The Santa Barbara Symphony has announced its continued partnership with the Santa Barbara Unified School District to present BRAVO!, the popular after-school music education program.
This year, the free program is being offered virtually to fifth- and sixth-grade students.
“During this unprecedented time, the disparities in education have become apparent, and the symphony’s mission to provide music education to the community is more important now than it has ever been,” said Kristine Pacheco-Bernt, the orchestra’s director of music education, in a statement. “In the face of the daunting challenges and diminished resources during COVID, collaborating with the team at SBUSD has been inspiring.
“The BRAVO! program gives students the opportunity to hone their skills, while supporting and inspiring them. We are very grateful to everyone involved, especially our teaching artists, in finding an innovative path forward for this program.”
According to studies by the National Association for Music Education, music training helps elementary school students’ cognitive development and social-emotional learning. BRAVO! was developed five years ago to supplement the district’s in-school music programs by offering two additional, free music lessons each week.
Students work with school district teachers and local professional musicians. By strengthening this elementary level music experience, the BRAVO! music program provides a pathway for students to enroll and be successful in junior high and high school music ensembles.
“Santa Barbara Unified is thrilled to be partnering with the Santa Barbara Symphony again this school year to ensure that students deepen their love of music and instrumental proficiency,” said Sierra Loughridge, the district’s director of elementary education. “This year, we worked closely with the symphony to adapt the Bravo After School Program into a virtual program, where students can work safely with professional symphony musicians, in instrumental sectionals to increase their mastery of their chosen instruments.
“We recognize that the benefits of playing a musical instrument go beyond cultivating music appreciation. The benefits include an increase in students’ critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, art, expression and mathematics skills. As such, we are thankful for this important partnership and eager to see and hear the music that students make as a result.”
The symphony stressed in a news release that it is working to inspire a passion for symphonic music in the next generation and make music accessible to everyone. During the pandemic, the Music Education Center has adapted to an online environment.
Through partnerships with school districts, community organizations, and support from donors and funders, the center has been able to continue all of its music education programs this year.
For more information, go to thesymphony.org/education/bravo.