Orchestrating education | TheUnion.com

Orchestrating education

Mark Vance
Submitted to The Union

For the last 10 years, hundreds of Nevada County children have been listening to classical music — five minutes a day, five days a week. Following a five-year curriculum, students listen to the same selection for a week, each day hearing a little more about the music or its composer in a short scripted lesson.

Children are introduced to 30 composers and 131 pieces of music representing the best of 400 years of classical music. They hear different moods, styles and combinations of instruments, and learn about composers' purposes and creative process.

Music in the Mountains has offered the Brummitt-Taylor Classical Music Listening Program free to schools since 2002, and many teachers from every district in the county have been taking advantage of it. Developed by Canadians David Brummitt and Karen Taylor, themselves teachers, it is an easy-to-use kit consisting of a guide book and eight CDs. The program reflects belief in the power of great music, trust in the value of repeated listening, and appreciation of composers' skill and creativity.

Due to cutbacks in arts education, many students would receive no music instruction whatsoever without this program. Related programs offered by Music in the Mountains include free on-site performances: Peers Performing 4 Peers, featuring outstanding local young musicians in school classrooms, and Music live, featuring professional musicians in school assemblies. In collaboration with the Nevada County Superintendent of Schools Office, MIM also offers a live classical concert especially for Nevada County's 4th graders every spring called Classics for Kids.

"The Music in the Mountains education program has provided exceptional programs and opportunities for our students for many years," Holly Hermansen, Nevada County Superintendent of Schools said. "The Brummitt-Taylor Music Listening Program is an example of one of the incredible programs offered to teachers throughout Nevada County that has provided music enjoyment and education to our students. Just listening to the testimony of the educators who have been involved in the program can demonstrate what an impact it has had in our schools."

Music in the Mountains is dedicated to opening the world of classical music to future generations.

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Mark Vance is the education coordinator for Music in the Mountains.

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