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Explore Music! 2018

Boise Philharmonic Association

Throughout the 2017/18 school year, Boise Philharmonic’s Explore Music! program brought our professional musicians into classrooms and auditoriums across the Treasure Valley, introducing classical music and the musicians who make it to students from 2nd grade through college. The programs were Musicians In the Classrooms (MITC), Ensembles and Conductor In the Schools, Children’s Concerts, and the Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (BPYO). MITC brought solo musicians into classrooms for more intimate sessions between elementary classes and their teachers with lessons in musical literacy, tied to core curriculum. Children’s Concerts brought thousands of students, grades 2nd-5th, to concert halls to watch the Philharmonic perform interactive concerts led by Music Director Eric Garcia. Garcia also worked with orchestras at Boise, Capital, Timberline, and Borah high schools. BPYO held auditions for 9th-12th graders, and selected nearly 100 students to rehearse weekly throughout the year for their three concerts of full orchestral works from the classical canon. The Explore Music! program exposes classical music to children who would not normally have access to this art form, thereby broadening their worldview and possibly igniting a spark that could begin a lifelong journey in music as a musician or simply a patron of classical music.


The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do other arts, disciplines, contexts, & life inform creating, performing, & responding to music?

All of our Explore Music! programs for youth addressed this essential question based on Idaho Content Standards for the Arts and Humanities: Music. In our Children’s Concerts we connected international dance to music. In our MITC program we asked 2nd grade students to help create a narrative based on the response they have to the music they hear. For Conductor in the Schools, when Music Director Eric Garcia visited a high school to conduct their orchestra, he helped inform these student musicians of more advanced performing techniques. Our Boise Philharmonic Youth Orchestra helped young, talented musicians connect other disciplines to their daily life when performing by teaching them structure, orchestra management, business skills, and interpersonal relationships.


At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

Students are asked to respond by drawing pictures or writing letters about how the experience changed their view of music. Here are some of the comments that were received:

Class/group reflections:

Q: How can music communicate emotions? How might you be able to communicate your own feelings or emotions by singing a song?  A: Through sounds, words, beautiful, sad, happy

Q: What is one interesting thing you learned today? A: Music, 4 families of instruments, history of the French Horn

Q: What differences would you hear if 80 people of the Boise Philharmonic all play at the same time in contrast to the one person you heard today? A: Louder, more instruments, different noise, more characters

Individual student evaluation/reflection sheets:

“You’re music that ‘you’ play really helped me imagine the story.”

“I learned that music helped me imagine things.”

“I learned that you have to practice a lot to play an instrument well and not give up… P.S. I can’t wait to see you next year… mabey!”

“I learned that the violins make a pretty music.”



We request feedback of participants to gage the impact of our programs. Below are quotes from some students who have participated in our programs this year:  

“One thing I’ve learned from the Youth Orchestra is that playing with other people makes music enjoyable and makes music something that I want to do for the rest of my life. The youth orchestra has shown me that. I really enjoy playing with older players because I think it enhances my own musicianship and my own bass playing… I’m really excited to continue with BPYO because it’s a place where I can find people who are like me.”

“A couple of years ago I played Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. What I really liked about that was the mental attitude it took. Tchaikovsky did a great thing by being able to relay the message through the music… It really helped me advance my own emotions through that piece.”

“I want to major in something in humanities and go on the pre-med track. Even though I’m not majoring in music, some values I’ve learned from being in orchestra and working with new people every year… is being able to work with others and adapting, but still maintaining a certain idea of what the music should be. I think that will be valuable for however I go on.”

“Thank you for bringing us to the Morrison Senter. I enjoyed the orchestra. My favroit song was the last song. I wanna go a million more times. From: Savannah”



Overall, we feel that our programs provide a wonderful service, introducing classical music to the children of our community. The biggest improvement we made this year was expanding our inclusion of non-public schools. We made a concerted effort to invite home-, private, and charter schools in addition to our traditional audience of public school attendees. Expanding our reach to more children for our Verde Percussion Group, Children’s Concerts, and MITC programs had an impact on unifying the community and broadening our reach.

Looking ahead to next year, we think that using online registration forms for teachers and schools will definitely streamline the process of reserving seating at each function for schools. We would also look at finding a way to give even more rural schools the opportunity to come to our concerts, including helping with grants that would cover busing costs.

The most important thing that we would tell someone else who is doing this project would be for them to search out less conventional ways of reaching a broader audience. When we reached out to the homeschool community in Nampa, the response was overwhelmingly positive.The parents had previously felt ignored or disincluded in events that are tailored to public school students. We are happy to report that we were able to reach more students from Nampa than we have in previous years, because we looked for other ways to find and attract students.