This past Spring I have had the honor to be an Intern with the San Francisco Opera’s Education Department. This opportunity has allowed me to get an in depth look and a better understanding of the work that goes into bringing arts education into schools and the community. I have been focusing on the ARIA (Arts Resources in Action) Network Program, where 40 classrooms from 10 Bay Area schools work with the SF Opera’s Teaching Artists to learn about and create a mini opera. Witnessing the process both inside and outside of the classroom has been an immensely inspirational and rewarding experience.
Through the ARIA Network I observed a Teaching Artist working with students from four classes, putting on two mini-operas. Working in collaboration with the students, they put together a clever libretto, music, sets, and prop designs. The students’ enthusiasm was noticed in the way they participated in all the activities. Watching the kids access their creativity and seeing their ideas blossom and come to life reminded me of the importance and impact arts education has on children.
None of this could have been possible without the work of the Education Department. As a performer, I have played in multiple free community concerts, and more times than not I forget about all the hard behind-the-scene work that needed to be done in order to make the event a success. From researching, coordinating and scheduling, advertising events, and creating courses for teachers and teaching artists the work is never done. So many spreadsheets!
Every day felt as if I were making a difference. All of the smaller tasks come together to create a great musical and educational experience that it makes it all worthwhile. Working with this group of people has given me a lot of hope for the future of classical music and arts education. Being surrounded by such a passionate group of people has greatly influenced the way I perform, teach and talk about the impact of music.