The lifelong appreciation and support for the performing arts is best established at an early age (elementary and middle school-level), usually introduced by family members or taught in schools. Over the past few decades, with the cutbacks in resources and arts teachers in schools, a great deficiency and disparity in arts education has taken root, revealing a multi-generational disconnect of how society values and prioritizes the arts in our community. As a professional performing arts organization, we understand first-hand the importance of having a healthy base in the population that appreciates, relates, and ultimately supports the performing arts. Education, delivered in an engaging manner, is an essential element to rebuilding, or rather re-orienting, that base. We are committed to doing our part to turn the tide.
Over the past two years, our education and community engagement programs have reached close to 4,000 students in our region including: five K-12 school districts, 16 elementary schools (primarily Title-1 status), 2 middle schools, three high schools, and five universities and colleges.
Many of our educational institutions are working on initiatives to help improve the state of music education. With study after study coming forward showing the benefits of music on brain development and improved learning outcomes, many educational venues are taking note and developing new approaches. Notable developments are changes to the “Common Core State Standards,” “Integration of Arts into the Curriculum,” and developments in “Teaching Artistry.” The Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance has established relationships with leading educational groups, such as CCSESA (California County Superintendents Educational Services Association), Sacramento County Office of Education, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, and various area visual and performing arts departments. We are working together on projects where we offer our musical expertise for teacher professional development, an Arts Academy for teachers, teaching artist workshops, and as panelists. On the flip-side, we are working with educators to develop ways to incorporate these current educational trends into aspects of our own education programs.
Our commitment to education is also reflected in having completed our third year as a member of the Governing Council for Any Given Child Sacramento, a partnership with the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. We are working with a coalition of partners to bring a quality arts experience to thousands of K-8 students participating in AGC as part of Mayor Kevin Johnson’s For Art Sake initiative. Also behind the scenes you will find us partnering with Sacramento Youth Symphony, Sacramento State, and the Sacramento City USD, helping to develop and support El Sistema-inspired afterschool music programs in our local neighborhoods.
Our ongoing partnership with the Weil Music Institute at Carnegie Hall through their LINK UP NATIONAL program provides us with an invaluable music education resource. The Weil Music Institute acts as a national think tank, where they research and develop Education and Community programs to share with music organizations across the nation. This resource will continue to be important for us as we develop our educational programs and embrace new opportunities as a newly-merged organization.
Our commitment to music education runs deep in our organizational roots. Members of the Sacramento Philharmonic represent a large percentage of the music education infrastructure in our community. You will find many of our musicians coaching, conducting and teaching young musicians in bands, orchestras, choirs and private studios throughout the region. You will also find that nearly every university and college with a reputable music department in the area has an orchestra member on their faculty.