Music matters

Tuxedo Park. Students at the Tuxedo Park School flourish under the instruction of Todd Schietroma.

07 Dec 2020 | 11:15

You may have seen the Tuxedo Park School Bands and Music Ensembles rocking out on our Instagram or Facebook (if you haven’t, check them out!).

Despite the challenges and changes in 2020, Director of Bands and Performing Arts Todd Schietroma, has pivoted to socially distanced outdoor rehearsals. The students are still highly engaged, learning new instruments and grooving like never before in TPS’s backyard.

At Tuxedo Park School, music lessons begin as early as Pre-K so that when they enter fourth grade, they can join the band and, later, additional elective ensembles in 7th grade.

‘I can’t believe I can play this’

From the Tropical Music Ensemble to the Rock and Jazz group, Junk-Orkestra and the African and Brazilian Percussion ensembles, Mr. Schietroma provides students extensive opportunities to engage with music.

“My favorite part of teaching the elective ensembles is teaching students to play new instruments and watching them progress from, ‘How do I play this instrument?’ to ‘I can’t believe I can play this instrument and it’s so much fun’ in only two short months,” Schietroma said. “Student input and suggestions are encouraged during the creative process and typically have a huge impact on the overall performance of the group. But greater than the results of the performance is the empowerment and raised self-esteem that a student feels when they realize that their voice and point of view is valued.”

How Schietroma introduce students to so many genres?

He models it first by playing multiple instruments including percussion, piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, clarinet, ukulele, steel drums, brass, strings and the recorder, and then by having a genuine love for his craft.

‘The family business’

For the last nine years, TPS students have flourished under the instruction of Schietroma. He believes his talent and passion for music comes from the long line of music educators in his family.

“I guess you could call it the family business,” he said. “After years of working as a composer, composing music for the Olympics, Xbox and numerous commercials, there was still something missing. Teaching was always in my blood and I was fortunate to come to TPS and focus on my passion as an educator. There is nothing like the thrill of working with young students and watching them develop their musicianship and love of music.”

Music matters at Tuxedo Park School and during this time of many adjustments, the normalcy of hearing melodies in the air brings a sense of joy and calm to students on a daily basis.