Students treated to classical music |

Students treated to classical music

Brandon Dupont, a 7-year-old second grader, grinned and raised his hand eagerly after a short classical concert at Gold Run Elementary School, saying he liked the piano sections the best.

He’s the kind of kid the people from Music in the Mountains are trying to reach with their new Music Live program for area youth.

During Tuesday’s concert, musicians from the local nonprofit demonstrated the cello and the technique of “pizzicato” – plucking at the strings of an instrument to create music instead of playing them with bows – to an enraptured young audience.

The challenge of playing classical music for children is “to make it exciting for them and draw their attention,” said Randi Soule, violinist with Music in the Mountains since 1983. The pleasure lies in “seeing them enjoy it, when they recognize a piece and are smiling.”

Susan Mahaffy, kindergarten teacher at Gold Run School, said she felt “lucky” to have the concert there.

“It is important for young children to be exposed to this kind of music and learn to listen,” Mahaffy added.

The quintet presented pieces from Claude Debussy, Antonin Dvorak, Gustav Holst and Wolfgang Mozart to more than 200 students gathered in the multipurpose room. Music Live’s 40-minute concerts at schools countywide also showcase student performers. The program – in its first year – has arranged about 15 concerts during the present school year, said Mark Vance, education coordinator for Music in the Mountains.

In addition, Music in the Mountains presents two full-orchestra concerts at the Nevada County Fairgrounds for school children. But Music Live brings the concert to the campus, artistic director and conductor Paul Perry said.

“I select short pieces,” Perry said. “I don’t think we do anything that lasts over five minutes. We break up the pieces with question and answers and demonstrate the instruments.”

Music in the Mountains offers other educational programs that help students develop a taste for classical music.

More than 170 local schools espouse the Brummit-Taylor Listening Program offered through MIM, Vance said. Students listen to classical music of all kinds for five minutes every school day for five years. Every week, a new piece is selected and played repeatedly, Perry said. The repetition ingrains the music in their heads, Perry added.

“Listening to classical music calms the kids,” Perry said. “One teacher once said, after (they hear the) listening program, the kids are nicer to one another.”


To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail or call 477-4229.

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