On an early December morning, students in Melissa d’Aliberti’s sixth-grade band class had the opportunity to see and hear how music can be a universal language. The informal morning performance wasn’t your typical performance. Students didn’t perform for parents and grandparents. Instead, the band performed for an audience that lived thousands of miles away in a town in Poland.
In the summer of 2018, d’Aliberti participated in a Fine Arts English Immersion program in Otwock, Poland. It was this experience that fostered the idea of sharing the love of music and to teach her students that we have many commonalities with others throughout the world. The Skype Exchange and Pen Pal programs were born.
The Skype exchange took place in the band room at Main Street School. With a click of a mouse, students from Main Street were introduced to students from School No. 2 Romuald Traugutt in Jozefow, Poland. After an introduction, the Polish students sang a traditional Polish folk song. Main Street students performed the musical piece, “Camptown Races.” Students then were given the opportunity to participate in a question-and-answer session.
The Skype exchange isn’t a revolutionary form of technology. It has been used for some time and for many reasons.
For this short amount of time in December, the Skype exchange was a powerful and effective tool. It brought together students from half a world away to discuss music and life. For many of us, we never had the opportunity to travel to foreign countries or to ask others about how they live. Technology has made it easier to communicate with others throughout the world. For those of us who participated in the traditional Pen Pal program, the idea of Skyping is still amazing.
From Norwalk, Ohio to Jozefow, Poland, music is a universal language. Indeed, it’s a small world after all.
Local columnist Dan Bauman is the Main Street School principal.