When you think of the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, what comes to mind? Most likely, you first think of all the remarkable concerts the MSO does—everything from fun family concerts to diverse chamber recitals to beautiful classical performances. While concerts are wonderful and so much fun to attend, the MSO actually does more than just your typical concerts. Our mission is not just to entertain, but also to engage and educate our community. As part of our outreach, education, and community engagement efforts, we have special programs that reach out to kids and introduce them to the wonders of music. Not all families are able to attend concerts, and many kids are never given the opportunity to experience live music. That’s where our program Together in Music (TiM) comes in.
Together in Music is a relatively new program—the 2015 | 2016 season was the first time it was offered—and we are so happy we’ve been able to continue it this season through the help of generous funding. Together in Music is primarily an after-school program that helps expose kids to classical music, composers, orchestral instruments, and live music. One aspect of the program is that musicians go to community centers, after-school programs, daycares, libraries, and other public spaces to perform for kids and teach them about musical instruments through a short presentation and by reading a picture book. Together in Music is heavily committed to promoting literacy through book readings and ensures that each child goes home with a free copy of the pre-K book. This season, our musicians are reading Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss with every group they spend time with.
After the instrument presentation and book reading, all of the kids get a chance to try out the instruments for themselves. The hands-on experience brings them such joy, and it’s amazing to see their faces light up when they get the instrument to make noise (and it’s even better when it sounds suspiciously fart-like). There’s just nothing like learning something new in a fun way. Together in Music is instrumental (see what I did there?) in helping kids learn about music through storytelling, silly noises, laughter, and lots of smiles.
Together in Music also provides other services, such as two free performances per concert season. The first free concert was the MLK Jr. Memorial Family Concert in January, and our second free concert, Toddler Pops, is coming up on May 20th at 4 p.m. in Heekin Park. In addition, TiM offers other educational opportunities like interactive percussion classes for school-aged kids at local community centers (e.g., the Buley Center, the Ross Center, Boys and Girls Club of Muncie) and in-school artist residencies like the brass quintet that is working with students at Southside Middle School.
We love it when parents and teachers share their experiences (and their kids’ experiences) with us. It’s wonderful to hear how much the kids enjoyed TiM’s visits, and I’m sure it’s rewarding for teachers and parents to see how the music affects their kids.
Our Together in Music musicians also enjoy every visit because seeing kids get excited about classical music is kind of what it’s all about. A musician’s main job is to convey his/her emotions and passion through musical performances, but the other side of it is to help younger generations discover their own passion for music, their passion for life. This is why Together in Music is such a powerful program, and this is why the MSO’s continued efforts in community engagement and education outreach deserve more of a spotlight.
Head on over to the MSO’s Youtube channel to view our new promotional video for Together in Music, created by Jingzhe Wang (the MSO’s videography intern) and featuring two TiM presenters, Hilary Janysek and Michael Majors.
Visit our Together in Music page to learn more about the program or to schedule a visit.