I can tell when a musiConnects student has been in the program for a year or more. Those students know how to step up to lead, and they know that it’s expected of them. They know how to give a cue: they look around, check in with their fellow players, set up to play, they figure out the tempo, count, take a breath, and they’re off!
These are skills that have been built through the relentless care and attention of my fellow Resident Musicians, who also believe in this unique chamber music model. It requires us to place our trust in very young students. Last week, I asked a first grader to lead her three chamber music companions in bow warm ups while I tuned their instruments. This is only her first month in the program, but she did not take this role lightly. She started the first warm up, where students pretend to “stir the soup.” As they were stirring their bows, she took a line from her teachers, and asked each of her fellow students in turn, “What are you putting in your soup, PJ? What do you want in your soup, Marcus?” She led the warm up, plus kept everyone engaged at the same time.