Ventura County non-profit injects some joy into classrooms with its music program
Can you remember back to the music classes at your elementary school? Well, this is a music class with a difference.
A class of elementary school students in Ojai are taking part in a music class. It’s part of a program called BRAVO - run in public schools by Ojai Music Festival.
Interactive, rapid and full of movement, the classes are run by Ojai Music Festival’s Education Coordinator Laura Walter.
"We are active all year long in the community," she explained.
Laura teaches at a number of public schools in the area, workshops in ETM (Education Through Music) for K-3 students.
It’s a role she managed to keep up even remotely through the pandemic.
"I did 744 Zooms and 75 videos," she told KCLU.
"It was important for the children to have some sort of structure that was consistent and help everyone feel normal."
Working with teachers and children, especially at‐risk youth, Laura uses the experience of interactive play to develop song, movement, motivation, intelligence, literacy, emotional stability, and beauty - by working to integrate song, movement and play into daily activities for an integrated and more effective classroom.
"There's a lot of movement, there's a lot of cognition, there's a lot of puzzling over things," she explained of the program.
"There's a lot of auditory stimulation and a lot of sense of beauty and joy.
"If education is based on beauty and joy, you can put any sort of fact on top of that and they'll stick.
"Memory is based on emotion. So if we want a strong memory we want a strong emotion and that's what joy does."
And maybe they are the music stars of tomorrow, or just the very happy and motivated students of today. Either way, they seem to leave the class with a spring in their step.