Naylor Students Share Music and Art Projects in Documentary

Naylor Students Share Music and Art Projects in Documentary

Earlier this academic year, students at Naylor School joined forces with peers from a school in Vermont to participate in a unique enrichment program. Their joint creations, which consisted of personal poems put to music, are highlighted in a documentary completed this spring.

The program, Music and Poetry Synchronized (MAPS), brings together middle and high school students from urban and suburban schools to combine poetry and music into performance pieces. Students in the program come from different geographic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds, and meet a few times a year to develop their projects in preparation for a public concert.

Each MAPS class takes place through a partnership with two different schools in two different states. The urban school creates poetry, and the suburban or rural school collaborates to turn the poetry into music.

This year, the COVID-19 pandemic and school closings prevented the teams from Naylor and U-32 Middle and High School in Montpelier, Vermont, from performing their planned spring concert.  But it did not stop the students is Laura Gray’s music class at Naylor from sharing their art in a documentary and forthcoming book.

In the half-hour documentary, 11 poems made into 9 songs are presented. The small student groups use a range of instruments, their own voices, slide shows, and other tools to perform their works. Students addressed issues such as bullying, violence, as well as lighter topics in their pieces.

“Being in MAPS made us feel more confident about the songs we were making,” said Alex of Naylor Middle School. “After the performance I felt better about myself and felt better about how I did it with the group.” He’d recommend the program to others.

“It’s been really great for students to take a step out of their comfort zone and take on something that they might not otherwise have a chance to do,” said Gray. “They’ve used this opportunity to really showcase their thoughts and their ideas. By collaborating with others, they’re really utilizing some skills that they’ll need as they get older to work together with all different kinds of people from different backgrounds while working together for common goals.”


Watch the video:

CT Interviews (v5) from Hartford Public Schools on Vimeo.


Learn more about MAPS program at Naylor.