Orchestrating Partnerships

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Abby Lorimier is one of the nation’s most talented high school cellists. On a Friday night this past December Boston Children’s Museum visitors had the privilege of hearing her play. Abby is a participant in the Center for the Development of Arts Leaders (CDAL) through NPR’s classical music radio show From the Top. Throughout the year, the talented, passionate, young musicians of From the Top lead musical demonstrations at the Museum.

It was at one of these performances, two months earlier that Kyung-Nam Oh, the conductor of the Youth Family Enrichment Services (YoFES) music program in Hyde Park, heard Matt Ludwig, another From the Top cellist. The program inspired him to suggest that his students perform at the Museum. A few phone calls later, and it was all set. Mr. Oh’s students would come to the Museum, listen and learn from the FTT musician, and then perform themselves. Continue reading

At The Intersection of Music and Art, Collections and Education

IMG00817-20150523-1516-1Boston Children’s Museum has an art gallery on the second floor, which is sometimes overlooked as children run from Arthur’s World to Johnny’s Workbench. Exhibits rotate every two months, with work from local, contemporary artists. A recent exhibit was Floor van de Velde’s A Curious Symphony and it featured a wide variety of musical instruments from the Museum’s collections, arranged to show off instruments from around the world. Music played overhead and in phone booths so visitors could hear a range of music from different countries, cultures, and eras. On one of the last Saturdays of the exhibit’s run, I held guitar-making workshops for nineteen visitors and their grown-ups.

Since the fall, I have planned workshops for each new Gallery exhibit, hoping to help children explore the art in new ways and obtain new tools for encountering and interpreting art. Past workshops included learning how to “Move Like a Monster” for Monster Party and designing a boat for dreams for The Star Travelers’ Dreams. This A Curious Symphony exhibit challenged me. Initially, the instrument-making workshops I eventually settled on seemed too obvious. But sometimes the most obvious ideas are the best ones. Continue reading

Strengthening our Schools through the Arts

Boston Landmarks Orchestra Children's MuseumAs a young girl growing up in the vital and creative Detroit of the 1960s, and with parents who loved to explore the city, I was taken early to the Detroit Institute of Arts, the ballet and local theatres. As a public school student, we traveled by bus to the Detroit Symphony, the Detroit Historical Museum, and the Cranbrook Museums. We sculpted in art class and acted in theatre class. I met others who also loved words and music and painting. I dreamt of a career in the theater, and this year will celebrate 40 years in the arts.

In his Boston Globe Opinion of January 11th, writer John Garelick contends that Boston’s next superintendent should be an arts advocate. Arguing that “arts education is a necessity not a luxury,” Garelick points to the remarkable turnaround of Boston’s Orchard Gardens School in Roxbury, and how, under a new Principal dedicated to the arts, it went from one of the worst schools in the state to one of the best, with some of the top MCAS results in the Commonwealth. Continue reading

Modes of Music Programming: Inspire

InspireIn the past couple of months I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with a fabulous local organization, From the Top.  From the Top is a Boston-based, independent non-profit organization that celebrates the power of music made by young people.  One facet of From the Top is their Center for the Development of Arts Leaders.  CDAL participants are talented high school and college-aged musicians who want to leverage their talents to advocate for the arts in their home communities.  These Arts Leaders bring their music programs to retirement centers, schools and most recently, Boston Children’s Museum’s Target $1 Friday Nights.

This partnership truly benefits both organizations mutually.  Our visitors get to experience and learn about music and musical instruments from some of the most talented young musicians in the country.  The Arts Leaders in turn get first-hand experience performing for a family audience and introducing basic elements of music theory to children ages 2 – 7 years old.  One Arts Leader, 16 year old violinist Yoo Jin Ahn reflected: Continue reading