Monday, December 18 , 2017, 9:53 am | Fair 54º


Santa Barbara Symphony’s Music Classes Hitting a High Note in Goleta Schools

Partnership between the symphony and Goleta Union School District brings students and instructors together for small-group sessions

It’s 2 p.m. Thursday, and while many of Goleta’s elementary schoolkids are rushing out into the chilly fall air after class, there are others staying behind, bows in hand, ready to play some music.

In one room at Foothill School, three upper-graders are holding cellos between their knees, bows poised to drag out the melody to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” Elsewhere, others are holding violins between chins and shoulders as their instructor shows them how to bow their instruments.

The string workshops are the latest in the ongoing effort by the Santa Barbara Symphony to bring the arts to local students. The program, held in collaboration with the Goleta Union School District, brings teachers and would-be musicians together in small classes to get the kids interested in and practicing the sting instrument of their choice.

“It’s really important for students to have music eduction at an early age and to be sure that starts when they are young so it can continue throughout their lives,” said Amy Bassett, the symphony’s newly installed director of education and outreach.

The Goleta Union School District and the symphony have had a decades-long relationship with music classes. Aside from the string workshop, the symphony brings free education to young musicians of all levels, from beginners in the Music Van program, where they pick up their instruments for the first time, to programs such as Junior Strings and Concerts for Young People — all of which fall under the Youth Symphony program in which the performers are mentored in a professional atmosphere to perform much like their counterparts in the Santa Barbara Symphony.

About 4,500 youths in the county participate in the educational programs, from elementary to high school.

“I like it because it’s really fun knowing how to play the music,” 11-year-old Eli Nania said.

Meanwhile, Roxy Jackson-Gain and Amanda Weymouth, both 11, agree that the cello is a fun instrument and would like to get better at it.

While Eli, Amanda and Roxy are learning fingering, timing and how to pull a perfect note from their cellos, what they might not know is that they’re also learning other skills — exercising hand/eye coordination between reading notes and playing, training their ears to understand the relationship of notes to one another, awareness and participation between different players and different instruments, and not the least of which is the confidence and poise that comes with performing in front of an audience.

The Strings Workshop, according to Santa Barbara Symphony director David Grossman, came to GUSD mainly because there was a more pronounced need for strings instruction in the district. As a result, GUSD and the symphony have a close relationship, particularly over sting instruction.

But, Grossman said, it doesn’t rule out spreading instruction to other districts, or expanding instruction to other instruments.

“As the program grows, because we have ambitious plans for the future, we will be extending it into the other families of symphonic works,” he said.

Noozhawk contributing writer Sonia Fernandez can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >