South Coast Youth Group Strives to Fill Gaps in Elementary Music Programs | School zone
In the spring of 2020, nearly 200 students in the Goleta Union School District lost their school’s orchestra program due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, leaving students entering college musically unprepared for the next levels of their musical journey. .
âIn the past, by the time kids had completed the elementary program, they would read music and, on some level, were ready to enter college,â said Sandy Adams, former program co-director for the GUSD group. âBut because these programs stopped in schools, there are very, very few students coming to college who can play the instrument, so high schools will have to start over as a beginner’s program.
âIt will also have an impact on high schools. This will change the experience level of the schools and probably reduce the quality level of the groups a bit.
Seeing this gap in music education, Adams and GUSD group co-director Nancy Mathison launch the South Coast Youth Band to provide fair and consistent access to a group program for all elementary students in grades 4 through the sixth year of Gaviota in CarpintÃ©ria.
âIf we think about preparing kids for these life skills like math, reading – whatever they want to do well as an adult – we start them young,â Mathison told Noozhawk. âThe same is true with music. We let them experiment a number of things to show them what they’re really passionate about, and sometimes it’s just too late to do that in college.
Students in the program will learn instruments such as flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, and snare from professional musicians.
Mathison and Adams received a grant from the Irene F. Anderson Foundation to fully fund the first semester of the South Coast Youth Band, which will launch on January 24 and run through May 18.
âWe were so grateful because the grant meant we can focus on trying to get the word out to students instead of trying to fundraise,â Mathison said.
The South Coast Youth Band program also received a grant from its partner, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation, she added.
The cost to the student for the first semester is $ 100, and Mathison said she hopes to keep the price this low through funding for future grants.
âOur goal is to try to keep this accessible as much as possible,â she said.
While the program primarily targets students from GUSD and the Hope School District, who directly feed into the Goleta Valley Junior High School and La Colina Junior High School band programs, the South Coast Youth Band will be open to students in grades four through six. year in private, charter and home schools from Gaviota to Carpinteria.
The program will be hosted by a number of professional musicians and classes will be held at the Presbyterian Church in Goleta, according to Mathison. As classes begin the week of Jan. 24, students can come meet the teachers, ask questions about the instruments, and make their instrument choice Jan. 19 at the Presbyterian Church in Goleta from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Mathison said. .
Nick Rail Music staff will provide rental instruments for students, and parents can also rent instruments and purchase supplies themselves.
Students from the Goleta Union School District perform in a pre-pandemic spring concert. (Photo provided)
Mathison said the program will also try to find instruments for students whose parents cannot afford to rent them, and will offer scholarships to children participating in free or discounted meal programs.
The program will group beginners by instrument, who will have one hour of lessons with a specialist player, and intermediate and advanced students will have an hour and a half for group rehearsal, according to Mathison.
The South Coast Youth Band are planning to hold two concerts at the end of May to showcase the skills of the students, and next year the group will perform in several local concerts and parades, Adams said.
âOur plan is to do our spring concert in May at Goleta Valley Junior High and again at La Colina, so the kids can get used to the campus, and that will give them a band in their future college,â Mathison added. .
Mathison and Adams will be co-directors of the group’s new program. Mathison took over as program director of the GUSD group in 2014 and previously taught music at the Santa Barbara Unified School District, Westmont College and in his own private studio. Adams has many years of experience teaching woodwinds with GUSD, the Santa Barbara Symphony’s Bravo! and the Nick Rail Band Camp, among others, and served as a group principal at El Camino and Hollister schools.
Click here to learn more about the South Coast Youth Band.