Tuesday, September 7, 2010

YOLA at HOLA Teacher Training in LA

Who said living in Alaska would be difficult to stay connected to the El Sistema USA network!  Certainly not Gretchen Nielsen, Director of Educational Initiative of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and graduate Abreu Fellows, Christine Witkowski and Dan Berkowitz (see photo).

They invited me to participate in their teacher training for the Los Angeles Philharmonic's second El Sistema-inspired program:  Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA).  Christine is now the Project Manager of this program and Dan is the Project Manager of Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA).  HOLA and Juneau, Alaska Music Matters (JAMM) are launching similar programs:  violin for its youngest participants and band instruments for its older students.

The goals of the training included:
  1. Building community among staff through making music together
  2. Developing HOLA goals and objectives for year one
  3. Creating a shared teaching philosophy as it relates to El Sistema principles. 
  4. Providing teacher training for newly purchased World Music Drums and curriculum
  5. Developing a unified vision of classroom agreements and expectations 
It was an ambitious plan for four days, but we did it with time to weave music making, sharing and performing throughout.   We began the first day of training sharing a favorite quote about education, learning and/or leadership and ended on the last day with a drumming performance outside the HOLA building, which will soon house the newly El Sistema-inspired music program!  We have plans to keep our kids connected through shared repertoire, as well as pen pals and Skype.  HOLA has an incredibly talented, experienced and passionate teaching staff.  Thank you Dan, Christine, Gretchen, Brandon, Blake, Bruce, Claire, Emily and Nikki for inviting me in.  I came home to Juneau feeling like an extended part of the YOLA at HOLA family and equipped with more ideas and tools to begin JAMM at Glacier Valley Elementary School. 

Here's the quote from Socrates, which I shared on our first day:  "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel" 

1 comment:

  1. Its great that they are using music for community service. Not only they would help the society, but also, develop many of the children's skills and talents in music.

    Thanks for sharing this very great information. Keep it up!