What is Students in Concert?
2019 marks the eigth year for Students in Concert. Students in Concert is a special music program being offered to select 6th, 7th, and 8th grade BTSD students. This program is made possible through generous financial support by the Youth Orchestra of Bucks County’s (YOBC) outreach initiatives. This intensive 7 month program will give selected students exposure to more in-depth musical training and individualized instruction not possible during the school day. All Students will receive small group instruction as members of 1 of 6 chamber music ensembles or instruction as part of the developmental ensemble. Students will receive free private/small group lessons. Participation in Students in Concert is free of charge for all qualifying BTSD music students. (there will be a $20 application and materials fee due with your application)
Why is this being offered to BTSD? While a student’s participation in the arts has shown direct correlation to success in later life, participation in the arts has been on the decline across the country. The reasons are not easy to isolate, but certainly educational funding issues will continue to contribute to this problem. Private investors and community members with a keen interest in the arts have taken to the the cause. Many have followed the model of the hugely successful El Sistema program in Venezuela that has created young musicians who play as well as musicians twice their age. The most notable of these being Los Angles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel. El Sistema inspired programs are starting up and thriving all over America. Last year YOBC chose to pilot an El Sistema influenced initiative in BTSD. It was a great success and YOBC has decided to continue the program this year. BTSD was chosen because we have talented students and good participation in our school program but, are not able to offer students the individualized instruction, especially at the middle school level, that they have access to in many other districts throughout the county. A very small number of our students take private lessons, something generally considered the single most important aspect of becoming a high achieving musician.
Why should your student participate in this program? Learning to independently perform on an instrument as a member of an ensemble builds self confidence, promotes team work and communication, and provides students with their own voice. Intensely studying an instrument builds character, teaches systematic process, discipline and time management. Becoming a member of a music program also gives students a community of like-minded peers. Why is this important? Attitudes are contagious and when students with a high potential for success are together they create an atmosphere where success is not only important but, part of who they are.
What is expected of the student? Commitment. Commitment to attend rehearsals and lessons. Commitment to themselves and their instrument. There is only one way to get better at something and that is practice. Regardless of the activity, daily drill and repetition are a must. Olympic gymnasts practice 35-40 hours a week, many professional musicians practiced 4-8 hours a day in their developmental years, baseball players hit hundreds of balls a day trying to make their swing as perfect and automatic as possible. We expect students in this program will practice almost every day. Performances are mandatory. They are mandatory because every student is important, there is no bench in music. Every member is in the starting lineup.
What is expected of the parent? Like the students, Commitment. But, more importantly, encouragement. Parents need to take an interest in their child’s musical development. Did you know that parents of students in the famed Suzuki music programs take lessons and learn along with their children? That is a huge reason for their success. We ask that you encourage your student. Help them to set-up a daily practice schedule and stick to it. All students selected for this program will have an interest in music. Simply asking them, “Did you practice today?” is all some of them will need. Ask them to play for you, tell them you like what they are playing or that you hear them getting better.
The BTSD music staff would like to encourage all of our students and families to apply for admission into the Students in Concert program. Participation is limited, but we will accept as many students as our resources will allow. The first step is to complete the application no later than October 16, 2019 S.I.C. Application. You will be notified within 1 week of your application status.
Keith Krelove and Chris Gerhart, Students in Concert BTSD administrators.