Music as Healer for Bullying and Changing the World
Original Choral Compositions By Composer Jay Thomas, Jet Musik Voices Education Project is pleased to add two original choral compositions to the “Words and Violence” Program and to welcome composer Jay Thomas to the list of our contributors. We hope that these pieces of music and the “voices” that are encouraged to speak through the … Continued
Voices Education Project is pleased to add two original choral compositions to the “Words and Violence” Program and to welcome composer Jay Thomas to the list of our contributors. We hope that these pieces of music and the “voices” that are encouraged to speak through the language of music and song will make a difference in the practice world of children—school. School is the place where children design a preview of their life while they transition into adults. We offer this music in the hope that it calls them to their best selves, to find their own kind of music, and share their unique song with the world’s choir creating the future’s song.
It Shouldn’t Bother Me is anexperiential case scenario become anthem about bullying—from the perspective of the bully and the bullied. For the Sake of Heart, Jay’s original compositions that is based on a Rumi poem, asks a question: What might happen if the heart were engaged with the world and in creating it?
About the Composer
Jay Thomas has been writing music since he began piano lessons at age 8. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Music (Piano Performance with an emphasis in Composition) and Certification in Music Education at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. While pursuing his Masters in Science (Curriculum and Instruction) at the same school, he took advantage of the opportunity to study composition with Dr. James Chaudoir during the summers of 2006 and 2007.
Of the pieces he has composed, two stand out as particularly memorable. “What Do You Think Will Happen” which is the poetry of Rumi set to music and “It Shouldn’t Bother Me” a duet between a girl who is bullied and the gril who bullies her.
Mr. Thomas Middle taught school chorus and general music for 14 years in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. He currently directs the Fox Chorale at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley and serves as the Music Director at the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Appleton, Wisconsin. He also operates a private music studio in his home.
It Shouldn’t Bother Me
I began writing the lyrics of this song about three months after the tragic death by suicide of a seventh grader at our middle school. It was learned after her passing that she had been the target of relentless cyber-bullying. It was my wish to create a choral piece that addressed bullying issues faced by both perpetrator and victim with the hopes of helping to foster some understanding of what had happened.
Ten months after this student’s death, I introduced the finish song to my students. Along the way, I had my students write about the joys and travails of middle school. At One point, I asked them,” What makes you happy?” And then, “What makes you sad?” Not surprisingly, the answer that came up most often to both queries was “friends.” Questions about gossip and bullying followed, and I was amazed at the depth of their responses as well as the level of passion with which they were delivered. Although it had been nearly a year since the tragedy, it was clear it weighed heavily on their minds.
Gradually through our classroom discussions, many students were able to voice thoughts that needed to be released and accepted, and this piece became a favorite of my singers. Here’s to more release and acceptance in our schools and in our world.
There are two soloists featured in this piece, The Girl Who Was Talked About (GWWTA) And the Girl Who Talked (GWT.) In the first verse, the GWT sings Solo 1 and the GWWTA sings Solo 2. In the second verse, the soloists switch with the GWWTA singing first.
Despite the “old school” R&B styling, it is imperative that choir members sing their part with a high degree of rhythmic accuracy without sounding labored. The sooner the singers learn what is required to clearly express the lyrics’ message, the sooner they can explore ways to hone their collective sound in this pop setting. Conversely, soloists can be given some leeway to sing their parts in a way that is more creative and personal.
Jay may be reached at Jet Musik Studio. The website is under construction www.jetmusik.com where the Original Score sheet music will soon be available for download. See the following page for Jay’s “For the Sake of the Heart” composition.
The Voices Education Project offers tools, philosophies, and learning methods that will help young people understand the roots of conflict and the trauma of war, confront the pain and fear at the heart of conflict, and help to build healthy human communities in the wake of war. We use the arts and education to transform the consciousness of young people, give teachers and students a way to explore the most important and terrifying issues of our day, and create a dialogue in which all voices can be heard, and all points of view included, without engendering fear, hatred, or anger.