Q the Music at Ruskin Elementary School
The children excitedly press their faces against the windows peering into the parking lot for their families. Some exclaim when they see their mothers. Others fret that their parents have not yet arrived. One tall girl in a bright red party dress, spins and dances. These young people will soon give a performance demonstrating their growing mastery of their violins, violas, and cellos.
When the time comes, the young musicians carefully take their instruments out of the cases, ascend to the stage, and share with their audience their beautiful music. The seriousness of their task is evident by their focus and pride, but their excitement and joy for music is also electric in the air. And to make families feel welcomed and appreciated, all announcements from the stage are spoken in Spanish as well as English.
Q the Music has been working with the children of Ruskin Elementary since 2012. Inspired by the El Sistema program from Venezuela, Q the Music is focused on giving children who may not otherwise have the opportunity, a chance to learn classical music on some of the toughest instruments to master. In addition, many skills these children learn: reading music, working collaboratively, listening and responding with focus, not only help them in their performance, these skills help them become confident and successful students throughout their educational careers. Data proves that children with a strong music and arts component to their education are more successful academically. Thanks to the staff – Ben Grabell, conductor; Dona Noune, violin instructor; Mark Reis, viola instructor; Fan Zeng, cello instructor; Beverly Brown, academics teacher; Faith Brown, student intern; and Ruth Reveal, Chief Learning Officer at the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance – these children are experiencing the very best in musical education. And thanks to many generous donors and the Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association, they have the financial support and the instruments they need to grow and flourish as young musicians.