A very good place to start! This is the first post in what will no doubt be a long conversation, between the Lincoln City Studio to School project committee, our funders at the OCF, and the rest of our learning community.

Here’s a bit of background. In Lincoln City, our students attend either Taft or Oceanlake Elementary School, before moving up to Taft 7-12, the combined middle-high school. Those three facilities serve about 1,500 students, about 65% of which qualify for free or reduced lunch. Music education was cut out of our elementary school budgets 10 years ago, and a whole generation of kids have gone without. It’s possible for a student to arrive in 7th grade band without ever playing an instrument, studying music appreciation, attending a concert, or even seeing musical notation.

Our Studio to School vision is to engage students, teachers and community members in learning through the power of music, in our rural Oregon town of Lincoln City. Our project is designed to bring sequential music instruction back to our elementary schools, and to support the existing middle and high school bands with equipment, instruments and instruction. It will also provide new opportunities outside the classroom, with outreach concerts, camps and other musical experiences, and it will give teachers in all grades greater access to professional development in music integration.

Cypher Kaae-Woods is picking up the recorder for the first time.

Cypher Kaae-Woods is picking up the recorder for the first time.

We began with the premise that elementary music education is a good unto itself, but can also improve a student’s overall academic performance as well as his or her attendance and behavior. We also began with a solid foundation of personnel: Both elementary school principals contributed a half-time position for a music teacher, and agreed that this new hire would teach at Taft Elementary for the first semester, and Oceanlake for the second. Our S2S committee consists of that new teacher, the existing high school band director, and the principals of our three public schools. It also includes the project leader, Christine Tell from the Siletz Bay Music Festival (the lead non-profit).

When you sing, you begin with Do, Re, Mi …. Me? I’m Niki Price, the head of the Lincoln City Cultural Center and parent of two kids in Lincoln City schools, plus the S2S committee’s evaluation coordinator and OCF liaison. I’ll be your blogger/host, as we head into this adventure. Stay tuned.