Thursday, April 21, 2005

South Pointe Elementary career day

South Pointe Elementary School Posted by Hello

This afternoon five other musicians from the New World Symphony and I visited South Pointe Elementary School in Miami Beach for Career Day. Even though I still consider myself semi-unemployed, it was great meeting all these little kids and telling them some of the things I love about being a musician, and some of the challenges that come with the career.

We got there around 2 pm, so most of the kids had already listened to all kinds of restauranteurs, doctors, artists, and television personalities talking about their jobs. They were amazingly attentive, though, as we showed them several of the instruments of the orchestra and played a little bit on each.

Karen brought her oboe and english horn, and even though she has a severe week-old reed-making injury she played a little tune on each. I played the first Bach Bourree from the 3rd suite, and talked about how much variety there is in a musician's career, how we get to play different pieces and work with different artists almost every week. I also encouraged them to explore all kinds of styles of music, and to be open to whatever music seems to connect to them. Hao played a sad violin piece and talked about how his father spent 3 or 4 hours each day teaching him how to play from the time he was 5 years old. Seth brought his bongo drums and got them clapping a typical Cuban rhythm as he improvised. Our trumpeter Adam is really the best at community engagement; he has done a lot of these things and knows all kinds of ways to amuse little kids. I backed him up for a few choruses of blues, and then we took some questions.

These kids weren't satisfied with 'How long have you been playing?', they wanted to know everything from the technical means of locating notes on the bass, to whether we get nervous when we perform, to why musicians make such weird facial expressions when we play. All our kids were from the gifted third and fourth grade classes at the school, which made me wonder if the non-gifted classes are getting stuck hearing from the janitors at the Delano Hotel and the wait staff at Sushi Siam. Hopefully not - I heard the artist Romero Britto came, as well as a television anchor named Craig Stevens, and I'm sure they just couldn't take every guest to every class.

Seth and Adam and I are going to be putting together longer programs like this for a community engagement residency at local elementary schools the second week of May. We should have more of an opportunity to go into depth and answer some of these kids' more probing questions. I'll try to post some pictures and stories from those sessions - it's always such a great pleasure to get to talk to little kids about music!

No comments: