The Akron Symphony’s fourth annual Link Up concert will take place March 13 at the Akron Civic Theatre. The Link Up music education program facilitates deeper connections between orchestras and schools in their communities through its classroom curriculum for students in grades third through fifth. The program gives participants the opportunity to join the orchestra by teaching them to sing and play an instrument in the classroom. At the concert, students perform with a professional orchestra from their seats, often marking the first time many students set foot in a concert hall.
The Akron Symphony is one of more than 100 national and international organizations selected to participate in the Link Up program in partnership with Carnegie Hall’s Weill Music Institute. Link Up pairs orchestras across the country with schools in their local communities. It’s a highly participatory program that invites students to learn about orchestral repertoire through a yearlong, hands-on music curriculum. Each program focuses on specific concepts, including rhythm, melody, tempo, orchestration, and composition. Utilizing materials provided free-of-charge by Carnegie Hall, teachers guide students in exploring music through a composer’s lens, with students participating in active music making in the classroom; performing repertoire on recorder, violin, voice, or body percussion; and taking part in creative work, such as composing their own pieces inspired by the orchestral music they have studied.
“Our program includes students from more than a dozen school districts — including Akron Public Schools and almost all of Summit County and the Orange School District — and more than 3,500 students who will join the Orchestra across two concerts on March 13,” according to Thomas Moore, director of marketing for the Akron Symphony. “We hold professional development workshops with music teachers beginning in September to provide them with a curriculum that they take to the classroom and work on with the students. It culminates with the concert at the Civic in March.
“With more and more schools cutting their music programs, we have been able to step in and fill a need at a key time for students as they begin exploring playing music in the fourth grade,” he added. “Link Up is an international program and is available right here in Akron.”
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