This Monday, we are again celebrating 'Music in Our Schools' month.
At the International Preparatory School in Buffalo, Eric Crittenden is teaching music, in hopes of creating beautiful people.
The beats found on SoundCloud are the soundtrack to International Preparatory School. It's music made by its students.
"It's not all academics, 'Today boys and girls we are going to learn about quarter notes,' nobody wants to talk about that mess anymore," Crittenden said.
He, is Eric Crittenden, a touring musician turned music teacher at IPrep.
"The kids call me, 'Critt,'" he said.
This is his first year at the high school. He teaches Soundtrap.com to the 9th through 12th graders. It's an online cross platform, digital audio workstation.
"Or, a DAW, like they say in the businesses," he explained.
The beautiful thing, as he describes it, is that you don't need to a computer, let alone a home office to use it.
It's a real world experience for his students. Some of which who have worked with the likes of Beyonce, for example.
While helping make dreams like that come true is just one item in his lesson plan, there's a greater meaning behind his passion for teaching music.
"It almost sounds cliche, and hippie and whimsical, to say, ‘hey man you know, music is the universal language of life man,' but it really is," Crittenden smiled.
At the high school, 40 different languages are spoken. With this elective class, Crittenden has been able to break down barriers, and bring students together, even in a time of social distancing.
For that, Principal Ella Dunne is singing a new tune of gratitude.
"It gave them a reason to want to come to school," Dunne said.
It's no secret, virtual learning has been extremely difficult on students. The hope is after how successful this first year has been to expand the program.
“And there's another good reason, you know not only do I want to go to school because I need to take my classes and what not. But, I want to go to school to be part of the music being made there."
And also a greater meaning on life.
"Let's face it, environment shapes behavior," Crittenden said. "If we create the kind of environment that produces beautiful art, by default will produce beautiful people. And that's the point."
Crittenden is doing this one beat at a time.
Right now, IPREP seeking funding in next year's budget to make a production, arts and entertainment course a reality. If this happens, students will learn the skills needed to be not only music producers, but also video game sound designers, DJs, film producers and more.