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Behind the scenes of United Sound

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Image courtesy of Natalie Ramos
Fatima Cruz (12) shows Michelangelo Gutierrez (11) keys on the concert marimba.

Musically advanced students at Segerstrom High School are helping Special Ed students have the opportunity to learn instruments, making an impact on their everyday lives by expanding their palate to new creative activities.

Behind the scenes of Segerstrom High School’s United Sound, band director Raul Garcia holds a class with students, who have prior experience with instruments, to help the Special Ed students become new musicians.  

“One of the reasons that make this program unique is that the new musicians pick the instrument that they want to play… with the help of the special ed teacher, they would pick instruments that would fit that particular student and their particular strengths,” Garcia explains.

Not only does he provide the teaching strategies and the materials for this program, but he incorporates what the new musicians prefer to do rather than forcing them to play something they don’t want to.

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“So if they [pick] clarinet, we teach them how to play around one or two notes and then we teach them some rhythms and then combine what they can learn and integrate it with the music that we select for them,” Garcia elaborates.

Throughout the remainder of the school year, the advanced students help the new musicians learn the instrument they’re assigned based on what the students have knowledge of. For example, if you are a trombone player and have some experience with the instrument, you will most likely be put with a new musician who is yearning to learn the instrument.

“It’s a little difficult sometimes because you have to be patient with them… but I enjoy helping especially if they want to do something new that could be hard for them,” says Steven Almeda (11), a trumpet player at Segerstrom.

This program is held during homeroom periods, and the advanced students who choose to be a part of this program usually do it by decision. This being their decision whether or not they are willing to give up their homeroom classes for this program shows the commitment and dedication they are willing to give to teach these new musicians.

“We try to do one [concert] per semester…so they’ll be in the Winter concert, this Fall, and then in the Spring concert with the band,” Garcia adds.

With this, Garcia concludes with the dates of when these new musicians will be performing and hopes to enlighten them and their family members who are proud to see their child perform alongside other students.

“We try to really teach them the general aspect and enlightenment of music,” Garcia concludes.

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Natalie Ramos, Pollster, Staff Writer

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  • B

    Bushra SyedDec 20, 2023 at 11:34 am

    You did an amazing job on your story, Natalie! I loved that you wrote about something connecting two groups of students on campus through a shared appreciation for music. It’s great to see how this opportunity has reflected a sense of community within our school.

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  • J

    Joshua VuDec 20, 2023 at 11:26 am

    With such a unique topic, I was really surprised by it. I am glad you wrote an article on this. And for this to be one to focus on our Band and Special Education is phenomenal. It is commendable journalistic reporting.

    Reply