Music In The Air
While the hum of computers or the high note of a robot extending his electronic arm are the most likely trills to be heard in the technology-based halls of Boys Town Jerusalem, the sound of (real) music is now loud and clear. Thanks to the recent generous gift of Boys Town supporters in Canada, the school’s extracurricular music program has reached a new crescendo, to the delight of the young singers and musicians who take part in the program.
According to Nir Cohen, who has directed the Boys Town musical studies for the past 12 years, the donation has enabled him to replace and expand the existing collection of 20-year-old instruments—and more. “Today we have electric, classical and bass guitars, a keyboard, percussion instruments, trumpets, and a flute. And we’ve installed a state-of-the-art digitalized recording studio in our newly remodeled Music Room, which is the talk of the school for musicians and ‘techies’ alike.”
To complement the school’s intensive academic curriculum of technological and Jewish studies, the extracurricular music program provides students with the welcome opportunity to learn to play an instrument, to sing, and to explore the intricacies of music history and development. “Here, students from seventh through 12th grades can find a totally different realm to express themselves, while gaining the self-confidence and skills that come with the diligence of musical studies,” Nir stresses. “It’s not easy for them to devote their imited free time to music lessons, but the rewards are great.”
In addition to private and group lessons in how to play the various instruments, students are also taught to compose music of their own. “The recording studio will provide an extraordinary boon for our young composers and performers,” he added. In the vocal music realm, top students have been selected to take part in the school’s choir. “Not only do the music students excel in their mastery of the art, but they give of themselves. They are frequently called upon to perform at school assemblies and in community service projects for disabled children or for the elderly, gaining the admiration and respect of the entire student body.”
Nir Cohen, a graduate of the prestigious “Rimon Music Academy,” has extensive experience in vocal and instrumental performance and education. “Music is so important in the lives of Boys Town Jerusalem students,” he declares. “I’ve seen students—especially those from difficult socio- economic environments—begin to learn music here and to practice and to blossom. Everyone notices the change that comes over these young men. Beyond gaining the best technological education at Boys Town, the music program gives them an added gift for life.”