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Symphonic Carnival

Rachel McCarty in Girl Scout uniformA note from our Symphonic Carnival Coordinator, Rachel McCarty

Thank you, Longview Symphony, for letting me work with your organization in order to earn my Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award earned by a Girl Scout. I have been in Girl Scouts since I was eligible to be a Girl Scout. My family is a musical family where we enjoy many styles and genres of music. I have been in band since grade school and I have found the science of music to be interesting. As I became more aware of my surroundings at the symphony, I noticed the lack of children and teenagers at the symphony and heard many of my friends comment that the symphony is “boring” even if they never attended a symphony.

When I first set out to begin working on my Girl Scout Gold Award, I did not know just how difficult it would be to figure everything out. I watched my sister do her project when she was my age and I figured “If she can do it, I can do it.” However, I quickly realized that nobody was exaggerating when they said it is a difficult award to achieve; even finding a good issue to tackle proved to be quite the hassle. After a lot of research and time to think about it, I decided I wanted to work with the Longview Symphony to bring more families with children to the wonderful world of classical music, based on my observation over the years.

With the help of my Project Advisor, Erin Tooley, we came up with a plan to educate children and their parents about the Longview Symphony and classical music. In order to reach as many people as possible, I held a come-and-go event that focused specifically on classical music; I had stations detailing how to conduct, how to read notes and rhythms, how to make a didgeridoo and rain stick, a brief history of classical music, and an instrument petting zoo where the children could touch and play with various instruments to see how it felt to be a musician. Each station was unique, but they all revolved around STEAM ideas in order to educate everyone in a different way.

My community challenge was the lack of age diversity interested in classical music and the Longview Symphony. I had hoped that by putting on a free, hands-on, and interactive event there would be light shed upon the symphony and classical music while getting more families interested in being a part of it all. I wanted the children and their parents to benefit from my event by gaining a lifelong love of music by learning what is involved in the making of the instruments and music and the history of the composers.

The 200+ participants learned through hands on applications of the STEAM parts of the classical music. The petting zoo station allowed participants to see how the engineering of an instrument could change the sounds made. My volunteers at this station showed how a trumpet and trombone complement each other based on the shape, and how the sounds travel to make different tones. They also showed how different strings change a violin to a viola, and how an acoustic bass guitar and cello vary in tone, even though they can play same notes.

The rhythm and notes station showed how math is used for counting by having the participants clap out beats and rhythms.

The make-an-instrument station let participants engineer their own instruments. They learned how adding length to their instruments changed the tone and how adding more or less rice made a different range of sound.

Watching the Fantasia 2000 movie showed how artists interpreted the music, but also how they synced the motion of the art to the beat of the music. The participants were then asked to listen to music and draw what the music sounded like to them.