Symphonettes, MusicWorks! introduce children to music
Nicole Broeffle, OPINION 1:26 p.m. EDT March 20, 2015
(Photo: Special to the Citizen-Times)
Would you be able to distinguish a cello from other string instruments by listening to just four small clues? Because a group of 30 kindergarten and first-graders sure can.
The Asheville Symphonettes is excited to take part in MusicWorks!, an El Sistema-inspired program of the Asheville symphony. The program was founded in Venezuela, the birthplace of many talented musicians. A similar program has been developed in our area with the goal of introducing more young children to music. A $600,000 grant, funded by Leever Foundation, was given to Asheville's MusicWorks! program, offered after school at Hall Fletcher Elementary. The program proudly supports music education as a tool to transform and empower.
Many of the lessons taught in Musicworks! can be translated to teach life skills as well.
As a member of the Asheville Symphonettes, and a young musician myself, I am passionate about this after-school program. I am amazed at the rhythmic vocabulary that the 5- and 6-year-olds obtain. As a group of high school girls, we use our energy to tutor the youngsters with their homework before they begin their music lessons.
After homework is completed, we move on to further advance the students' music abilities. The children break up into three different groups, where they receive high-quality instruction from professional music educators. The patience these teachers and artists exemplify is remarkable. Rhythm and volume is demonstrated on bucket drums. I was blown away that the group of children remained in unison and followed a certain beat. Also just as astonishing, they reach a crescendo on their instructor's orders. Then, they bring their volume down from forte to a pianissimo with decrescendo. Of course, groups of tiny musicians were cognizant of the musical terms used in their performance. Then they move to a rhythm class where they work on timing and learn different beats. The last group works hands on with the violin itself. While I was there, we used cardboard violins as stand-ins for the real thing so that when the time comes, the children know how to treat their instruments with care.
We are so privileged to have an opportunity to collaboratively work with such a unique program. With our 30 members, the Symphonettes too is expanding awareness of classical music among young people as well as raising money for the symphony and MusicWorks! During our lock-in last month, we raised $3,800. I feel that MusicWorks! is not only beneficial to the students, but also everyone in the community. Youngsters from Hall Fletcher's MusicWorks! have performed at the First Baptist Church, Pisgah View Apartments, an Asheville High football game, the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, and the Covenant Presbyterian Church. We are looking forward to seeing the students grow and are eager to deepen our relations with the young musicians.
Nicole Broeffle is a cellist in the Roberson High School orchestra. The Asheville Symphonettes is a club open to all high school girls in Buncombe County. For more information about the Symphonettes, email Broeffle at firstname.lastname@example.org or club supervisor Marilyn Brown at email@example.com.