Music Education and Innovation in Tarrytowns Public Schools
WL Morse and John Paulding music teacher Jeffrey Mizen, who has a background in musical theater and recently joined the district, challenges students to not only become better musicians, but also better learners. At Morse, Mr. Mizen implemented the music and the brain Program, a product of the nonprofit Building for the Arts to complete their course.
The goals of the program are to have students read and analyze musical notation, think more critically, and play music with confidence and joy. The program includes piano lessons for all students, which Mr. Mizen guides with great enthusiasm as they use the 20 keyboards in the room. Students also enjoy the ability to move to the beat of the music and sometimes even use their bodies to tap various notes. Mr. Mizen says the insertion movement keeps students active and focused. Additionally, he has his students learn songs in different languages to provide mini-introductions to new cultures. Recently, Mr. Mizen created his own video to introduce students to a Japanese song, then based a cultural lesson around it, focusing on the different sounds and instruments used.
Regardless of the lesson plan for the day, the most important thing for Jeffrey as a teacher is that all students are involved and feel able to participate, including those with special educational needs.
“I believe it’s extremely important to bring music to all of our students,” Jeffrey said. “Some who may learn differently in the classroom come here and participate like everyone else – and I often see how much they appreciate the music and the movement.”
At the secondary level, students have the opportunity to perform in various bands, orchestras and choirs. Students also have a wide range of musical electives to choose from, including guitar, ukulele, and music production. Each year, students are invited to participate in the All-County and All-State sets. For several years, SHHS has partnered with two highly reputable local organizations to offer a residency program.
“music friends” is a voluntary non-profit organization made up of extremely talented artists. They support music education by programming young professional ensembles to work with Westchester Public School students. This spring, their one-day residency program will provide even more opportunities for our students to participate in classes and performances throughout the day.
the Hudson Valley Symphony Wind Ensemble, an adult community ensemble, has been in residence at Sleepy Hollow High School since 2009. This group of talented musicians aims to instill pride in our nation and our heritage and nurture a love of music by providing an experience exceptional music to people of all ages. Each year, as part of the residency, students from the Sleepy Hollow High School group have the opportunity to perform in this professional ensemble.