Music At Your Core

Dear Friends -

The first time I visited Randolph School I was totally unprepared for my first sight of the amphitheater. I nearly let out a whoop of joy as I realized what I was looking at. The beautiful concentric stonework was dusted with the orange and yellow leaves of fall, and it felt as if I had entered a sacred space, hewn from the earth and utterly timeless. It is a space in which one could easily imagine druids gathering, centaurs playing, and Greek philosophers circling in debate and contemplation. It has a wondrous magic.

The Upstairs held it’s annual Spring Show in the amphitheater last Thursday, staring down the threat of rain and performing a wonderful series of skits, songs, dances, and musical numbers that they had largely written on their own. The show was a culmination of the year’s work with our music teacher, Gina Samardge, who brings her own magic touch to teaching music at Randolph. Gina invites her students to dive into the tones and rhythms that surround us and which combine to create music. The kids stomp and dance out rhythms, using their entire body as a means of expressing the music within them. They joyfully and fearlessly improvise on their instruments. They playfully rearrange familiar songs like Frere Jacque, writing their own witty verses: “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I am bored! I am bored!” They use shakers, bells, glockenspiels, and whistles to help express themselves more fully in the language of music.

Gina’s music program with both our Upstairs and Downstairs students is in perfect harmony with our overall approach to education. We are building a foundation of skills and attitudes that will serve our kids in all their endeavors after leaving Randolph. Whatever our students are involved in, we know that if they are engaged, supported, and guided in their independent and collaborative explorations, and nurtured in their social/emotional growth, they will move forward in life with confidence and skill.

Gina’s students have been deep in the study and exploration of what it means and feels like to have music at your core. The creativity and joy that comes out of that process was on full display Friday. I think if I looked hard enough, I could have found some gnomes and fairies dancing and smiling from the cracks and crevices of the amphitheatre as they performed.

Be well,

Ben


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