Music Makers of Tech


Illustration by Syeda Monjur (‘22)

Brooklyn Tech seniors Matthew Bieniek, Nicholas Jones, and Survey editor Alexander Saul are teen composers and musicians. Bieniek is the lead singer of the band Fuelhouse, Jones creates independent music under the name “Ascended,” and Saul produces and experiments with music in his free time.
The Covid quarantine gave these three students an opportunity to find their emotional release through music. “Music is sort of an autobiography; it’s a way for me to chronicle my life and my emotions in bite-sized chunks,” Bieniek expressed. “Every song I have written has a piece of me in it. It’s a moment in my life preserved for future enjoyment.”
Prior to the pandemic, workloads and extracurricular commitments took up critical space on their daily agendas, and these students found it hard to find time to pursue their hobbies. With the quarantine’s gift of virtually unlimited time, Jones could “really focus on music” by figuring out his musical direction. Similarly, the spare time allowed Bieniek to co-found “Fuelhouse” with a guitarist.
Still, quarantine did have limitations – for these students, it was the limitation of social connection. In Bieniek’s case, he struggled with both isolation and resorting to virtual practice with his bandmates: “It was difficult to schedule in-person rehearsals, and so we’d call through Facetime and Zoom instead to put together vague song ideas that weren’t fully realized until we started meeting in-person post quarantine.” Saul, who enjoyed the free time to work on music production, was also dissatisfied with virtual alternatives, finding online music collaborations “weird and awkward.”
Saul was also frustrated with the general lack of creativity that came with experience during quarantine, and found it hard to find inspiration. However, with the reopening of in-person schools, the door to inspiration also re-opens.
Both Bieniek and Jones admitted that their experiences at Tech give them the inspiration for their songs. “Tech has allowed me to meet many creative people; my conversations and relationships with these individuals gave me immense insight into music. I can safely say that their influence has made me a significantly better musician by widening my musical perspective,” Bieniek added.
Saul entered Tech wanting to be a filmmaker, then a lawyer. Now as a senior, he is certain he wants to pursue a career in music. His experiences at the school have shaped this evolution of career changes. As a Law and Society student taking many law-based classes, he realized being a lawyer was not a path he wanted to take. Now Saul has his eyes set on his true passion — music.
Saul believes Tech could do more to grow the music-making culture within the school. “I think we can put more money into the music programs. Right now, we have the basics: orchestra, band, and chorus. We need more to inspire creativity. We need composition classes to teach kids how to use Garageband and Audacity. I know that this is a STEM school, but in the 21st century, it should be STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics); not STEM, “ he suggested.

There seems to be hope for the future of music at Tech. Mr. Tasopoulos, Tech’s Orchestra Director, revealed promising news that should excite Tech’s aspiring musicians: “We’re going to be starting a Technical Music club and a Music Composition club.” Acknowledging the popularity of digital music platforms, these clubs will allow students to build on Tech’s basic music curriculum. Students interested in music will learn to “compose music directly into the computer” through platforms like GarageBand and receive support through the music-production process. “If we have enough interest in these clubs, maybe we can start offering AP Music Theory next year, as well as an Advanced Certificate from New York State,” Mr. Tasopoulos added.

If Brooklyn Tech can inspire music-making, then it can drive the process too. It all starts with the success of the basic music curriculum and clubs, which have the potential to develop more enriching and exciting opportunities for aspiring student musicians.