Adopt-a-School Project Spawns 'Record Label,' College Dreams
Audio production students, the recording lab supervisor and faculty members have helped rock Oswego Middle School since last fall, working with a music teacher and eighth-graders to roll out 13 bands and an in-school recording company, Buc Records — all the while showing the students the benefits of college and careers.
The second year of an Adopt-a-School partnership with Oswego Middle School has raised the goals and expectations for eighth-graders and college students alike, and produced a wealth of positive learning outcomes all around, said Dan Wood, supervisor of the SUNY Oswego music department’s recording lab.
“Buc Records is an in-school ‘company,’ but we’ve modeled it on the music industry,” said Wood, who has assisted middle school teacher Paula McKenney-Myers M ’13 with her classes of eager musicians and composers and a classroom full of state-of-the-art recording equipment. “There is a marketing division, composers, bands. The bands will even have a CD release party for parents, friends and other fans.”
McKenney-Myers and Wood said that in 2010-11, the first year of the Oswego Middle School-SUNY Oswego partnership, the goal was to interact in general music classes. This year, in a project titled “Recording Our Future,” students are learning about composing music and lyrics, promoting their songs, learning to use the midi lab and other technology, publishing a wiki and marketing the CD release party.
“They get a feel for careers in studio recording, managing bands, marketing bands, advertising, public relations and composition,” McKenney-Myers said. “They’re learning about how music affects their lives. Music is everywhere. They’re being marketed to all the time.”
When the college’s School of Communication, Media and the Arts was forming in spring 2008, faculty supported Adopt-a-School as one way to “give back” to public school colleagues whose art and music programs and budgets often sustained cuts, said Julie Pretzat, associate dean of the school.
“The arts, we feel, communicate across boundaries,” Pretzat said. As younger students interact with college students—including a visit to SUNY Oswego’s recording and midi labs and other facilities during the semester—the schoolchildren can start to see themselves as college students. And, she added, the college students, some of whom never had considered teaching as a career, can see that they make a difference.
Greg Horning ’12, a music major who is interested in pursuing audio production as a career, concurs. “When I was this age exactly, my teacher gave me recording software,” Horning said. “No one told me I could do that as a profession someday. I get to teach these recording systems to kids who will actually know how to use them when they get to college.”
⎯ Jeff Rea ’71
PHOTO CAPTION: SUNY Oswego music major Greg Horning ’12, right rear, monitors a midi recording station at Oswego Middle School as he, 13-year-old eighth-grader Michael Woolworth (in headphones) and Oswego Middle School music teacher Paula McKenney-Myers M ’13, left, listen to Jacob Johnson, foreground, setting the tempo for an upcoming recording of a song Johnson and Woolworth composed.
Back to March front page • Next story: GENIUS Olympiad • Previous story: March Matchness