Music In Our Hearts
We all remember the popular game show from years ago called, “Name That Tune.” Now, imagine years later, elementary school students being able to experience a similar game while sitting in the seats of Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center with a live orchestra performing. This is the opportunity that several third, fourth and fifth graders from all around the city had on Monday, May 9. It is all thanks to program held by the Riverside Symphony called “Music Memory” which now reaches seventy-five schools in the five boroughs.
The concept behind the program is a simple one. Its aim is to introduce children to a variety of music and to create a lifelong love for all kinds of music. Over the course of the school year, the teachers introduce sixteen different pieces which are mostly classical but also include jazz, opera and choral music. Each piece comes with a beautiful visual, a music “map” that is shown to the children. With it they learn several music terms and at the same time the map helps them internalize each piece. Lessons for each selection incorporate all curriculum areas including history, math and literacy. For the competition, a team of five students and one alternate is selected. As the Riverside Symphony plays an excerpt from a piece, the students in their groups have to identify the title of the selection and the composer. The children are challenged at the end with four tie breakers where excerpts from the pieces are changed slightly either through the use of different instrumentation, different tempos, etc. The whole experience is thrilling for the children; the challenge of the game, the live orchestra, and the experience of being inside one of the greatest concert halls in New York City.
This year’s event was a great success. My school, P.S. 114, The Belle Harbor School, was represented by a wonderful group of third graders. The children worked hard studying the pieces both in school and at home. Their hard efforts paid off, as they won fourth place at the competition and received beautiful ribbons. All children who participate in Music Memory, however, are winners. They all take home with them the greatest gift of all, a gift they can certainly keep forever, a love and deep appreciation for music. That gift is priceless.