A commitment to educate young musicians
A path to growth and development
The Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra is deeply committed to providing musical education to children and youth Pine Bluff and southeast Arkansas. The education program is continuously expanding as new funding and outreach opportunities present themselves. These programs include:
- Annual education concert
- Annual summer orchestra workshop
- Instrument loan program
- School coaching program
- Free youth orchestra concert
Annual education concert
The annual education concert (children's concert) by the full Pine Bluff Symphony Orchestra was recently expanded to include schools not previously invited due to space limitations. The concert is now available to fifth graders from:
- Jefferson County
- Arkansas County
- Desha County
- Bradley County
- Cleveland County
- Lincoln County
- Grant County
A capacity audience of nearly 2,000 fifth graders and teachers attend this 50-minute program which includes brief discussions of the instrument families, musical form, and rhythm. Prior to the concert, a volunteer docent makes a classroom visits to participating schools and discusses the instruments, their sounds, the music the students will hear, and the composers of the works to be performed.
Annual summer orchestra workshop
The Annual Summer Orchestra Workshop is open to all music students in the seventh through twelfth grades and interested adults for one week each summer. Clinicians from across the nation are hired to expose the students to new and different techniques and help them develop additional skills. The cost for each student is minimal. For needy students, the fee is waived.
Instrument loan program
The Symphony owns more than 200 instruments. Through the instrument loan program students may rent these instruments at a nominal cost for the entire school year. This program offers many students the opportunity of learning to play an instrument regardless of family income. If a needy student cannot pay even a minimal fee, instruments are provided free of charge providing opportunities to participate in the program for children would not otherwise be able to do so.
In-school coaching program
The in-school coaching program provides small group lessons to participating students at a cost far below what might be expected for high quality music lessons. This coaching often results in helping participating students to make all-region and all-state orchestras, both of which are helpful when students apply for college scholarships.
The Pine Bluff Youth Orchestra
Pine Bluff Youth Orchestra students rehearse once a week after regular school hours under the direction of a symphony funded conductor. Students come from of Jefferson and surrounding county school districts to play in the orchestra. These seventh through twelfth graders enjoy the unique experience of playing together and learning a type of music other than that which they play in either the school orchestra or band.
Benefits beyond music
Through the Youth Orchestra, the symphony is achieving its goal of providing an opportunity for students from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds to increase their skills and gain performance experience. Music, as the universal language transcending traditional social barriers, provides a common background allowing orchestra members to discover their similarities and eliminate their differences. This is an ongoing program and enjoys continuing success.
The Youth Orchestra plays a free concert at the end of the year.
The music director/conductor conducts lecture for concert attendees before each concert. He explains the music the orchestra will play, the composers, the period in which the music was written and the specifics for which the audience can listen.