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At Linden STEAM Academy, music makes the world sound better

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Malden Public Schools first-year music educator ‘pays forward’ her passion to students in new Music Club

  Judith Albert says she has had a passion for music and all that it offers for as long as she can remember. A first-year Music Educator at Malden’s Linden STEAM Academy, she is already passing along her zeal for the musical arts to her young students. Albert is ready, willing and able to “pay it forward” when it comes to instilling a love of music and sound to her Linden K-4 music students. She said she finds the Malden Public Schools a rich environment for teaching and learning.

  “These students are so enthusiastic about music, and I love working with them,” Albert said during an afterschool Music Club she was hosting at the school for students in grades Kindergarten to Grade 2.

  The Linden Music Club also includes students in Grades 3 and 4, and the two groups switch off every Monday afternoon, for an hour-long session after school.

Fell in love with music as a young girl

  When Albert was a student herself in the greater Miami, Fla., region, she fell in love with music as a young girl, in both performing on musical instruments – the piano in particular – and singing. She both played the piano and sang in her church, growing up, as well as performing informally in other different venues.

  The year before graduation, she got lucky, due to the kindness and ingenuity of a passionate music teacher she was fortunate to take classes with in her high school years. This was the same teacher who “basically gave me all of my piano lessons for free. My family could not have afforded the going rate for lessons, and we were so blessed to have been treated so generously by Mr. Davis.”

  Albert said the Everglades High School teacher’s largesse continued the summer before her senior year of high school. “My teacher loaded up a bunch of us who wanted to pursue music studies in college into a passenger van and we went on a tour of Florida colleges,” Albert recalled. “We checked out many great colleges and had one goal in mind – to try and get a scholarship. Myself and others were successful and my college career began.”

Grateful for the assistance she received in college search

  “It would not have happened at all without that first scholarship,” said Albert, the daughter of immigrants to the United States and the first of her immediate family to have attended college.

  Albert’s studies took her from Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla., on to Mercer University in Georgia and then, way up north for the first time in her life, to one of the most well-known schools in the world, the Boston Conservatory of Music, where she obtained a master’s degree.

  After a few years teaching music at two Massachusetts charter schools – grades 5-8 Pioneer Charter and grades 1-8 at Sacred Heart STEM School – Albert found her way to Malden, where she began teaching music to the youngest students at the Linden STEAM Academy at the start of this school year.

At Linden ‘It’s been wonderful’

  So far, as the school year approaches the “home stretch,” she told the Malden Advocate, “It’s been wonderful!”

  Recently, when the Linden administration, headed up by Principal Rafael Garcia, decided to ask the educators if any would like to host a club or other extracurricular activity after school, Albert said, “I jumped at the chance.”

  She added, “I was already thinking about offering some sort of extra activity for our students after school, if I got the permission, and then Mr. Garcia made the announcement about the clubs. It was exactly what I had wanted to do.”

  In a recent Music Club session, a spirited group of mostly kindergarteners were using a set of Boomwhackers and complementary drums, which allowed the students to play along to music on a guided big screen by tapping the right color sequence in front of them. Some hit the color circles with their tubular percussion Boomwhackers, while others were positioned on hand drums, using their fingers and palms to thump along with the rhythm. “We make sure everyone uses both of them [Boomwhackers and drums] to get the full percussion experience and hear and see all the sounds.”

  Judging by the smiles – and the intensity – exhibited by the Music Club kindergarten kids, they were getting some valuable skill development while learning sound and sight recognition during the exercise.

  “I have gotten so much help and support in the years that I really needed it. I would really like to do the same for my own students,” said Albert, who noted she is now working on her Doctorate of Musical Arts (DMA) degree. “This is the right place to do that, here in Malden.”

Boomwhacher crewjpg
‘BOOMWHACKER’ CREW: Manning the tubular percussion Boomwhackers are kindergarten class members of Linden STEAM Academy’s Music Club. (Steve Freker Photos/Malden Advocate)
JUDITH ALBERT STEPPING UP: Singing along or showing a few impromptu dance steps, Linden Music Educator Judith Albert keeps the Music Club flowing in her classroom.
SHAKING A LEG: Silas shakes a leg at the Linden Music Club with Judith Albert.
MUSICAL MAGIC: Linden STEAM Academy K-4 Music Educator Judith Albert (left) is shown with a student, Silas (right) during a Music Club session. The first-year Malden Public Schools teacher is “paying it forward” due the help and support she received on her journey as a student toward a career in music education. She is now pursuing s Doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA). (Steve Freker Photo/Malden Advocate)
FACING THE MUSIC: Linden kindergarteners “boomwhack” along with the music prompts at a Music Club session with Judith Albert.

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