Fifteen members of the Westfield High School orchestra traveled to Disney World in Orlando over spring break to participate in a unique workshop that culminated in a polished recording in a professional studio, as the WHS ensemble performed special Disney music selections, accompanied by footage from a classic Disney film.

The “You’re Instrumental” workshop – part of the Disney Performing Arts Workshop series for which students paid their way by fundraising in advance  – examined a number of skills to “increase musical and technical proficiency,” including sight-reading.

“Our students were able to read through the Disney music catalog and perform with an experienced Disney clinician,” says WHS orchestra director Craig Stanton who, with Roosevelt Intermediate School orchestra director Brice Freeman, accompanied the WHS students on the trip.  “As part of “You’re Instrumental,” students were given a tutorial and hands-on professional recording session environment.  At the end of the workshop, they were able to record and hear themselves as the backing instrumentals to an actual Disney movie clip.”

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Additional skills introduced/reinforced during the workshop included:

  • Incorporating accuracy and expressiveness to maximize rehearsal productivity;
  • Emphasizing intonation, balance and tone quality, while following the conductor’s interpretation;
  • Discussing the requirements of a studio recording environment and what is expected of performers; and
  • Experiencing what life is like for a professional studio musician.

“It was a fantastic experience for all involved,” adds Stanton.