BRAVO Education and Community Programs

BRAVO In Schools

For over 30 years, the BRAVO program has been leading children in the Ojai Valley on a journey of music education. Over the course of each year, the BRAVO program serves nearly 3,000 people and over 1,000 workshops at local senior centers and 18 schools serving elementary students.

Through Education Through Music, students engage in creative problem-solving, develop teamwork skills, and discover how music relates to their core curriculum, especially language arts, history, geography, and math. During the Music Van, students get the chance to try an instrument they would never have had access to otherwise. At the Imagine Concert, students attend a high-quality concert of music from a culture vastly different from their own. Continue reading to see more ways in which BRAVO does the essential work of bringing music to Ojai’s youth.

Education Through Music

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.

Students at the Sunset School engage in ETM in 2022

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 and 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.

Music Van

BRAVO’s Music Van brings instruments from all orchestral families to third through fifth-grade classrooms throughout Ojai and two Ventura schools. Every student who attends Music Van gets the chance to hear and learn about orchestral instruments. Incredibly, they also each have a turn playing every instrument through gentle and explorative instruction.

Generously provided by the Santa Barbara Symphony and staffed by dedicated Festival volunteers and Women’s Committee members, the Music Van allows younger students to explore various instruments before signing up for the district band and string program.

Imagine Concert

Every Spring, the Imagine Concert introduces students in the Ojai Valley ages 9-12 to professional musicians, through music from many genres and parts of the world. Students are given the opportunity to immerse in the concert experience at Libbey Bowl. Imagine Concert audiences are usually upwards of 800 students.

Students join performers on stage and dance with Tamakan Rhythms in 2023

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.

BRAVO also presents a free community performance in conjunction with the annual Imagine Concert, which is well-attended by families and friends of the Festival.

SCORE Composition Program

SCORE is a new, music composition enrichment class offered to select high school students in conjunction with the Ojai Music Festival and Bravo Music Program. This class will provide the tools and guidance necessary for students to compose their own musical works, culminating in an end-of-year concert where the student pieces will be performed.

In this class, students will learn to find their own compositional voices and processes by composing for themselves and their fellow classmates in a series of cumulative projects. Through each project, students will learn a new tool of the compositional process, from music notation and idea generation to notation software and audio recording. Listening sessions, composition lessons, and guest speakers will enhance the class’s exploration of musical composition and contemporary music in general.

Artists in Residence

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 Programs

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. They also sing a Thomas Tallis canon from the 16th century.

Students sing an interactive song with seniors at the Artesian of Ojai

The children include any seniors who are happy to get up and join, or sometimes they just hold their hand. 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.

BRAVO in the Community

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 and family-focused events and lectures during Festival weekend
  • Free, pop-up performances during the Festival
  • Discounted tickets for students and faculty (visit our FAQ to learn more)
  • Festival preview events for the public of Ojai
  • Music Van demonstrations at community programs like Ojai Day and at the Ojai Valley Museum
  • Ojai Festival Internship

Support BRAVO

The Festival’s BRAVO Education & Community Program is made possible by many generous donors and welcomes your support.

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