District’s Art and Music Program Heats Up During Summer

District’s Art and Music Program Heats Up During Summer Photo

The district’s Summer Music and the Arts Program kicked off on July 11 for its four-week program of learning and exploration. With its highest enrollment to date, this year’s program has marked new opportunities for students in grades 3-11, whether they are just starting a new instrument, exploring their creative abilities or strengthening their music skills at the intermediate level.

The Summer Music and the Arts Program was first established in 1957, specifically for music students. Throughout the years, the program expanded its offerings to allow students to sign up for a variety of different sessions in the art department as well. This includes a Pre-Advanced Placement Drawing and Painting class and a Pre-International Baccalaureate Art class for Northport High School students. 

Under the direction of Program Director Michael Susinno and Director of Fine and Performing Arts Dr. Izzet Mergen, the program expanded to accommodate more students this summer by providing a new half-day schedule where students could take part in different sessions and then be shuttled to the district’s summer recreation program. The program saw a 53 percent increase in enrollment this summer with the implementation of the new half-day schedule. 

With most students in grades 3-7 participating, the program offers 12 beginner classes which are available to help introduce instruments to students and 12 intermediate classes which gives students the ability to receive more instruction and personalized attention. In addition, there are six art classes and one dance class offered as well. 

A number of current faculty members from the district serve as instructors, as well as Northport High School graduates, retired staff members and other New York State Certified teachers from outside the district. An additional ukulele and guitar teacher was also added to the program this summer due to popular demand.

Technology has been utilized by many of the instructors as part of the learning experience. Many of the classes encompass SmartMusic, an educational platform that allows the sheet music to be displayed on the SmartBoard with their instruments connected. The students receive instant feedback as they play with green or red markings displayed when a note is played correctly or incorrectly. 

Susinno, a Northport-East Northport graduate, has taken the program to heart due to his involvement since 1988.  

“Past participation as a student, as a high school volunteer, as a teaching assistant, as a teacher and now as the liaison helps me to see the program through the students' eyes as well as through all of the staff roles as well,” said Susinno. “When Bob Krueger began the program in 1957, he set a wonderful wave in motion. I can only hope that he'd be proud of the program as it is today and that he's smiling from his current concert podium!”