"The hallways of Memorial Middle School in Cedar Grove are alive with the sound of music, even during the summer months." according to Joshua Jongsma, Managing Editor | Verona-Cedar Grove Times.
For the first time, the Cedar Grove Summer Music Academy offered students a chance to hone their instrumental and vocal skills in between school years.
The classes run four days a week and began June 22. The program, which ends July 16, goes for either three hours or six and a half, depending on how many fields of music a student participates in, according to course instructor Cassandra Imperatore.
In its inaugural run, 32 students joined the Summer Music Academy, Imperatore said. It is offered to students of any skill level entering Grades 5-9.
"[The students] have been very involved, they've been really engaged in it," Imperatore told the Times. "They're learning so much."
Prior to this summer, Cedar Grove students would not start band lessons until fifth grade. Many other schools start in fourth grade, Imperatore said, so the summer program allows for local students to close the gap. The lessons include vocal, instrumental and orchestra instruction. The teaching goes beyond performances, though. The participants also learn how to compose music and the theory behind it, as taught by Melissa Hill. Music theory studies the "how and why" that makes up songs or instrumental performances, Hill said.
"It's everything from feeling out the rhythm to writing chords and knowing intervals between notes," Hill said.
In addition to Hill and Imperatore, Bob Savino and Megan Siegel also guide the young musicians in the program. The summer lessons equate to about a half-year's worth of studies, Imperatore said.
"The stuff they're learning now is material that I didn't learn until I was a junior in high school," she continued. "It's really cool."