One of the biggest transformations we saw this year was with the introduction of new opportunities for our students to interact musically. Last fall our new music teacher Ulysses Torres requested funding to purchase acoustic guitars, ukuleles, a keyboard and a drum set. With these new instruments, Mr. Torres throughout the school year has been able to expose all GUFS students to a methodology known as “Music as a Second Language”, a student-centered approach to music education that teaches children to play the popular musical styles such as pop/rock/hip-hop and also how to improvise and compose their own original music in Modern Band ensembles.
If you attended this year’s Spring Concert, you not only saw talented percussion ensembles as part of the long-standing wonderful work that Chris Hughes has been doing with GUFS elementary and middle school percussionists to study chamber music, but also full bands and choirs under the guidance of Mr. Torres. Additionally, there was another very impressive and new dimension to the evening. For the first time, students were allowed to choose and perform their own songs along with the traditional teacher-selected repertoire. This initiative was a result of Mr. Torres opening his music room during his lunchtime for students to orchestrate and rehearse these pieces.
This video shows talented 7th grade students Evelyn Higbee, Allison Rimm, Ella Schweizer and Eva Turko performing one of these pieces at GCEF’s Spring Thaw this year with instruments purchased from the Modern Band grant. Thank you GCEF donors!