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DSO Education Programs
In addition to our Classics and Chamber Series concerts, a vital part of the DSO’s work is our multi-faceted educational outreach program..
The education program includes:
The Explorer Experience, which provides live full-orchestra concerts for elementary and middle school students—often their very first live concert experiences. During the 2016-2017 season, two performances of “Music, Noise and Silence,” with Magic Circle Mime Company, were presented on May 24 at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington for a total audience of 1,800 students, teachers, chaperones, and guests. Important to the program are in-school presentations by DSO musicians prior to the concert, and a Teacher’s Guide offering lesson plans tied to curriculum, distributed through the DSO website.
The innovative Math and Music program is offered to all fourth graders at Warner Elementary School as part of the Warner-Shortlidge Arts Alliance in Wilmington. These students are studying fractions, and the curriculum ties fractions to musical notes. A DSO string quartet performs an initial assembly for all the students. This is followed by four in-class sessions with a DSO Teaching Artist for each of the classes. The program has been so successful that two new schools (Carrie Downie Elementary in New Castle and Heritage Elementary in Wilmington) added it to their curriculum during 2016-2017. Pre- and post-program quizzes, taken by all students in 2016, showed improvement in their understanding of fractions by as much as 28%!
Build the Orchestra was created in response to middle school string teachers’ concern about substantial attrition by their students at that age. Piloted in the Appoquinimink and Red Clay school districts, the program uses DSO string musicians as coaches and side-by-side rehearsal mentors. A video featuring Music Director David Amado is created to introduce the program. One new school incorporated Build the Orchestra into its program for the 2016-2017 school year, and more will be added in subsequent years.
Professional DSO musicians participate in Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra rehearsals, where the musicians coach individual sectional rehearsals and then participate in the full rehearsal. They also facilitate sectional rehearsals of the Orchestra during the annual Delaware All-State Music Festival.
In partnership with the Music School of Delaware, the DSO offers Master Classes with DSO guest soloists. Pianist Alon Goldstein taught a class in February, 2017, and mezzo soprano Denyce Graves led a class in March 2017.
The DSO offers Open Dress Rehearsals before each of the Classics Series concerts at The Grand Opera House to area high school and college students, as well as residents from Grace’s Cottage, the Wilmington rehabilitative campus for adolescent females. A talk with Music Director David Amado precedes each rehearsal.
Sponsors of the DSO educational programs include The Delaware Division of the Arts, The Presser Foundation, and Capital One.