New Sounds

Music Tech students create new sounds for school bells

“I wanted a soothing, peaceful sound between classes, not something that made me feel rushed,” said Kiera Ellison, a senior in John Jay’s Music Technology sequence. So, she created one!

Her bell tone, a broken F major chord spanning two octaves, is now played 17 times a day to signal the beginning and end of almost all nine periods. Listen to it here. 

The change is a fun example of the student-centered approach at John Jay High School, which prioritizes  student choice and the opportunity to take on leadership roles, even concerning four-second auditory decisions.

Created in Music Technology

A new bell system implemented last summer opened up the opportunity to rethink the school’s bells. Dr. Samir Biswas, assistant principal of John Jay High School, realized that creating a new sound was the perfect challenge for the school's Music Technology students. He shared the idea with Amy Geiger, head of the Music Technology program, who asked students to submit their ideas. A team of administrators selected Kiera’s arpeggio.

Kiera created her submission in Logic Pro, the same software she is using to compose a contemporary piece for an independent Music Tech project.

Music Tech students continue the quest

Playful sounds

The creative connection to Music Technology continues. Students are curating clips and submitting them to Dr. Biswas for the 8:00 am bell. Some of his favorites include the theme of “Star Wars,” Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and Toto’s “Africa.”

"A shout out to junior Nate Greenspan for the most submissions—17 and counting," said Dr. Biswas. 

One last bell to mention. The Friday dismissal bell: the whistle and “Yabba Dabba Doo” from the start of the Flintstones. “Most of the students don’t recognize it,’” said Dr. Biswas. “That one is for the teachers.”