Music and Art: The Expendables?
Arts education in schools is a regular topic these days. With teachers and students alike wrestling with new testing requirements - and the enormous amount of time that eats up - many consider the arts expendable. This is not news to most of you, I'm certain.
If you want to find out just how wrong that attitude is, talk to any musician.
At ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, putting instruments into the hands of students and teaching them how to play them has become a mission. ProMusica's website explains the program as follows::
PLAY US FORWARD is a new collaboration between The Graham Family of Schools, United Schools Network, Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra.
The program will introduce and provide musical instruction to four urban Columbus charter schools, which do not currently offer any opportunity for music education in their daily curriculum. Play Us Forward’s goal is to remove all barriers to participation by providing instruction and instruments at no cost to the student or student’s family. Through this partnership, we aim to create a model of musical instruction and provide positive opportunities for artistic expression and overall academic enhancement for each student involved.
The program was officially launched at their most recent weekend of concerts. ProMusica Executive Director Janet Chen, Music Director David Danzmayr, and Creative Partner and Principal Guest Artist Vadim Gluzman each bought an instrument to kick off the program. You can purchase a violin at a reduced price through The Loft Violin Shop, donate one you own, or make a donation to go toward the cost of purchasing an instrument. All donation amounts are appreciated.
Nat Chaitkin is a member of ProMusica's cello section, teaches in the Preparatory Division of the University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music, and is a member of the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. He, like the other members of ProMusica, also spends a lot of his time introducing youngsters to the world of music. On the same weekend as the program was introduced, the orchestra played a free concert at WOSU@COSI as part of Youth and Family Day. Nat also went to each of the four urban Columbus charter schools currently involved in the program and did one of his Bach and Boombox presentations.
The Play Us Forward program provides both the instruments and instruction to students at schools with no music program. It's an opportunity to offer youngsters not only a creative outlet, but something which can provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Who knows? The next Vadim Gluzman might be sitting in a Columbus classroom right now!