music composition with their partner. Groups then showcased their skills by playing their compositions for the entire class.
After the sounds and beats of the creative pieces had faded, Principal John Hughes' words from earlier that morning seemed to reverberate in the music technology classroom: "We believe that the students in Hunts Point are entitled to every bit as good an education as you get any place else. Our kids deserve that." Students and attendees alike headed off with smiles on their faces and pride in their music-making accomplishments.
ETM thanks Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo and the Bronx Borough President for funding the music technology lab, and we are grateful to the Emily Davie and Joseph S. Kornfeld Foundation and the New York Community Trust for supporting our continuing partnership with M.S. 424.