Musiqa’s teaching artists are heading back to school in preparation for our Fall production run of “Around the World with Musiqa,” part of the Hobby Center’s Discovery Series education programs. Artistic Director Anthony Brandt tells us everything you need to know about “Around the World with Musiqa.”
Can you tell us more about “Around the World with Musiqa”?
Anthony Brandt: Musiqa composers saw a strong need to keep music alive in public schools especially during times of district budget cuts, so we created “Around the World with Musiqa” to teach musical concepts in imaginative ways by using modern arrangements of folk music. As they hear and sing songs in different languages—Zulu, English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French—they learn to appreciate music from diverse cultures. In the end, the kids learn how composers make music come alive in personal and imaginative ways.
What has been the impact on the community?
AB: Since 2004, we have presented “Around the World” annually at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts’ Discovery Series. We were very proud to have presented our 100th performance in October 2017. In total, over 50,000 public schools students from over 200 Houston area public schools have enjoyed “Around the World”, at no cost for the schools or students. Through this program, we really want to stimulate their creative and analytical thinking as well as expand and cultivate students’ interest in the arts. I think it brings inspiration to the schools, administrators, teachers, and most of all to the students.
In your opinion, why has the program been so successful?
AB: First, it’s a lot of fun. And I think what makes it fun is the interactivity—kids get to sing along with the musicians.To make this possible, our resident artist Karol Bennett and other teaching artists have visited every school for a pre-concert workshop. They coach each teacher on how to effectively use the CDs, lesson plans and study guide that we provide. In the classroom, students learn the lyrics to songs from all over the world, written in their native languages. Then in the concert hall, the lyrics come alive as the students become the stars, singing, clapping and joining in the performance. That’s a great moment of joy for the performers as well!
What keeps you going after so many years?
AB: Ms. Hardman from Whittier Elementary wrote to tell us that “the field trip enriched the students’ learning experience, and the songs are still being sung for engagement and enjoyment.” To me, it is very important to know that our programs have a sustainable impact on schools and children’s everyday life.
How can we help more students experience “Around the World with Musiqa”?
AB: We are extremely grateful for the support of the Hobby Center over the years. They have made it possible for us to serve the community on such a scale. But in order to continue to provide our programming at no cost, we need the support of everyone who believes the arts are a vital part of public education. That’s why we have a goal of raising $30,000 by November 30. I hope our readers make a donation and join our efforts to bring a world of music to Houston area children.