Making Music Virtually: Alexandria Symphony Starts Sympatico Workshop

Students continue music education through distance learning

Pixabay photo by Pexels

Alexandria, VA – Musicians always find a way to play music. That is demonstrated by the ingenuity of the Collective Conservatory and the Alexandria Symphony’s Sympatico program. Both parties are collaborating to give upper-level Sympatico students the opportunity to participate in a one-week pilot workshop.

Using the popular video conferencing website Zoom in their homes, Sympatico students from John Adams Elementary School, are honing their musicianship. The program began on April 27 and lasts through May 1. It is led by Daniel Trahey, artistic director of the Baltimore Symphony’s OrchKids program. He has served as consultant to Sympatico since it launched in 2013.

“These kids have so much to say,” Trahey said. “Their insights are wise and inspirational, and I am delighted to discover what creative ideas they craft through this process. Music brings us together in ways that nothing else can.”

In the age of COVID-19, finding new ways to connect is important. Like adults, children are experiencing unprecedented change. They are separated from school, their friends, and a routine. And for them, the current situation can be even more confusing and frightening.

“Making music with Sympatico is a safe place for them to express themselves, take ownership and feel powerful, said Sympatico Program Director Kyle Tilman. “I am honored that we can offer this distance learning opportunity for them.”

In addition to making music, the students are practicing mindfulness meditation with specialist Ari Urban. They are also participating in exercises promoting mental and physical wellness.

Sympatico is modeled after a global movement called Sistema that began in Venzuela 30 years ago. To bring about social change, the movement gave opportunities to children with the fewest resources and the most needs.

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