A bow and a bond: Musical program connecting students through strings


A bow and a bond: Musical program connecting students through strings

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WOODSTOCK, Ill. — A Woodstock Middle School is using strings to connect their students.

Creekside Middle School is one of only four schools in the state trying it the program called United Sound.

“I think that’s the most magical part, is just watching them feel successful and the joy they are creating through music,” Creekside Orchestra teacher Lyndra Bastian said.

For one hour every Friday, the 8th grade string students are paired with Life Skills students to play, collaborate and connect.

“We become more understanding people because all of these kids have different ability levels and they’re still learning all these instruments,” 8th grader Mackenzie Green said.

Mackenzie is paired with budding violinist Luca, who joyfully delights in each new sound resonating from his bow.

“It makes me feel really good just to help him do something he really loves,” Mackenzie said.

Life Skills teacher Natia Hong has already seen how happy the program makes her students, not just because they are learning to play a string instrument, but for those kids to feel like they are included and part of something outside the Life Skills classroom.

“They learn they really aren’t that different and I think that’s what’s so beautiful about this program,” Hong said.

For Luca, the only downside of United Sound was having to turn over his violin at the end of every session.

“After seeing him try to sneak it out of the classroom week after week, I decided to fix up one of our older violins so he too would have one to take home and practice,” Mackenzie said.

The sweet gift left Luca smiling ear to ear and he showed off his new violin to his friends and teacher.

Music touches us all differently inside. At Creekside, it bonded kids from different classrooms.

“The fact that Mackenzie was thinking about Luca outside of practice time is just so heartwarming and touching,” Hong said.

A beautifully blended score of “united sound.”