Advertisement
  1. Opinion

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra's violin program for at-risk kids

The Florida Orchestra, led by music director Michael Francis, will offer introductory violin lessons this summer to at-risk kids in some Hillsborough County recreation centers. [MICHELE MILLER | TIMES]
Published May 18, 2018

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.

An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for six weeks of violin instruction by orchestra musicians who will teach students one-on-one. Three violinists will teach up to a dozen students in 90-minute classes over six weeks. The grant money also will cover instruments and supplies.

This is a win-win and something to build upon. For the students, it's a remarkable opportunity to experience the joy of holding and playing an instrument. They will spend time with professional musicians they probably do not get to see playing at the Straz. Whether these kids become concert violinists isn't the point. Studies show arts education can help students become more well-rounded and indirectly learn other skills, and there is a favorable link to academic performance. Besides that, it's fun.

For the orchestra, this is another chance to continue to expand its reach and develop relationships in the community outside the region's concert halls. That has been a priority for music director Michael Francis, and it extends the orchestra's brand while exposing more residents to the joys of music. Besides that, it's fun.

Louisa May Alcott, the author of Little Women, once wrote the violin is the "most human of all instruments...'' That reflects the spirit of this wonderful opportunity for the kids and the orchestra's gifted musicians to connect and learn about worlds different from their own.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. President Donald Trump applauds the crowd prior to his address at a campaign rally Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Minneapolis. JIM MONE  |  AP
    Here’s what readers had to say in Monday’s letters to the editor.
  2. President Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci); Transcript of Trump conversation with Ukraine's newly elected president Volodymyr Zelenskiy (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow) Associated Press
    Here’s some interesting commentary from the opposite poles of the political spectrum.
  3.  Bill Day -- FloridaPolitics.com
  4. Dustin Cullison 28, places Spin scooters Wednesday in a designated area for deployment on Zack Street in downtown Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times ]
    The City Council’s proposed ordinance sets reasonable restrictions that should improve safety.
  5. St. Petersburg High, where a video was made showing a student using a whip to strike another student in the back.
    Letting social media get ahead of the truth hurts everyone.
  6. The Florida Capitol. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
    A federal judge says lawmakers made a mess of the constitutional amendment aimed at restoring felons’ voting rights. But he’s ready to give them one more chance to fix it.
  7. Paula Dockery of Lakeland served in the Florida Legislature for 16 years. Paula Dockery
    The group has been wildly successful in getting conservatives appointed to state and federal courts, columnist Paula Dockery writes.
  8. Times Columnist Dan Ruth. [Times file]
    The senator should not brush off the president’s invitation to China to interfere in U.S. elections, columnist Daniel Ruth writes.
  9. Aaron Corrales, 10, left, talks with his fifth-grade teacher Jessica Morgan about the book Esperanza Rising as part of the class curriculum at Forest Hill Elementary School in Tampa, Florida on Thursday, September 19, 2019. Forest Hills Elementary School is taking part in a new pilot program with materials and curriculum designed by Harvard University to help students improve their reading and writing skills.  OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The school district needs to show a greater sense of urgency.
  10. An oil rig sits off Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement