arco Play is a model for music education and outreach designed to harnesses music’s power as a visceral and compelling mode of communication and basis for social interaction. By transcribing the creative impulses and individual and collective experiences and stories of young people from all walks of life into music compositions and performances and sharing them, music becomes a means to create bonds and bridge differences across communities. Led and guided by performing artist Jennifer Koh, arco Play envisions using the creation of music as a powerful antidote to the dehumanizing and polarizing ways in which societies deal with their most difficult social and political problems. In the voice of music, there is the opportunity to characterize the vast differences within and across societies while still affirming and celebrating the essential humanity in every single person. arco Play invites students of diverse backgrounds to enter a shared space where they can communicate and come to understand each other through music.
arco Play will identify two elementary serving opposite ends of the socio-economic spectrum. An 8-month curriculum will be designed to teach and support each student in composing a beginner to mid-level composition of 1-to-3 minutes. Additionally, the curriculum will support students’ rehearsing, directing and performing their own piece and their partner’s piece at both schools in joint concerts. Throughout the project, various enrichment activities will be provided to teach the basics of composition and to introduce participants to how composers and performers communicate ideas, feelings and create beauty and shared experiences through music.
Members of Jennifer Koh’s Shared Madness composer roster as well as Ms. Koh will join the arco Play music educator to teach the students. arco Play workshops will take place weekly at each school in both one-on-one coaching and group classes for participating students. Weekly interface between student partners will also take place via face-to-face activities, and attendance at workshops, rehearsals, and concerts. All performances of student works will be recorded and archived. For the initial pilot project, each school will have up to 6 participants.
(Launches Sept. 2016)