High School band trip examines musical excellence and enriching careers at unique Disney World music program

Kids at Disney world

The High School Band’s quadrennial trip to Orlando, which took place May 19 to 23, gave students a unique opportunity to experience music making with Disney World music professionals while reinforcing to students that lucrative careers are attainable to support their love for music.

The students were paired with a Disney World musician who worked with them in workshop called “Soundtrack Sessions: You’re Instrumental,” which also included examining the skills, attitudes and priorities that are essential to musical excellence.

students playing musicFor over two hours, students focused on sight-reading and preparing music as if students were in a real Disney World recording session. After sight-reading a few different Disney tunes, band members decided they wanted to record themselves performing music from  Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”

At the performance’s conclusion, Disney recording engineers took students’ audio performance, and used it to score an animated short of “The Little Mermaid.”

students playing music“Overall, this experience was very empowering to the students, and showed them that there is a lot more to music than just playing their instrument and practicing; the field of music is vast, between performing, conducting, being a studio musician, as well recording and producing for film and television,” said band director Matthew Christy, who oversaw the trip along with band teacher colleagues Thomas Stickney and Joseph Horner.  “This was an eye opening experience, and many of the students felt that this was something they’ll never forget.”

Senior and drum major Emily Haber added: “It was a really positive, immersive experience for the band students to participate in. It showed more musical aspects outside of school, as well as demonstrating different fields and opportunities within music.”

students at UniversalThe trip offered many teachable moments.

“As a high school teacher, our goal is to get students college and career ready,” added Mr. Christy. “Through this workshop, students were able to experience and observe other opportunities for careers in the music field; specifically within the music industry. Students learned that they don’t just have to play or teach music, but that there are many other fields within the music industry that are STEAM-based careers.”

The group also took time to visit Disney World, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.