BRAVO Education and Community Program

In 2022 BRAVO will be celebrating 30 years of enthusiastic participation in bringing music education and opportunities to our community. Watch for our exciting activities!

The Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO Education and Community Programs are committed to fostering the next generation of musicians and artists. Through its student music education workshops, internship opportunities, symposia sessions, and community performances, the Festival is passionate about providing music education to all ages. 

BRAVO in Schools

For over 25 years, the BRAVO program has been leading children on a journey of music education. They engage in creative problem solving, develop teamwork skills, and discover how music relates to other core curriculum, especially language arts, history, geography, and math. The BRAVO program enriches students’ foundational skills for academic and personal success.

In the arts, we are cultivating brains that enjoy thinking deeply, exploring, probing. We build the muscles to learn and know more deeply. What is the point of submerging ourselves in beauty, while also living in a culture that values facts? What function does beauty hold for us? One is that it brings us deep joy. Joyful children are different than children who are having fun. Opening up joy in a person leads to intelligence. The practices of play and imagination support the growth of intelligence. In this way, music feeds us.

Feelings of isolation can be eased through the arts, because of the boost in connection. We are finding this even over virtual experiences like Zoom. The ritual and structure provided by play and music help us with transitions. Play provides a suspension of worry and concern. When we get lost in the moment, our stress levels can lower. This creates a community of learners, ready to support each other. Ready for anything!

At the core of the BRAVO program are weekly Education Through Music (ETM) classes for every Kindergartner through Third Grader, including children with special needs. These weekly music sessions improve students’ pattern recognition, social skills, and teamwork abilities. ETM is offered to every K-3 (ages 4-9) student in the Ojai Valley, including children with special needs. BRAVO is the only music program in the schools for these ages. The program ensures that young students continue to have access to music education by replacing the once-standard music classes that have since disappeared from public school curricula.

Music is a subject that can attract all brains. We include math with rhythms, repetitions, ratios (singing two or more songs together). We include language by expanding vocabulary through descriptive words, reading and writing verses, and creating maps of the songs. We normalize equal social standing by changing partners, learning to accept all partners, and stabilizing the emotional system through play. All are included. Through music, our eyes shine brighter!

BRAVO’s Music Van brings instruments from all orchestral families to fifth grade classrooms throughout Ojai and two Ventura schools for hands-on demonstrations and exploration. Staffed by dedicated Festival volunteers and Women’s Committee members, the Music Van is timed to grant students the opportunity to try instruments before signing up for the district band and string program. Special thanks for supplying the Music Van goes to the Santa Barbara Symphony Music Education Center.

Every year, the IMAGINE concert introduces students ages 9-12 to professional musicians, through music from many genres and parts of the world. Thanks to our partnership with the Ojai Valley School and the Barbara Barnard Smith World Music Fund, students have heard classical clarinet, bluegrass fiddle, storytelling with percussion, music from India and the Middle East, and Latin Jazz flute. We also present a free community performance.

At the core of the BRAVO program are its artist residencies. These multi-unit programs encourage musicians and teachers to work cooperatively to promote meaningful learning through engagement and mentoring. Artists residencies include:

Chumash Culture
Local Chumash tribal elder Julie Tumamait shares the history of the Native American population that lived in the Ojai Valley through music, story and movement. Children learn how important it is to know the stories of the people who have lived on this land.

Bridge Program
Third grade classes visit with seniors at The Gables Senior Living and the Ojai Community Hospital Continuing Care Center. The children volunteer eagerly to choose a senior to be their partner. They play Rig-a-Jig with skipping, Kitty Casket with spinning, and Roll Little Liza with finding ways to roll. The children include any seniors that are happy to get up and join, or sometimes they just hold their hand. They sing a Thomas Tallis canon from the 16th century. They ask the residents to share their wisdom. Singing the Love Canon, they look into each other’s faces, and acknowledge the love and care that is in the room. The intergenerational experience brings deepened relationships for all ages. The whole time is just irresistible!

Bach and the Cello
Cameron Schubert speaks to students about playing the cello, the music of Bach, and song-writing. He demonstrates by singing and playing some very cool Celtic music, along with Bach and original compositions. This is a wonderful opportunity for the children to ask questions and be inspired to take up an instrument themselves.

The Festival’s BRAVO music education & community program is made possible by many generous donors and welcomes your support. For more information on BRAVO, please contact the Festival office at 805 646 2094 or [email protected].

Special thanks to the Ojai Festival Women’s Committee for their ongoing support of BRAVO.

The BRAVO program acknowledges the Ojai Women’s Fund for support during our FY2021 year to bring the Education Through Music programs to Ojai Valley public school students. 



Bravo in the Community

Community Connections
BRAVO’s Upbeat program brings joyful music to an additional segment of the Ojai community, at the Continuing Care Center, The Gables Senior Living, The Artesian Senior Living, and the Arc Ojai Enrichment Center. Storyteller Joann Yabrof brings delightful stories and song to residents. Speech Pathologist Kathy Broesamle sings and moves with clients. Cameron Schubert plays classical and celtic cello, and performs several of his original compositions. Julie Tumamait reaches out to the elders in the spirit of Chumash traditional songs and dances. These experiences provide the opportunity to take part in collaborative music-making and musical expression.

Additional community outreach includes:

  • Free concerts and lectures during Festival weekend
  • Free performances during the Festival
  • Free and discounted Festival tickets for students
  • Festival preview events that allow the public behind-the-scenes access to Festival planning and programming
  • Music Van demonstrations at community events such as Ojai Day and at the Ojai Valley Museum

For more information, contact the Festival office at 805 646 2094 or [email protected].

Watch the Inuksuit community event performance held at Libbey Park during the 2012 Ojai Music Festival >>