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Idaho Falls Symphony Outreach

Idaho Falls Symphony

Our annual request focuses on three projects: 1) Ambassador Program, which brings live classical music presentations into elementary schools. Eager students actively engage with our professional musicians and learn about the instruments, how to listen to music, and learn the language that describes music. The Ambassador Program provides free, early exposure to classical music. 2) the Family Concert targets families with children of all ages. Kids are encouraged to be kids, and families are admitted together on a single discounted ticket. Often the concerts feature narration, story telling, actors, audience participation with the Symphony, and much more. The Instrument Petting Zoo greets families in the lobby and provides a free hands-on, educational opportunity, hosted by the musicians of the Symphony. We want even the youngest generation to give music a try! 3)the Idaho Falls Youth Symphony supports the musical training and ambitions of approximately 70 high-school-aged musicians. Concerts of the Youth Symphony are now free and open to the public. Private Lessons Scholarships are available to members with financial need, and concurrent participation in school band and orchestra programs is required. We also hold an annual Youth Symphony Concerto Competition to allow high achievers within our program to shine.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do we best enhance existing music education in our community?

For the 2019-2020 season, the Idaho Falls Symphony continued serving the community with its known educational outreach programs that send professional musicians into schools, welcome families into the concert hall, and encourage community connections that strengthen music education. However, we also added a second ensemble to our youth orchestra program in order to respond to the high number of strings players who have historically auditioned. The new ensemble held 30 students in its pilot year, leading us to believe that it was a much-needed addition to our offerings.

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

Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent shut-down, most of our educational programming was interrupted before we could complete them and survey the students. However, based on responses for our programming for next year, we think that the addition of the second ensemble to our youth orchestras is a positive step for us to take, and response to our Ambassador Program remains high as well.

Impact

The evidence is overwhelming that music strengthens the mind’s intellectual and creative capacities. Specialists in virtually every field of behavioral science, education, and child psychology continue to describe the benefits of an early and lasting exposure to music. Music allows us to connect with people and to bridge geographic, socioeconomic, and social boundaries. In the classroom, classical music has the effect of awakening a sense of possibility in students. The study of music as a language increases our ability to learn foreign languages. Advanced training on a musical instrument builds character and instills a strong work ethic. We hope our education programs will contribute to an understanding of the diversity of the world’s cultures and musical styles.

Reflection

With the hiring of a new staff member to our education team this year, the Idaho Falls Symphony looked forward to drastically expanding and improving our outreach. While many great efforts were made, the bulk of our educational programming takes place in the spring, and early 2020 saw an unprecedented global pandemic that shut down all of our programming. We still reached into the schools through our Ambassador Program, and we were able to hold our Family Concert, but our youth orchestras were both forced out of concerts and performance opportunities. It is absolutely our goal to regain as much momentum as we can as the world navigates our “new normal”.

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