Friday, March 9, 2012

Santa Rosa

I have spent the last two days at the Nucleo Divina Pastora, Santa Rosa. I can’t express in words how much I love this nucleo. Located around a large public square in front of a beautiful Catholic church, sunlight streams down and gentle breezes blow as birds flock to the music. The site overlooks a rolling verde vista, hills spotted with distant houses, and an easy mix of youthful possibility and deep history permeates the air. Every space surrounding the square is utilized by the Nucleo – there are lessons taking place in nooks and unexpected alleys, a violin lesson against a wall here, 3 guitarists in a corner there. 

There are about 35 teachers employed by the nucleo serving about 600 children, ages 3 and up. Non-teaching staff includes the nucleo director, Jose-Luis, an assistant administrator, and 4 security guards. Of the 600 children involved in the nucleo, 350 or so play in one of two orchestras (Orchestra A, for younger children, and Orchestra B, for the older children). The remaining 250 at the nucleo choose among studying their instruments privately, participating in chamber music, singing in the choirs, and studying the language of music.

The sunny central square is bright and bustling with families socializing as their children swirl around them from activity to activity, the Nucleo running from 2pm-6pm Monday-Friday with additional ensemble time on Saturday. 
The nucleo schedule includes a diverse catalogue of musical activities and instruction, engaging students in many different ways. 
  • Monday
    • Large Sectionals by instrument 
    • Musical Language (theory/ear training/solfege)
    • Individual Lessons
  • Tuesday
    • Individual Lessons
    • Small Sectionals by instrument
    • Chamber Music
    • Musical Language
    • Ensembles 
  • Wednesday
    • Full Orchestra
    • Musical Language
  • Thursday
    • Individual Lessons
    • Small Sectionals by instrument
    • Chamber Music
    • Musical Language
    • Ensembles 
  • Friday 
    • Full Orchestra
    • Musical Language
  • Saturday
    • Full Orchestra or Large Sectionals
      • 1st & 3rd of the month: 9am-1pm 
      • 2nd & 4th of the month: 9am-1pm & 2pm-4:30pm
In regards to my focus on linguaje musical, the language of music, I found an exciting synthesis of pedagogy at Santa Rosa. Every single student in the nucleo takes a separate, hour-long, scaffolded language of music class twice a week. However, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there are small sectionals of 4-5 students where instrument specific, repertoire related, language of music training is interwoven with technical specifics, meant to be complimentary to the independent language of music classes. This is very exciting. A hybrid of what I’ve seen so far at Montalban and Sarria, this method utilizes both instruction of theoretical concepts in the classroom and applied instruction of theoretical concepts on the student’s instrument, in an ensemble! Qué interesante! 
If you're following this blog, consider also following my fellow fellows!

Stephanie Hsu writes a fabulous log of our journey from caracas to Barquisimeto with initial reflections and insights: 

Ben Fuller gives an update regarding what he is hoping learn from his time here with some great videos!

José-Luis Henádez-Estrada ponders what effects living in and through sound can have:


Here is some media from my time at Santa Rosa!

Cello in the square


Petite Timpanist 

Linguaje Musical - Musical Language Class


Monica, the young lady front and center, is a 7 year-old I worked with on reading and clapping durations - quarter (negra)  and half (blanca) notes. She approached me the 2nd day I was at the nucleo to introduce me to her mother and grandmother, both of whom were spending time in the sunlit square while the nucleo was in session. 

The Divina Pastora- Holy Shepherdess - The Santa Rosa nucleo's name-sake  

video
I came across a group of students from the nucleo taking a break from rehearsal :) 





























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