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El Sistema Colorado students had a wonderful opportunity recently to visit Metropolitan State University for a Jazz Workshop lead by Joe Anderies, teacher of the jazz class and a long-time local band and orchestra director, who also serves on the El Sistema Colorado Board of Directors. Thanks Joe!
Students were supported by amazing professional musicians, including Justin Adams, Denver jazz pianist and composer and Jazz Piano teacher at MSU, Gonzolo Teppa, Bass player from the model Venezuelan El Sistema program who is new to Denver and playing with all the top local jazz musicians including MSU Jazz and World Music Studies director Ron Miles, and Jill Frederickson, longtime Denver jazz drummer who also plays Gamelan with the group Tunas Mekkar.
Students got a brief introduction to jazz during a visit from Joe Anderies to the El Sistema Colorado after-school program at Garden Place Elementary. During their visit to Metro, students performed alongside college and professional musicians, making their first efforts at improvisation. Below, Issac trades licks with teacher Joe Anderies.
See our METRO FACEBOOK ALBUM for all the photos.
In addition to the wonderful musical experience, this was a first visit to a college music program for our students. Only half of the students in the Globeville/Elyria/Swansea neighborhoods where our sites are located currently graduate from high school, but El Sistema Colorado is helping these children defy the odds. Improved academic success, character development, graduation from high school and post-secondary education are critical benefits of music enrichment.
After working for several months to learn basic handling and bowing of the violin on paper mache versions made by volunteers and families, the Kindergarten students of El Sistema Colorado at Garden Place Elementary gave their first performance and then each child received a real violin.
Check out all the photos on El Sistema Colorado’s Kindergarten Celebration Facebook Album
Students demonstrated their skills with the bow and played along to recorded music at a concert last Friday at Garden Place. With the help of donors Ken Luff, Ken Stiefler, Karen and Andrew Ritz, Debbie Norris, Jerry Danner and Trisha and Tom Lee, each student came onstage to receive a real violin. A big crowd of family and friends cheered on their young musicians.
El Sistema knows that introducing violin to kindergarten students can help jump start school readiness, including language acquisition. All 165 kindergarten students from Swansea and Garden Place Elementary schools receive El Sistema violin daily in-school, with an El Sistema Colorado teaching artist embedded alongside the school’s general music teacher. This year, El Sistema Colorado extended in-school violin for all 1st grade students at both schools. Starting in 2nd grade, students can continue their music education in our after-school program.