A Year to RoMP!

by Joselyn Wilkinson, Education Manager, Meet the Music

“What I learned was about tempo and steady beats, also the reminder of the performance made me think how music can be a big part of your life”
— Gabrielle, 4th Grade Student
Have you ever seen a child in Los Angeles jump on stage to dance on a Harima to Son Jarocho music? Or sing “ee Djale ada” while playing a djembe? You may have seen the light in a child’s eyes when she was able to touch a violin for the very first time. Grand Vision feels very lucky to have made this possible and more during the recent school year with RoMP, a project of our Meet the Music education arm!

RoMP stands for Roots of Music (Concerts and Lessons) Program, and that’s just what it is: a semester long program for local 4th graders made up of in-school pre and post concert lessons and interactive world music concerts at the Grand Annex. Each semester, we serve 4th graders at four Title I schools - that’s about 400 students - and treat 200 at a time to three live music concerts over three months. All told, Meet the Music presented 12 live concerts for almost 800 kids and taught 48 in-school lessons throughout the school year. Whew! Is it summer yet? Well, if their glowing letters and evaluations are any indication, I do know that students will enter their summer break with a new passion -- music!

“My favorite thing was being on stage, I loved being on stage because I could play on the drums” — Ulises, 4th Grade Student

In the fall of 2014 students experienced Classical music with pianist Beth Sussman; jazz with saxophonist Grace Kelly; and Son Jarocho music of Veracruz, Mexico with Los Angeles-based ensemble, Cambalache. During the 2015 spring semester, RoMP lessons were brought to life by ADAAWE’s presentation of rhythm through the lens of African drumming and Gospel singing; Tony Tripp’s demonstration of melody through Classical music with the Porta Caeli Chamber Ensemble; and INCA: the Peruvian Ensemble’s explanation of dynamics within Pan-Andean music.

Students loved learning about varied instruments, interacting with professional musicians, and exploring how music and culture connect. In-school lessons empowered students with musical vocabulary, reflective learning and critical thinking skills. With increased funding for Grand Vision Foundation, we hope that next year these same students can experience the Meet the Music program that we offer for 5th graders: Recorders in Schools. Students will have the opportunity to make music every week in partnership with our teaching artists and their classroom teachers, learn to read music and play their own instrument as part of an ensemble. But more on Recorders-in-Schools soon.

We’re lucky enough to have gone on a journey around the world with our RoMP! students, giving many of them their first meaningful experience with music. Let’s do it again next year!

Article Posted: 5/27/2015