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A Fusion of Music and Education Inspires Youth

January 7, 2016

Throughout history, music has been linked to the vibrancy and vitality of place and time. It is part of our every day lives and an integral part of the Cedar Valley.

"We want to offer as much meaning to the life of the community as we can, and we see these concerts as one of the primary ways we can do that," said Jason Weinberger, artistic director and CEO of the wcfsymphony.

Designed for fourth through sixth grade elementary students from the Cedar Valley and surrounding communities, wcfsymphony's youth concerts provide an opportunity for students to experience an outside-of-school concert hall experience.

"This concert gives students a real concrete opportunity to see, observe and experience what it is to make music where they may not have those models around them all the time," Jason said. "We look at youth concerts as a very important tool in terms of encouraging students to try instruments. It gives them some knowledge of the different instruments, how the sounds are made and what kind of sounds they make."

Youth concerts also integrate tools for educators to build on in their classrooms. Each year, a curriculum guide is developed to dovetail with the educational needs of the schools.

"All of our programs try to embrace broader circular topics or areas of study, so often times it will be geography or history. We've done storytelling and focused on narrative. We've done art and focused on visual responses," Jason said. "So in a way, beyond the basic musical experience, the kids also really have a new way of looking at topics they are already studying in school and that seems to really enliven students."

For some students, a lifelong passion for music develops. Some come back years later citing the youth concert as the driving force for choosing music as a career. But on its deepest level, youth concerts are about developing youth with open minds and a curiosity to explore new ideas and perspectives.

"It's something that to us is a vital part of the human existence," said Jason. "Any community to embrace the idea of the value of live art understands the kind of education it brings when you pass those opportunities on. It expands your horizons and changes your perspective on everything else in life."