Young People’s Education
Musical growth and education can be a stimulating life-long process, best begun at an early age by learning some of the basic structures and conventions of the musical language. That core concept is the motivating philosophy behind the initiatives the Brantford Symphony has undertook in recent years. Our hope is to plant the seed of curiosity about music, of any and all types, in as many young minds as we can, through the performances of live professional orchestral musicians.
Until recently we were able to offer three main in-school educational projects. Each has a different attraction and focus for the students and the educators in our area schools. The future success of these projects hinge on new funding required in order to continue offering them.
Small Ensemble In-School program
Bringing an energetic and educational performance right into each school, using a small group of instrumentalists, is one of the most stimulating and cost-effective ways of engaging students. Typically, a few classrooms at a time will be brought into an area like the school gymnasium, be seated around the group of four or five presenters, and be encouraged to open their minds to some of the building blocks of music while listening to a variety of musical selections.
The performance program the Brantford Symphony has sent to the schools is a production that is newly conceived and arranged. The feature of our production that sets it apart from the traditional small-group presentation used by most other orchestras is the use of a professional actor. This actor’s role is to talk about the musical ideas our educational consultants have identified as being important parts of the Ontario education curriculum, while engaging and entertaining the students in ways that only a trained and experienced actor can accomplish. These presentations are lively, engaging and fun, yet packed full of musical education (even though the students don’t realize it at the time!).
Funds allocated to this program are needed to cover the costs of items such as rehearsal time and space, and preparation and production of Teacher’s Guides for the production. The cost of presenting the shows in the schools would ideally be borne by the schools and/or students themselves, although schools have not been able to commit to this program as of late.
Full Orchestra In-School program
This program is a performance by the full Brantford Symphony in three locations in the region: Brantford, Caledonia, and Simcoe. Students are bussed from area schools to attend the concerts during school hours.
The performances are designed to show and demonstrate various instruments in a symphony orchestra and the smaller families they each belong to. Musical selections are performed by some of the individual instruments, each of the families of instruments, and of course the result when you put all the families together. The music selections are drawn from classic orchestra repertoire, whether it was written for a monarch’s court three hundred years ago, or for a popular movie a couple summers ago.
Funds allocated to this program will help bring the Brantford Symphony into the three selected “hub” schools for one educational performance of approximately one hour in each location. Area primary/junior students will be bussed to the host school. The funds are needed to pay our professional musicians for one full rehearsal and three performances. Joining the BSO would be the members of the BYSO, taking the place of their usual November educational concert in the Sanderson Centre. The students coming to the performances pay a very modest amount to attend.
Instrumental Specialist In-School Master Classes
Master Classes are a very focussed education opportunity for students of a particular instrument. One of our orchestra members, each with decades of learning and experience, goes into a school with an instrumental program and conducts a lesson with a few students of the same instrument in the presence of all students studying that instrument. This is a very effective method of teaching a larger group of musicians, practiced in all advanced music schools around the world.
Funds allocated to this program will help bring the Master Class program to all area schools that request it. The funds would be used to cover the costs of our professional musicians travelling to the schools and conducting a one to two hour Class.