It is undeniably true that schools throughout our community depend on the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra for music programs to fill gaps in the current system. Bring the full experience of The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra to local students with a program designed to integrate musical concepts and activities into existing classroom curriculum. Kids Discover Music (KDM), previously know as Inspire the Desire for Music, brings BSO musicians directly into the classroom to allow children to experience a powerful introduction to the world of music. With KDM, students within our community have gained access to a rich musical experience and arts programs they are no longer receiving in school due to budget cuts.
Last year, BSO musicians were able to provide this learning experience to hundreds of students. A string quartet comprised of BSO musicians, two violinists, a violist, and a cellist, visited local schools and the Boys and Girls Club After-school Program to perform and educate the children on symphonic music and the impact it plays in their own lives.
A fun lineup was arranged by the quartet that would easily entertain the students as well as present classical instruments such as the violin, viola, and cello. Musician Paulette Shires noted, “we perform music that relates to the students, familiar tunes they’ve heard in cartoons, movies, and television.” Selections such as the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song, “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid, Pirates of the Caribbean theme song, and “Yellow Submarine” by The Beatles, were played by the quartet to demonstrate how orchestral instruments aren’t just used in classical music. Other selections, such as “Eine Kleine Nacht Musick” by Mozart, showed how the students may be more familiar with classical music than they thought. This revelation opens doors to younger students when they realize that orchestras and bands can be fun, familiar, and most importantly, an attainable activity and goal.
In addition to entertaining and igniting a passion for music within these students, the quartet also taught them about life lessons that apply to being a symphony musician such as the hard work and dedication it takes to play at a professional level. This taught the children about good work ethics as well as self determination to achieve personal goals: these are life lessons that transcend music; however, they can be built and founded through musical principles. Lessons such as showing up on time and even early to orchestra commitments, fully learning the music and then going the extra mile to perfect it, and working in unison with other musicians show the students that working as a team, giving more than what’s been asked, and punctuality are lessons that will apply to them for the rest of their lives.
The students responded with more enthusiasm and excitement than anticipated. Leader of the quartet, cellist Alex Wilson commented, “It has been a pleasure to see their eyes light up with joy and their hands shoot up to ask questions.” Classrooms were so thankful and appreciative of the BSO string quartet that they wrote “thank you” letters sharing what they learned and what they enjoyed about their experience. One student named Karoline noted, “it was unique because they came into our class and showed us their instruments.” Another young boy named Ethan shared his dream with the quartet, “if I could learn to play the cello, I would play in the symphony!” It is experiences provided by programs and opportunities such as Kids Discover Music that create a spark in potential musicians to pursue a goal and dream like Ethan’s. Everyone’s dream begins somewhere, and it is the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra’s dream to continue to educate and inspire young people to dream “symphony” big.
“There is a unique intimacy in the dialogue that happens in such a small setting that can’t be replicated in the concert hall.” -Julia Lawson Haney, Concertmaster