Saturday, October 20 , 2018, 5:48 pm | Fair 80º


Santa Barbara Symphony’s Youth Programs Teach More Than Music

From the Music Van to Musical Mentors, its education suite helps build character — and dreams

Celebrating nearly 60 years of great music, the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra Association was founded on the belief that a special city deserves a special orchestra.

The symphony is celebrated for its unique ability to deliver brilliant orchestral concerts while maintaining a strong commitment to education and community engagement. With audiences almost twice the size of any orchestra in the Santa Barbara area, the Santa Barbara Symphony is, according to Mayor Helene Schneider, “a jewel in Santa Barbara’s crown.”

In addition to a full concert season with internationally acclaimed artists and conductors, the symphony is dedicated to providing opportunities for local youth to experience and participate in music while building self-esteem and community.

Santa Barbara Symphony — Music Education Suite

These programs take students from their first experience with an instrument at the Music Van to learning a string instrument in the String Workshop. Then students have the opportunity to experience a live, orchestral concert at Concerts for Young People, gain beginning ensemble skills with the Junior Strings, and finally perform with the Youth Symphony.

» The Music Van: A beloved mobile music classroom filled with orchestral instruments allows 8- and 9-year-olds to learn about the instruments and then get to play each and every one of them. It’s loud, it’s fun and it gives these youngsters a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

» Strings Workshop: A weekly after-school string program in Goleta public schools that offers small group instruction to students in grades four through six.

» Concerts for Young People: A free performance, designed for grades four, five and six, that comes with interactive curriculum introducing students in Santa Barbara County to a live orchestral experience. For some of these kids, it’s the first time they are ever in a symphonic hall and hearing a symphony.

» Junior Strings: Teaches young musicians the skills needed to perform with other instruments.

» Youth Symphony: A 65- to 70-member performing youth orchestra open to students ages 12 to 20 throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

In addition to the Music Education Suite, the Santa Barbara Symphony is pleased to continue offering Musical Mentors. This program provides local schools a unique opportunity to interact with distinguished professional guest artists and musicians from the symphony’s concert season. The “assembly” is full of kids from all types of backgrounds and ages. They have the opportunity to talk with these visiting musicians and the kids ask the most insightful questions.

How to Get Involved

The Santa Barbara Symphony is in need of your support to keep our Youth Music Education programs going strong so we can help our 8,000 students experience and enjoy music now and for years to come. Click here or call the symphony office at 805.898.9386.

We are also always looking for volunteers who love music and are excited about sharing the symphony’s programs with the community.

— Lisa Holzman for the Santa Barbara Symphony.

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