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Program Spotlight | Digital Music Composition at The McKinley School

The Boston Music Project is committed to ensuring that students have access to a wide range of music-making opportunities with the support and attention of our exceptional teaching artists. Beginning in the fall of 2021, BMP began a Digital Music Composition Residency at Boston’s McKinley School to provide digital music composition classes and advanced music production instruction. The McKinley Schools, located in Boston’s South End & Fenway neighborhoods, are four schools in one focused on providing special education for students in 6th through 12th grade.

We recently sat down with the students of the McKinley program and Josh Wareham, BMP Digital Technology Specialist & Teaching Artist, to ask them about their experience and see how their digital music projects are going.

How/why is music important to you?

Elijah: "For me, music is therapeutic. It's both a way to destress and also an outlet to talk about the things going on in my life."

Raquan: "Music is my passion."

Omar: "Music helps me relax, and it's my passion. I've been producing music for the last 3 years."

"The students at McKinley are incredibly enthusiastic, engaged, and talented when it comes to writing and producing their own music.” - Josh Wareham

Students at the McKinley working hard on their digital music compositions.

Currently, the program at the McKinley school is limited to only one computer shared by all students during the two 50-minute sessions each week. We asked them how having individual computers would enhance their music-making and experience with the program.

Elijah: "I want to learn how to mix and improve my music hands-on, and having my own computer to work on will allow me to learn more in each session."

Raquan: "I want to learn how to make my own beats, and then write and record my own lyrics over them. Having my own computer would help me be able to do all three of these things in each session."

Omar: "Having my own computer would give me the space and time to focus on my music, so that it can be as good as I want it to be."

Josh: "The students at McKinley are incredibly enthusiastic, engaged, and talented when it comes to writing and producing their own music. One of the beautiful things about this is that they each have very personal and individual approaches to the music they want to make, and also how they want to make it. Currently, we are limited to one shared computer during each of our two 50-minute sessions each week. Because of this, each student only gets a portion of that session to focus on their own projects. The potential for what these students can create is huge, and the only thing holding them back is access to resources.”

Providing each student with their own computer would remove the barrier to access that they currently face, tripling the productivity of our sessions and allow them to achieve exponentially greater levels of musical, personal, and emotional growth." -Josh Wareham

Check out this sneak peak of the McKinley students current projects!

Want to hear more? Check out the Eleventh Moon Project by McKinley students in collaboration with Ensemble Mik Nawooj from the 2020-2021 school year.

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