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Students on a Symphonic Adventure

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EUGENE, Ore. — Over 1,700 third graders in 4-J, Springfield and Bethel school districts are embarking on a symphonic adventure.

It’s a new program where Eugene Symphony teaching artists bring music the classroom.

Janet Bertucci is a former teacher and volunteer educator with the Eugene Symphony.

“I was a teacher for 32 years, so it’s really fun as a retired teacher to come back into the classroom,” Bertucci said.

She’s in charge of teaching rhythm. It’s one of four classes being taught to local third graders over the next four months. Each month there’s a different class. There’s also harmony, timbre, and melody.

A total of 23 elementary schools are signed up for the Symphonic Adventures program made possible by a $40,000 grant from Meyer Memorial Trust Awards. Symphonic Adventures supports Oregon’s arts learning standards by providing elementary students with equal access to standardized music programs. Schools pay a nominal fee–a sliding scale based percentage of students on free and reduced price lunches. Fairfield Elementary is one of the schools that signed up for the program.

“In our cuts and the times that we are in right now, we have a half-time music teacher. For an opportunity to come up where people can come in and really enrich our kids and talk about different kinds of music was an opportunity we were not going to turn down,” said Jenny Sink, school principal.

It’s hands on. The students learn how to find rhythm is everyday noises.

“They are kind of natural musicians. You’ll see that they understand rhythm; and things make sense to them through music,” Bertucci said.

The program also aims to encourage and prepare students to participate in school band and orchestra programs. They even create their own symphony.

These students have three more classes, and each is followed up with an in-class visit from a Eugene Symphony musician.

Then comes the big finale–a field trip to the Eugene Symphony Youth Concert in February. These kids are in for adventure.

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