Celebrating National Music in our Schools Month


Four PFHS students discuss the impact music education has had on them.

March is National Music in our Schools Month, a holiday designated by the National Association for Music Education. It’s a time to celebrate music programs, and Potomac Falls has four distinct, unique tracks: band, guitar, chorus, and orchestra. 

Often, student musicians start their instrument in sixth grade, when they’re required to pick one at River Bend. 

“I didn’t have any interest in music, but guitar just sounded fun,” said senior David Navarro. “I didn’t even know it was an option. So I took it, and I immediately fell in love with it. I’ve kept going ever since.”

Senior Grace Lafrancois decided on playing her instrument in sixth grade as well. “I play the euphonium, which is a small tuba-ish thing that sounds like a trombone. It’s very fun. I started in sixth grade and never changed my instrument, [so], it’s been a good time learning and growing with it.”

Other students have been interested in music for much longer. “I’ve been playing the violin as long as I can remember, before I even started going to school, actually,” said sophomore Micaela Perezous.

As for what inspired them to follow a musical path, there were many different influences, including family, friends, and teachers.
“My first guitar teacher in sixth grade [inspired me],” said Navarro. “He was so passionate on a level I hadn’t seen from a teacher before.”

Junior Eliana Safarin was encouraged by the chorus teacher to try out. But a musical seed had been planted in her at a young age. “I’ve always liked musical theater, so the people I would see in movies singing and dancing made me want to do it more.”

Students do a variety of things in their music classes, but at the core of it, they practice their instruments. “We warm up, and then we’ll sing whatever we’re working on,” said Safarin about her chorus class. “We’ll practice every part, and we’ll literally just sing. We’ll do nothing but sing.” 

“We learn scales, we learn techniques, and then we apply that to the music we play in our concerts, which is really cool,” said Lafrancois. 

Perezous described a special way the orchestra class plays. “Sometimes we practice in sectionals (violin, viola, cello, and bass separately), and move around the room so we can experiment with different sounds.”

Guitar holds a “donut day” after every concert. “We just have donuts, watch our concert videos, and assess them and everything,” said Navarro.

All four students agree that being a part of music in school has given them unique opportunities and things they wouldn’t have otherwise. 

“I’ve gotten a lot of cool leadership opportunities from band,” said Lafrancois. “I’ve been able to do marching band throughout most of high school, and that ultimately led me to being drum major. I learned a lot of important life lessons that I’ll take with me to college.”

The other senior, David Navarro, reflects on the social side of it. “It’s given me a lot of stuff to do outside of school, events like coffeehouses and that kind of stuff. I’ve met a lot of people through it.”

“Violin has introduced me to such a wonderful group of musicians who share my love for orchestra,” said Perezous. “In addition, I’ve been able to audition for county and regional ensembles, become a member of the school quintet, and play in community events, which is really fun.”

Safarin is also known for her dedication to the theater department, and can be seen in every show. “Being in [chorus] has helped me audition for those, and have better casting opportunities. And build my confidence on stage, as well.”

The connection to music is much more than nailing auditions, getting experience, and making friends, though. There’s a deep sense of belonging that comes with it.

“It’s given me a fantastic hobby and provided me with lots of wonderful opportunities outside of school,” said Perezous. “I’ve been able to share my music with others and meet lots of new friends along the way. And to be honest, the times I feel the happiest are when I’m playing the violin.”

“I’ve always loved music, it’s just calming to me,” said Safarin. “It’s nice to know that it’s a part of my life. It’s a comforting feeling.”

For all of them, they want to pursue music in the future, though to different degrees. Perezous plans to minor in it. “Whatever the future holds for me, I know that music will always be a part of my life,” she said.

That sentiment is shared by all of them. “I always plan to sing, it doesn’t matter what it’s for,” said Safarin. 

“I’m not going to fully pursue music,” Navarro said, “But it’s going to be a part of my life forever. I’m always going to be playing music.”