Studio to School

Nurturing and Growing Success with David Douglas Music Makers

2016 Link Up marquee

DDSD Elementary students involved through S2S increased from 400 to 2,700 through curricular resources

In the OSA/David Douglas Studio to School Year Two we expanded our reach from Gilbert Heights’ approximately 400 students and teachers to the 2,700 students and teachers in grades 3-5 from the nine elementary schools in the David Douglas School District. We did this in response to the great interest the music specialists in the elementary level had in the work we were doing at Gilbert Heights in Year One. These teachers have been steady in their use of Oregon Symphony Youth Concerts in their curriculum over the years, and were hoping to get in on “the action”. Along came an opportunity for us to connect up with the Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute’s extensive curriculum and interactive “Link Up National” concert, as a major part of their year-long curriculum. The music specialists met with us to go over the materials and they immediately saw that this concert was in direct alignment with their learning goals for grades 3-5.

We decided to team up in direct music education partnership to explore the use of this extremely rich and interactive program. The cost of putting on this concert far exceeded the amount provided in the S2S grant funds, but the Oregon Symphony decided that this project and the students and teachers involved were extremely interested and invested in their music learning- the time was right! The teachers embraced the curriculum and the kids took on the challenge of playing recorder and singing along with the Oregon Symphony. We offered professional development opportunities along the way to support the students’ success. The teachers were expert in preparing their students for this inaugural youth concert offering. The average music class prepared for 5 months. The Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute Link Up National student workbooks, which each student received, has self-check pages throughout and progress was measured by completion of particular skill learning steps in preparation of their performance. The teachers have a Link Up skills assessment packet available to assess their entire class. I have not heard from the teachers yet if they used that resource. The concert particpation in the hall was 100% by all accounts!1516_LinkUp_AssesmentTools


Under the leadership and suggestion of our S2S Leadership Team member, Gilbert Heights Principal Shane Bassett, all of the nine schools presented a concert to the families and community at each of their schools in a newly formed event called “Music Matters”. These evening events allowed families to experience their child’s learning and to get acquainted with the S2S project and are now a part of their family events calendar each year!

The morning of the concert was full of contained energy and the execution of a perfectly coordinated performance between the students, the onstage host Pam Mahon and the orchestra. This was the ultimate evidence of a successful outcome and learning on the part of the students as a “music-making partners” in this concert. We are now preparing for “The Orchestra Rocks” in the second year of this concert series of three.

violin sectional

Greg Ewer’s violin sectional

AO Ensemble

45th Parallel Ensemble played the students’ rep and discussed notations before tackling the pieces in sectionals

Heather sectional

Cellist coach Heather has her section’s backs!

Violin coach Liz goes over critical posture and bowing techniques

Violin coach Liz goes over critical posture and bowing techniques









Alice Ott Middle School Orchestra Students Excel

In Year Two, teaching artists of the 45th Parallel provided 265 private lessons, as well as 2 class-time ensemble performances and sectional coaching services to the students of the Alice Ott Middle School orchestra under Marlene Trigg’s instruction. From the student-made video, thanking the musicians and the Oregon Symphony for this extra instructional mentorship, to the thank you letters and glowing report of their spring performances by their orchestra director, Marlene Trigg, we were able to call this portion of the project a resounding success. Success was also measured by the students’ consistent attendance in the after school lessons and increased skills as measured by themselves and their teacher. The challenges were in scheduling enough sessions in the school year. It is our goal to get the students lined up in October so that lessons can commence in November rather than January as they have been in Years 1 and 2. Now that it has become a regular part of the orchestra program, the logistics have been smoothed out and the way has been paved for an earlier start date. In meeting with the Alice Ott Principal, James Johnson, it was abundantly clear that music is a priority in that school. James noted that the involvement of the 45th Parallel musicians and the Oregon Symphony has validated their efforts and taken their programs to a new level, which he is very pleased with and wants to continue as long as is possible. We are beginning to talk about advocacy strategies at this time. We have learned so much from him about this district’s beliefs about music education and the history of how it has survived and excelled over the years.

Year Three is for Community Building Gilbert Hts tree

Now that we have learned more about the district’s culture of learning and their values, we are poised to learn more from the community and to present the various aspects of our S2S project to them. The goals are to build toward awareness, involvement, support and sustainability. The community goes beyond the students, teachers and parents – we need to involve businesses and community centers not typically aligned with the schools at this time. We plan to do this through the music experience. Stay “tuned”!

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