By Katie Carroll
director of artistic administration and education
Can you remember the first time you fell in love with music? For me, it was the song “The Loco-Motion” when I was five years old. I just thought swinging my hips to music was an amazing discovery! Then I started piano lessons, and realized I could make my younger brother and sister dance around while I played. My musical taste has since evolved, and I’m lucky enough now to work at Strings Music Festival and plan our in-school music education programs (sorry, Grand Funk Railroad is not on the list).
Strings’ began working in the schools in earnest in 2007 by creating Strings School Days. After 8 years of working with over a dozen schools in three counties and more than 24,000 students …. we decided to go even bigger. After talking to teachers, parents, and school administrators, Strings School Days has expanded into the following three distinct, focused, music education programs.
Mozart Masters: Strings hires professional musicians to work with middle and high school students in Steamboat and Craig. This revamped program doubles the time students spend with professionals from previous years. Musicians mentor students in 6 workshops, correspond over social media, and ultimately play in a concert together at the pavilion during the course of one school year. This year, Trout Steak Revival and The Railsplitters will be mentoring our teen musicians. Mark your calendars for 3/17 and 3/23 to see these bluegrass bands perform with Routt and Moffat county students in the pavilion.
Tchaikovskys in Training: This brand-new concert series is for our youngest elementary school students before they choose an instrument. Students in grades K-5 will be invited to the pavilion at least once during the school year to see a 45-minute performance. Before they come, teachers and parents can help them prepare with “Musical Notes,” Strings’ debut educational pre-show concert guide.
Piazzolla Pioneers: If a school can’t come to the pavilion, we will come to the school. Moving forward, Strings will plan to visit schools in south and north Routt regularly throughout the school year. A couple of weeks ago, we brought Todo Mundo to Hayden and SOROCO for our first official Piazzolla concerts, and those guys blew the roof off of those places. There’s nothing like seeing kindergarten students get so excited by reggae that they start a dance party!
The entire Strings teams feels that it’s imperative we invest in music education in the schools, and as a non-profit, that means we must do it efficiently. Our Production Director works to book bands for evening concerts that also have vested interests in participating in Strings music education programs. Our Development Director finds grants and generous individual donors who believe in music education, and then we can afford to compensate those artists to stay longer and work with our students. I hope these opportunities encourage students to approach music the same way we all love our winter sports – with passion! It doesn’t matter if someone’s Olympic-bound or a regular Trailbuster on the weekends, as long as she’s happy. Not everyone will be the next Miles Davis or Bruce Springsteen, but we can still all love to sing along (especially to the Loco-Motion).
Calendar of Upcoming Educational Events
October 26-30: Trout Steak Revival residency begins with high schools
November 2-6: The Railsplitters residency begins with middle schools
February: Grades 3-5 Field Trip to the Pavilion
March 14-18: Trout Steak Revival returns for second residency
March 21-25: The Railsplitters returns for second residency
March 17: Trout Steak Revival with SSHS, and MCHS
March 23: The Railsplitters with SSMS, and Emerald Mountain Orchestra