BY LOUIS DENNIN
Volunteers from the CCHS Sound of Pride visited Pioneer Middle School from spring break through April to tutor students in Pioneer’s band, readying them for their upcoming spring concert.
The tutoring was offered to all members of the Pioneer band. The rehearsals were scheduled for after school at 3:30 pm and typically lasted an hour or two.
“It greatly benefits the middle school students because they get additional help on their instrument and other opportunities to practice their music,” Pioneer’s band director Richard Uhler said. “It also allows middle schoolers to connect to high schoolers.”
Musicians from the Sound of Pride met one-on-one with an individual Pioneer band member or with small groups of musicians.
“I enjoyed it a lot,” sophomore tutor Zara Schlimowitz said. “We worked on the kids understanding of what they’re doing, if they don’t understand what they’re doing then they’ll never do it right.”
Different tutoring methods were used by each of the Sound of Pride members, but the ultimate goal was the same, to help Pioneer’s band unlock their true potential and work out difficulties with their music before the Spring concert on May 20. The students who consistently attended tutoring sessions greatly improved on their playing.
“I helped them understand the music’s story,” Schlimowitz said. “If you don’t know what the music’s story is, then how are you going to play it?”
In addition to helping out the middle school students, the Sound of Pride benefited too. Attending these events is a way the high school can recruit incoming students into their own band. It also allows them to exercise leadership skills, which the aspiring officers of the band need to be successful. This mutual relationship between the two bands ultimately leads to a healthier musical program.
“They’re the foundation of our bands future,” Schlimowitz said. “The middle schoolers will come into high school with an idea of how the program works. They gain work ethic and a feeling of camaraderie and they feel like they’re part of the Sound of Pride.”
Working side by side, the ensembles of Cooper City High and Pioneer Middle look at the road ahead. While learning music is difficult, they see a bright future for both bands and plan to continue striving for excellence.
“When I was in middle school I was tutored by the high school’s band.” freshman tutor Sarah Reading said. “Helping them now is a way I can give back.”