Why I Support the BRAVO! Music Education Program Pt. 2

Judy Vander returns as our guest blogger for the second installment of her post on what it is that makes BRAVO! such a special program. Last time, Judy explained the BRAVO’s several unique workshops; this week she introduces a few of the incredible artists make the program so successful.

BRAVO!’s October Metales Concert

Another reason why I’m proud to support the BRAVO! Program is its collection of extraordinary artists who present their own, unique workshops for the students.

Andy Radford, bassoonist, is BRAVO!’s overall Coordinator/Director. He presents his amazing Adopt-a-Musician workshop,  which includes focused listening: learning to recognize the instruments of the orchestra as well as recognize musical patterns.  From his rich background of performing for major movie studios, Andy shows how music underscores and enhances the emotional/expressive aspects of movies.

Andy is joined by three other outstanding musicians—Julie Tumamait, Judy Piazza, and John Zeretzke—who teach different strands of world music. Julie Tumamait, a member of the Chumash tribe, teaches both Chumash songs and Chumash culture to the students. This is an unusual and authentic experience for the students, an opportunity for cross cultural contact and learning that not even many adult Americans have ever had.  Judy Piazza has studied drum music around the world and the songs that go with the drum patterns. She enriches the musical brew for the students in her own wonderful way—teaching songs and rhythmic patterns, along with the history and geography from whatever part of the world the songs and rhythms originate.

John Zeretzke is a master performer of instruments from around the world, and has composed scores for dance and theater. He gives Ojai students demonstrations on flutes from around the world and lectures on the development of instruments.  Most recently, he created the “Flutes Across the World” program for elementary students. In it, he makes flutes from pipes and given each student two flutes to complete by sanding and decorating. One flute is for the Ojai student to keep and  John takes the second flute, which includes a picture of the Ojai student who decorated it, and personally gives it to a student of a third world country. John’s program teaches music, art, and so much more: he teaches the connection between all people, generosity, and altruism.  He has received a United Nations award for this work.

Is there another music education program of this unique quality in California?  In the United States?  Why am I proud to support the BRAVO! programs?  Let me count the ways!

To learn more about BRAVO! click here.

Why I Support the BRAVO! Music Education Program

Judy Vander has been a  BRAVO! Music Education Program volunteer and friend of the Festival for several years. She is our guest blogger this week as she describes just what it is that makes BRAVO! special.

Judy with the BRAVO! Music Van

Why am I proud to support the extraordinary BRAVO! programs?  Let me count the ways…

Let me start with the Education Through Music workshops, an interactive music program for Kindergarten and first graders that teaches basic musical elements through games, songs, and movement. This relatively new program taps into the natural joy of children and infects the lucky person who gets to witness it. It is currently being taught at five elementary schools in Ojai. Moving on to third grade, Ojai students are all visited by the Music Van, which brings instruments from all the sections of the orchestra to the schools so that every student has a chance to play on every instrument. Logically, this program precedes the fourth grade when students have the chance to pick an instrument of their choice to learn and can join band programs. BRAVO! also funds a special string program where students are given a violin to use for as long as they are part of an instrumental program.

Every year BRAVO! organizes two concerts for the 5th-6th graders, to show them the wonderful musical opportunities that will open up to them when they move on up to Matilija Middle School and Nordhoff High School. The first of these is the IMAGINE concert. Student musical groups from these upper level schools perform and set an inspiring example for the elementary student audience. The second concert, Sing! focuses on vocal music. Prior to the concert, all 6th graders learn two songs. The concert itself features performances by the Matilija and Nordhoff choirs, as well as a set by professional singers. Near the end of the concert, the student audience is thrilled as the choir members come off the stage, mixing with them as they all sing together the two songs that they all had learned in preparation for the concert . . .

To learn more about BRAVO! click here. Look for Part Two of Judy’s blog coming soon!

Who’s Afraid of New Music?

If you spend any time contemplating directions in contemporary classical music, not to say designing programs full of it, or selling tickets to said programs, no matter how adventurous the vast majority of your audience may be, you almost invariably eventually run into the response, “I just don’t get it.” This is often a kind of mask for “I just really don’t like it,” or worse. In his book, Fear of Music, David stubbs explores why people are drawn to the visual experimentations of Rothko, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into affection for Stockhausen or Cage. NPR’s excellent program, To the Best of our Knowledge just conducted a fascinating interview with Mr. Stubbs. You can hear the whole interview here.