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Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

The student news site of Portola High School

Portola Pilot

United Sound ‘Amplifies’ Inclusivity in Music

Every Thursday, the delicate rings of marimbas, joy-filled laughter and harmonizing cellos fill the music room. United Sound, a student-powered mentoring program dedicated to fostering inclusivity in music and helping special education students grow as musicians, is the cultivator of this symphony of melodious notes, according to United Sound president and junior Sai Maddala. 

“As far as [special education students] acquiring different skill sets with the instrument that they’re playing, we’re just looking for continuing in a positive path, to approach that instrument with a positive attitude, and a positive association,” education specialist Melody Resendez said. “It’s challenging learning a new instrument and continuing to build that love for it. We’ve definitely had a couple amazing musicians and talents that have really shined especially in the last couple of years.”

Mentors aspire for the mentees to eventually participate in general education music classes through exposure to the subject, according to Resendez. 

Mentee and sophomore Justin Mach, who has thrived in the program, is excited to graduate from the program and join general education students in their music classes. In the music room, he enjoys spending time with his mentors and playing the xylophone to prepare for the program’s upcoming concert, according to Mach.

“We’re just focusing on getting to that concert and continuing to keep the ball all rolling. Ultimately, we’d love to see even more of our students push into general education after this program,” Resendez said. “But we’d love to see more mentors come into the program for sure so that we can include more students.”

In preparation for the concert, mentors are working to teach their mentees the notes, rhythms and patterns of pieces they choose to ensure mentees feel confident in their performance, according to Maddala. 

In addition to the upcoming concert in May, United Sound will be participating in Cares Week in March and another district ability awareness event on April 24. These events will underscore the unique abilities special education students possess, according to Resendez.

“It’s just really rewarding at the end of the day because you’re helping your community and you’re watching these guys grow and become more talented musicians than you are,” Maddala said.

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About the Contributors
Kayley Winata, Staff Writer
Kayley Winata is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. She is looking forward to getting to know and working with fellow Pilot members. Outside of the classroom, you can find her listening to an excessive amount of music and crying about not having spotify premium while adding useless pictures onto her Pinterest boards.
Kelly Yeh, Staff Writer
Kelly Yeh is a staff writer for her first year on the Portola Pilot. This year, she is thrilled to share inspiring and captivating stories with her fellow Bulldogs through her work. When she is not busy stressing over school deadlines or annoying her dog, you can find her obsessing over new shows, adding to her Spotify playlists, or finding new cafes to study at with friends.
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