Auburn choir seeks to improve music programs

$7,000 grant will go to three schools
By: Amber Marra, Journal Staff Writer
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Music programs in three Auburn schools will benefit from a $7,000 grant from Colla Voce this year.

Bowman Charter School, Alta Vista Charter Academy and Skyridge Elementary will all implement the Bravo Music Appreciation Curriculum this year thanks to the grant, according to Janine Dexter, artistic coordinator for Colla Voce.

The grant is through a local family that Dexter said wishes to remain anonymous.

"I got tired of hearing about what the state should be providing if they had any money, which they don't. I figure the arts education and early imprinting of our children is our responsibility as a community, so why not take back that responsibility and do something about it rather than expending that energy complaining about what isn't happening," Dexter said.

The Bravo Music Appreciation Curriculum was created by Rita Docter, of Minneapolis, Minn. Tara McConnell, a music therapist and music docent coordinator for Colla Voce, said the program focuses on introducing students to classical music at a young age.

"It gives kids a chance to listen and be creative and discuss the imagery and the things the music makes them think of," McConnell said.

The program consists of a monthly class that will be taught by parent volunteers at each school. Only first- and second-grade classes will go through the program this year and next year kindergarten and third-grade classes will have it next year. Docter came to Auburn on Oct. 18 to go through a training on the curriculum with the 18 parents who have volunteered to teach it.

Dexter said she plans on applying for another grant so it can be expanded to other schools next year.

"It's about learning notation and about the orchestra. It involves listening to classical works and learning how to listen to them and what to listen for in those works," Dexter said.

McConnell added that each lesson within the Bravo Music Appreciation Curriculum includes a "classroom connections" aspect that will link math, social studies, science and English to what the students will learn in their music classes.

"As a music therapist, I've spent my career using music experience to facilitate learning, as music simultaneously jumpstarts the entire brain, emotive, cognitive, motor and language centers," McConnell said. "It engages children in learning with applications in all core academic areas."

Contact Amber Marra at Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.