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Herricks Summer Music Program Continues to Flourish

Herricks Summer Music Program continues to flourish

The Herricks Summer Music Program has been underway for the month of July, providing students with many opportunities to strengthen their skills and use their talents creatively.

Initiated in 2010 with 24 participants, the program’s attendance has skyrocketed, with this year’s enrollment of 120 students being the largest yet.

Fourth- through ninth-graders receive several hours of assorted musical experiences five days a week for four weeks. Mornings begin with mindfulness exercises as part of a districtwide focus, and then consist of chorus followed by band or orchestra ensemble rehearsals. Students then break into various sessions based on their interests and instruments.

Summer Music Program

Electives are offered to broaden the range of musical learning and practice, while small-group lessons enable students to study with instructors on a more individualized basis. Students are learning melodies and chords in the guitar elective, while the musical theater class is preparing to present “Sound of Music.” The Rock Band group learns to play modern songs with improvisation elements. The World Music class has kept busy exploring instruments from Ghana, Liberia, South Africa, Latin America, Canada and other areas.

This year’s program includes a new development; a Chamber Music component that is being piloted to help prepare advanced students to perform for broader audiences. Through this initiative, seventh- and eighth-grade students have been strengthening the school-community connection by bringing their talents to the Herricks Community Center and Summer Recreation Program.

All of the instructors are professional music educators, while members of the Herricks High School Tri-M Music Honor Society volunteer as counselors. Many of these Tri-M members completed the Summer Music Program themselves in their earlier years and now share their enthusiasm and expertise with their peers at the elementary and middle school levels.

Class of 2016 graduate Andrew Jacobson said, “It’s so rewarding to come back and teach these kids.” A total of four Herricks alumni have returned as volunteers.

“It’s great having the students play every day and the improvement is amazing,” said teacher Alicia Brown.

The program instills within students a deep appreciation for the world of music. Guests including a bagpipe musician and jazz artists have performed for the students.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Kailen McCauley said of the program. “We get to spend time with friends and meet a lot of teachers who tell us what to improve. It really helps us to be better.”