I have two partner schools: Cooper's Poynt Elementary in Camden and The Jackson School in South Philadelphia. Each week, I teach the 3rd and 4th graders at both schools; the philosophy of the program is "Engagement before Information," and to that end, we discover all about music together. We use recorders, step bells, percussion equipment, voices, visual art, and movement as tools to explore symphonic themes and forms, and to simply understand music in a more complete way. This year we've been concentrating on Beethoven in order to prepare for the Philadelphia Orchestra "Beethoven Lives Upstairs" educational concert in March. By the end of the year, each class will have written a piece of music that includes parts for recorder orchestra, percussion, and flute (me).
This past week, the students at the schools had the opportunity to meet Astral Artists in an intimate workshop. Then, next week they'll all travel to the Girard Academic Music Program to hear the same Astral Artists in a more formal concert. I loved watching the students' faces light up as they heard Für Elise performed live for the first time (we had studied it in class two weeks prior). Below are a couple of snippets from the final gathering at Cooper's Poynt.