Eco-Schools Journal: Music to Inspire Change

The Voice of Young Songwriters @ PS 110

By Fran Agnone, Greenpoint Eco-Schools Sustainability Coach @PS 110

When I was in 4th grade I held a leadership position in my elementary school as a guard on Safety Patrol. I wore a bright orange belt and sash that gave me the authority to urge other students not to run at dismissal. I thought I was really cool. Today I find myself surrounded by 4th graders at PS110 in Brooklyn who take leadership to whole other level. They are self-motivated 9 year olds that are using music to convey messages of environmental stewardship to their peers and any adult who will listen. And they are really cool!

I recently sat down with Zoe of the music group Trifecta and Veronica of the Green Lighters to learn about how they came to write songs about taking care of the planet.

Zoe Roushakes holds the world in her hands

Where did you get the idea to form a musical group at school?
Zoe: Well we love singing more than anything else. And then Khali had the idea to make a song for the school’s No Idling contest. We recorded a video and then performed in front of our class.
Veronica: I think it was when Trifecta performed their No Idling song. I had been writing for quite some time and I realized if they had the opportunity to create songs, so did we.

Zoe, what does it feel like to know that you have influenced other students to start writing and performing songs?
Zoe:  It feels amazing. Because I know I am making a difference. There is nothing like that.

Veronica Levins and Phoenix Burciu perform their song

Why the name Trifecta?
Zoe: Tri symbolizes three (Zoe, Khali, & Luma). Fecta sounds like a disease you can’t get rid of. I brought it up and everybody loved it. And that’s pretty much it

Why did you choose music as a way to spread your message?
Zoe: That’s the easiest question I have ever been asked. I’ve been thinking about this for years. Music just captures you.
Veronica: People love to listen to music. If you give a big speech, half of the audience will fall asleep. If you say it and voice the message in song—you can get an audience because people love listening to music.

What do you hope people will take away after listening to your songs?
Veronica: If people listen to our song, they might hear that the song is telling them to go out and make a difference, like planting a tree or they might stop idling. I hope they understand that the world is being torn apart. And not just look at it and say, “oh, a couple of kids have feelings.”
Zoe: I think my voice is important because I am a kid. If adults want to litter and destroy our earth…you know I think we should let them. And if they suffer we might learn. And then if they change and start helping, then that’s amazing!

So go ahead and take a listen. What do these songs inspire you to do?

Trifecta – Trash Bag (No Polluting) from Greenpoint Eco-Schools on Vimeo.

Green Lighters – Let’s Start Changing from Greenpoint Eco-Schools on Vimeo.