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Eastchester Middle School Students Delve Deeper Into Music and Discover More About Themselves

When the pandemic struck, and health guidelines prevented singing in class, Eastchester Middle School Choral instructor Erin Bonner had to pivot quickly. Bonner invented and implemented several programs to spark student interest last March and expounded on those ideas this school year.

“I wanted to enrich my students’ understanding of music,” said Bonner. “Even though we could not sing together, I felt it was important for them to gain some fundamental knowledge about music and music production.”

She created a project called “The Soundtrack of My Life,” where students chose a song they could relate to from each year of their lives. The middle schoolers range in age from about  11-13 years old.

Seventh grader Dior Gueye reflected on her choices. “I realized how much I had changed as a person. You really think about who you were, and that changes your perspective on your younger self.”

The students expected a different experience from their class, and even though they could not perform at the Winter and Spring Concerts, these new class projects offered a silver lining. “It is really cool to see the deeper meaning of a song,” remarked Abigail Seminara. “Before, I did not go deep into music and how songs make you feel.”

Sophia Porpora now sees music as a story. “I chose songs from summer that reminded me of playing with my sister and parents.” Sophia is contemplating a career in acting and at her age understands how music could play a role.

Bonner coordinated virtual visits with people that work in the music industry, like an opera conductor, a Broadway ticket sales coordinator, cruise ship sound engineer, instrument sales representative, and performing artist, to provide students different avenues to learn more about the music industry.