BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ – At Governor Livingston High School there are fascinating developments happening within the already exciting Deaf & Hard of Hearing Percussion Program.  The program instructor, Mr. Josef Ellis, and the Educational Interpreters have been working to find ways to make the class and performances a more visual experience for both the performers and audience members.

As anticipated, they were able to start the school year off with a bang! At Mr. Ellis’ request, the school district ordered sound activated lights over the summer and the class was able to give them a try on Tuesday, September 10th. At the start of the class, the students wondered what was going on as they entered a dark classroom. Upon sitting down, Mr. Ellis began playing one of the Djembes which prompted the lights to begin flashing. The students eagerly joined in and performed a short drum circle utilizing the flashing lights. The lights were a huge hit with the students. Being able to see their rhythms through the use of the multi-colored lights helped them to perform with a steadier tempo. Incorporating multiple intelligences (in this case, musical, kinesthetic, and now visual) into education creates a more enriching experience for all students.  The Deaf & Hard of Hearing students particularly benefit from the integration of such instructional methods as this, which allow them to better access the content and acquire those skills.

A special thank you to the school administration and school board for supporting this innovative program, particularly Laurie Scott (Supervisor of Music), Michele Gardner (Director of Special Services), and Kevin Morra (Supervisor of Special Education).