Studio to School

Reflection #2

The partnership between the David Douglas School District, the Oregon Symphony and the teaching musicians of the 45th Parallel is one filled with potential. The potential to teach, inspire and change lives. This is a very exciting time for the musicians since they haven’t had a large scale, continuous residency in a school district since 2009. The Oregon Symphony musicians feel very strongly that they “pay back” in the schools since most of them were inspired to pick up an instrument in these formative years. They know first-hand the importance of catching the attention and interests of young learners, when they are looking for something to establish their identities.

The David Douglas Schools are excited about this partnership because it has access to professional musicians, introducing their students to a level of musicality not easily available within the schools. Because music is regarded as part of the core curriculum in this district, the music specialists are thrilled to have this kind of live music education resource made available for their programming. The teaching musicians of the 45th Parallel are making the dream of private string lessons for the orchestra members of the Alice Ott Middle School orchestra a reality. This will contribute greatly to the enthusiasm  and retention of new string players, further ensuring that they will continue on through the grades with musical instruction and performance.

So far, we have had one Community Concert after a day of classroom residency visits and daytime school string chamber concerts. It was thrilling to see the kids return to the school that night with parents and siblings in tow to show off what they had experienced earlier in the day. The promise of a chance to try out all of the stringed instruments before and after the concert was a successful “hook”. We had a great turnout and look forward to the other 3 Community Concerts this March –April. Cherie-Anne has done a great job of getting the word out to the community that these are free and open to the public.

The challenges are finding enough time in the day (and night!) to effectively and efficiently communicate with the teachers, school administration, and OSO musicians about our goals and programming options. Things have gone very smoothly in the residency and instruction so far, but I would like to see more authentic planning and preparation on the parts of all involved. I am so glad that this is a multi-year partnership.  It reminds me that we can take our time to establish our relationship, get to know each other and find out what the greatest needs are in the district. Beyond that, I would like to explore territory which we have not tread upon in previous school partnerships. This is all new to us and we are grateful!

I look forward to the time when we all are working so well together that it doesn’t feel like me and the school principal and music specialist driving the bus- we want more participation in planning and communication, but know that takes time and trust.

Cherie-Anne May, Principal and Music Coordinator for DDSD and I talked prior to this reflection # 2 so it should be considered a posting from Monica Hayes and Cherie-Anne. Greg Ewer from 45th Parallel also had an opinion which was shared in this post.

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