Sometimes a piece of news falls across your desk or your computer monitor and makes your day. This is one of those cases and we had to share! It is evidence of the power of music as a communicator and the value of music education in our schools.
A small K‐8 independent school in Sausalito, California has released its first album in 9 different languages! Students at New Village School recorded 25 songs at Bob Weir's TRI Studios, located in San Rafael, last month. The studio, run by Weir of The Grateful Dead, usually caters to rock stars and the musical elite, but for this particular project, the red carpet was rolled out for a batch of kids that love to sing. Some of the kids even played guitar and drums! Who knows – they could be the talent of tomorrow! It's an event like this that becomes permanently etched in their minds and keeps them connected to music and could arouse their interest in music as a career.
The students recorded folk songs, tribal tunes and traditional numbers from across the globe under the tutelage of Teaching Team leader Meinir Davies. The album is titled The New Village School Sings.
The disc was released with an accompanying documentary, which traces the genesis, development and execution of the project.
So often we hear about music education programs being chopped from public school curriculums, but TRI is committed to keeping music at the forefront for the students. The school is also (and obviously) steadfastly dedication to that concept. Every morning, students sing together, starting in kindergarten, so a relationship with music is naturally and fully fostered. In mid-December, Weir's team at TRI invited the New Village School to record many of the songs which the children sing each morning, upping the cool and fun factor of a daily routine.
After hearing the children sing at a recent school assembly, the parents were so moved and impressed that they decided to record a few songs for a CD. A small project soon ballooned to something bigger, as all students from grades 1 through 7 found themselves inside the state‐of‐the‐art performance studios in San Rafael.
"If you watch a little child play who is happy and carefree, the chance is that they will be humming to themselves. What they hum are not even necessarily songs, it is just an expression of being happy," Davies said, anchoring music's inevitable tie to mood.
The album includes songs in Spanish, French, Japanese, three African languages and English. Davies pointed out that singing in many languages keeps flexibility alive and allows the child to experience that the world names its cares, its joys, its tragedies in different ways but we all have cares, joys and tragedies," referring to the fact that a child is born with the capacity to form sounds in many languages.
Didn't that story just make your day? Music is the universal language and this initiative works to further than unassailable fact. It is certainly a model of inspiration for schools, both public and private, to follow.
Do you want to hear The New School Village School Sings?
May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you