Usually a quiet place over the summer, Jericho High School has been illuminated by the voices and instruments of almost 50 fifth-and-sixth graders.
The first-ever edition of Jericho Summer Music is underway.
Between July 5 and July 28, kids go to the high school to practice music while having lots of fun. Jericho’s curriculum associate for music Ruth Breidenbach said. “We realized that this would be a great opportunity for our students to continue learning music over the summer.”
From 9 a.m. to 12 a.m., the students will have opportunities to practice their instruments either in band or orchestra and sing in the chorus.
“Using research from other programs, we designed a daily schedule so that students would get the most out of their summer,” said Breidenbach.
Some of Jericho’s full-time music teachers chose to spend their summer supporting the music program; they play an important role in making sure the kids learn, and enjoy the music. Orchestra Teacher Michael Lee said. “They sing through the music, they look at the music, they read the music, they interact with the music. I try to hit different aspects of their learning to make sure that people who learn in different ways have a chance to learn the music.”
Originally, Jericho Summer Music was planned for next summer, but through the work of Jericho music teachers and Breidenbach, plus the support of central administration, the program was able to happen this summer.
Sixteen Jericho High School students also volunteer their time, serving as interns who assist in teaching the kids. One of the reasons why high school senior Eric Liu helps is “to see little kids grow and progress with their instruments, especially people who are only starting.”
Another benefit is the experience high schoolers are gaining by teaching music to younger students. High schooler Allison Tae said, “It’s kind of like a glimpse into what it’s like to be a music teacher.”
Because Jericho Summer Music is coming along really nicely, Jericho aims to expand the program to more students in more grades. Breidenbach said, “We made it available to our rising fifth-and-sixth graders, but we want to keep the kids who are in the program this year. So perhaps next year, our rising sixth-graders could remain in the program as rising seventh-graders.”
The kids agreed that they love being able to see their friends every day at a time when they normally wouldn’t. “Everyone rolls up with smiles on their faces and the kids never want to leave,” said Breidenbach.
Jericho Summer Music will end July 28. At that time, the students will perform the songs they learned at the high school. All are welcome.