My family had the privilege of hosting four exchange students from China for a week through a wonderful collaboration program with Albert Einstein Academy and American International Cultural Exchange. Students from various cities within China travel to the US for 2 to 3 weeks at a time for immersion studies to enhance their learning and language skills by participating in English-speaking classrooms and spending time with Santa Clarita hosts families.
One of our main goals as a host family, while the 9 and 10 year old boys were part of our family, was finding fun and creative ways of working through the communication barrier since their English was very limited. Although the Google Translate App was a fine alternative and the source of much hilarity with incorrect misheard translations, we discovered that music had no barriers.
Each week my sons, aged 10 and 13, study music (theory, piano, drums) with accomplished musician, producer and instructor Jerry Danielsen of Busy Signal Studios in Canyon Country. He welcomed the exchange students with open arms into his recording studio, eager to share his knowledge as well as his studio packed with instruments. “I’ve been teaching adults and children for over 20 years,” says Jerry, “and the feeling music creates is the same all over the world. Music is a universal language.”
The students jumped with enthusiasm as Jerry showed each of them his collection of unique global instruments and the different beautiful sounds they make. The studio vibrated with sounds of music and laughter as they all created music together, proving once again that music is indeed a universal language.