New Annapolis Symphony initiatives reach out to children

Annapolis Symphony OrchestraThe Annapolis Symphony Orchestra is kicking off several new programs to make classical music more accessible to children in the community.

Kids for Klassics is a new initiative in which ASO enthusiasts can share their love of classical music with a local school by contributing a $500 sponsorship to a student ticket bank for ASO performances. A second program, Music Heals, will bring music to the sick as well as schools serving children with learning differences.

"The pervasive nature of popular culture combined with budget cutbacks in fine art programs in schools means that many kids grow up without any exposure to classical music," said Katharene Poston Snavely, executive director of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra. "We know the benefits of exposure to music and the arts and we want to make sure youth get that exposure. We feel that it's our responsibility."


Kids for Klassics

In the Kids for Klassics initiative, students at the benefiting schools would have access to free tickets to attend an ASO Classic Series concert. This would give them the opportunity to experience classical music live which can inspire a lifelong appreciation for the art, Snavely said. It is also hoped that the experience would inspire students to learn to play an instrument.

"Students who study music score higher on tests and increase their intelligence; they are more self-confident and better able to express their ideas and better able to connect socially," Snavely said.

The Music Heals program is a collaborative effort with local schools, educators and advocates to bring the transformative power of live music to children with learning differences and special needs, according to the ASO.

"Children with learning differences have responded well to musical experiences as music is processed by a different part of the brain than with traditional learning methods," Snavely said.

Music can help stimulate and motivate speech, provide an avenue for non-verbal communication and help create ways to channel frustration in a more amicable way, Snavely said. Music can also help students learn to focus and retain information, she said.

The ASO has hired music therapists to assist in developing the program, Snavely explained.

"We are exploring sensory appropriate programs that would benefit autistic children as we know that music is an incredible vehicle in engaging people with autism," Snavely said.

For information about sponsoring a school through the Kids for Klassics program call 410-269-1132 or visit the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra website.