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. 

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 30 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.

The BRAVO program believes in the practice of kindness, acceptance, and integrity through music. We create and connect to bring each other joy. The sublime activity of making music together creates an altered sense of time. It is an experience worth doing for itself. These are the characteristics of play state, where flow and creativity flourish.

When true play is present, failure is a gift. We adjust and balance. We learn to enjoy even that. Play is one of the greatest equalizers we have in society. When we play together, we are equal participants; no child or adult has any advantage over any other. People who have play experiences together are much less likely to lash out at their peers, but rather work to come to a resolution. Music features many opportunities for partnership and collaboration, as we get to practice listening to all ideas and negotiating solutions.

At the core of the BRAVO program are weekly Education Through Music (ETM) classes for every Transitional Kindergartner through Second Grader, including children with special needs. These weekly music sessions improve students’ pattern recognition, social skills, and teamwork abilities. ETM is offered to every TK-2 (ages 4-8) student in the Ojai School District. BRAVO is the only music program in the schools for these ages.

Diversity is a focus of our ETM program. We sing songs from many traditions. The song Bombalalom comes from the deep south of Brazil and means “our place of peace”. Sharing our peaceful place builds attachment to our community, because it is something very personal about us, and we want to be known. The beauty of this song when sung in a round, or with other partner songs or its descant, helps us to appreciate each other.

If one person gets two turns during a song, this is the best and luckiest day for them! It is the enactment of life, and the antidote for entitlement. Not everyone gets a turn, and this is one of our most authentic life lessons. The children adjust quickly and learn how to be happy and cheer when their classmates are chosen. It creates a community of learners, ready to support each other.

Our work with children helps us become aware of those around us, and how our actions are affecting them. This is gained by play, mutual experiences of sharing space, sound, and taking turns. In music, we are not doing our work alone. We cooperate to create beauty. Bravo brings wonder and marvel to new generations all year long.

BRAVO’s Music Van brings instruments from all orchestral families to third through 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.

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, Ojai O’Daiko Drumming, Music of the Chumash Culture, and Latin Jazz flute. We also present a free community performance.

Professional musicians work directly with Ojai public school students in 4th and 5th grades by having small group interactions with artists. Musicians include Dave Cipriani – guitar and music from India, Cameron Schubert – cello and songwriting, Kathleen Robertson – violin, Shelley Burgon- harp, Julie Tumamait – Chumash music, and Rosanne Forgette – drumming. Artists will share the journeys of their musical life, play for the children, and invite critical thinking and exploration of sound and emotions. We believe the students will be excited to attend concerts, to have music be part of their lives, and to participate in the artistic community. Having these close encounters will inspire students to further their own interests in music. Music and the arts can bring us deep joy, which leads to intelligence and cultural engagement in society. This program is funded by the Ojai Women’s Fund.

Bridge Program
Third grade classes visit with seniors at The Gables Senior Living and The Artesian. 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!

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 FY2023 year to bring Artists in Residency 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 >>