Blue Creek students tune up

From hip-hop to reggae, the students at Blue Creek Elementary School love music. In fact, they love it so much, they wanted to be a part of it.

Tricia Carlson, a teacher at Blue Creek in North Colonie, had heard about a program in which Brian Chaevalier, a singer/songwriter from Glens Falls, goes to schools as part of the Capital Region Arts and Education program. Chaevalier teaches children about music and the steps that go into producing an album.

While this is a first for a program like this at Blue Creek, it was previously done at the Glenmont schools in Bethlehem, where Carlson's child took part in the process of putting together a musical CD. Thinking her own students would enjoy the program, Carlson called Chaevalier and asked him if he would come to Blue Creek.

First, Chaevalier met with the teachers of each grade to discuss what was current in what the students were learning.

Lately, there has been a lot of focus on character education, said Carlson, who said the school decided to focus on that, which involves morality characteristics such as respect, responsibility, perseverance and honesty.

From there, the children in all grades of the elementary school got to work together, by grade, to develop songs of meaning to them.

According to Chaevalier, the kids participated in every step of songwriting, from brainstorming to creating a "sloppy copy," to revising, to editing and then the final copy.

"I go in and I write with the kids, we brainstorm the general idea of the song, and we kind of get a structure of the song," he said.

For example, Chaevalier said, say the song is about respect, "I describe how I show it at home, how I show it at school, how I show it around me " each of those things might be a verse."

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