That’s because Mr. Derby’s plan has always been to turn his music room into a professionally-equipped music studio where his students could come to effectively release their inner musical muses.
Fortunately for Mr. Derby – and his students – through a grant funded by Mamaroneck Schools Foundation, that is exactly what he has created. The PACE Computer Music Studio includes seven music stations, several keyboards, synthesizers, microphones – and Macintosh Apple computers with their unique software programs like GarageBand, Pro Tools, and Sibelius.
With all this equipment, Mr. Derby says, “This studio has revolutionized music education at Mamaroneck High School. Students of all levels and backgrounds are working with music in ways that are simply impossible in most music classrooms. They’re recording, composing, arranging and notating. This is Mac-made music at its best!”
Not surprisingly, student response has been overwhelming. For instance, junior Saulito Barrios discussed the excitement of working with the new equipment. “I don’t have a Mac at home,” he says, “but these new ones have taught me different things about music that I hadn’t known. I really like GarageBand because it has so many different sounds/beats/instruments to make music.”
For senior Carlos Chinchilla, working in the Music Studio is like “working backstage in a concert, giving birth to music projects that will develop into fabulous performances. All the equipment helps us, the musicians, create our magic backstage.”
Junior Jake Feinman explained that the new technology available in the studio helped him “gain a deeper understanding of musical composition and of compilation in particular,” explaining that these are skills that few students at other schools have a chance to develop.
The joy and excitement of creativity runs unobstructed throughout the Computer Music Studio as students take random, exploratory notes and sounds and experiment with them through their myriad computer instruments until they’ve succeeded in making music that is completely their own. And, most importantly, is able to stand on its own in public performance.
To emphasize this last point, Mr. Derby noted that several of his students’ music compositions were recently presented in “Soundscapes”, the first musical production of the school year for PACE students. And his final thought was unequivocal: “The PACE Computer Music Studio turns music-loving students into music-making pros! All I can say is ‘how ’bout them Apples!’
Which was a sentiment clearly echoed by senior Stephanie Tunic. “The new equipment has enriched my learning experience. I can express myself easier and more efficiently, and it has given me a greater understanding of how to put a piece of music together.”
Sounds a lot like nirvana.
Mamaroneck Schools Foundation is a non-profit volunteer community organization that provides public schools in the Larchmont/Mamaroneck district with supplemental funds for innovative programs, materials, equipment, and enhanced facilities not provided for in the regular school budget. For more information, call 914-698-9079 or visit www.mamaroneckschoolsfoundation.org.