Houston Symphony, engaging students with music—in person and virtually

Posted on: January 25, 2022

Students from one of the Houston Symphony’s partner schools perform at Jones Hall in December. Photo: Melissa Taylor

“When the Houston Symphony’s musicians step offstage, they often step into one of their less heralded but perhaps equally crucial duties: introducing school-age children to the joys of music,” writes Chris Gray in Sunday’s (1/23) Houston Chronicle. “Because the pandemic complicated many of the traditional ways the orchestra does this—the Saturday-afternoon family concert series, concerts in schools and classroom-level interactions between musicians and students, for example—its department of education and community engagement produced a series of brief videos last fall titled ‘Meet the Instruments.’ So far, nine videos have been posted…. Musicians typically play a selection or two tailor-made to show off their instruments—principal tuba Dave Kirk chooses ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ and ‘The Stars and Stripes Forever’—between explaining how their instruments work and why they enjoy playing them…. ‘Our goal is to get instruments in their hands, (so) that they learn all the life skills and everything that goes into learning an instrument,’ says Allison Conlan, the orchestra’s director of education…. Students in later grades begin joining school-sponsored ensembles … ‘It’s like sports: There’s a very important social aspect to being in an orchestra program or band program,’ ” Houston Symphony cellist Maki Kubota says.”