May 24th, 2012
Jeff Newell, a musician and music historian, teaching the kids about how music of the early 20th century relates to music they may hear today. He has a studio in Vinegar Hill.
Samara Gaev, a NY-based poet and educator, working with the 5th graders to brainstorm as they write (and at the end of the week record) their original songs. Samara is on the board of Project Rhythm, which was founded by Jamin Gilbert, president of Ishlab Music Studio in DUMBO.
Blake Harrison of DUMBO-based Flocabulary, teaching the 2nd graders vocabulary words by rapping about a cat named Biggie. Blake and Alex Rappaport talked to the kids about how music sticks in your head and can help you learn.
(Photos courtesy of Jam On DUMBO)
Jam On DUMBO provided the first Music Week at P.S. 307, five days of music programming for the elementary school’s students, from May 21st to May 25th, 2012.
During Music Week, Jam On DUMBO is bringing more than a dozen musicians, educators and performers to P.S. 307 (209 York Street, Brooklyn). Students will be exposed to different types of music and movement and have the opportunity to explore the importance of music in their own lives.
“We understand the value of children having access to the arts. At a time when budgets are cut so drastically from schools, community partnerships like the one with Jam On DUMBO are crucial,” says P.S. 307 Principal Roberta Davenport. “This event is at the core of what we believe – this idea of expanding the worldview of children, and bringing to them unique experiences that they otherwise wouldn’t have.”
The week culminates in a Friday assembly where the fifth graders will perform their original songs. Funmilayo Chesney, an award-winning Congolese dancer and instructor at the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance, will also perform.
More from the press release after the break.
Although P.S. 307, also known as Daniel Hale Williams Elementary School, is just a five minute walk from DUMBO, the neighborhoods are quite different: The renovated loft apartments, cobblestone streets and luxury stores of DUMBO give way to the high-rise Farragut Houses, a public housing complex that sits on the edge of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Nearly 90% of students at the school qualify for free lunch, so the school is committed to providing a safe, welcoming and nourishing place for students to grow and thrive.
Jam On DUMBO, a grassroots organization (non-profit status pending), was started by local parents in 2010 as a way to provide more family-friendly music programming to the neighborhood and beyond. As part of the organization’s community outreach mission, the founders wanted to engage with children who don’t have access to the same kind of family programming found in more affluent neighborhoods.
“We are so thankful and proud that we have found musicians and performance artists within our community to volunteer their time to make Music Week a magical experience for the kids of P.S. 307,” says Alisha Nissenfeld, founder of Jam On DUMBO. “We share Principal Davenport’s passion to offer the students the joy and inspiration that comes with being exposed to something new and exciting.”
During Music Week, the students of P.S. 307 will meet and work with various musicians and arts organizations including: Project Rhythm, which will work with small groups of fifth graders throughout the week to write and record their own original songs; Jeff Newell, a music historian who will discuss how historic American music has influenced popular music the students hear today; and Amelia Robinson, of Mil’s Trills, who will perform for the pre-kindergartners on her electric ukulele.
“Kids who don’t participate in music at school miss out on developmental advantages in critical thinking,” says Alex Rappaport, CEO of Flocabulary, a DUMBO-based business that will perform its educational hip-hop for P.S. 307’s second graders at Music Week. “Music used to be considered a pillar of a well-rounded education and has sadly fallen to the wayside in an era of teaching to the test. We’re happy to bring a bit of music to a school in our community and raise awareness about an issue we all need to address.”