Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, my parents would take my sister and I to the drive-in movies. It was a wonderful time because we were able to wear our pajamas, drink soda and eat popcorn! Before the feature film began, there was a short musical piece called Peter and the Wolf. I remember it well since this was my first experience with musical instruments. Each instrument personified the characters in the story and brought them to life. It was exciting, scary and there was no dialogue other than the music!
This is where I first learned a little bit about the orchestra, through the magic of Disney and Russian Composer, Sergei Prokofiev. Prokofiev composed the music in 1936 and Disney released the short film in 1946. I didn’t see Peter and the Wolf until the 1970s, but many more children have seen it since then. This masterpiece was later included in Fantasia, produced by Walt Disney, and narrated by Sterling Holloway. Fantasia was released on videotape in the 1990s. I am quite certain that in all this time, there has yet to be anything as exciting for young children to explore the amazing world of the orchestra… until now!
Introducing Symphonic Safari Adventure!
The Tallahassee Symphony Orchestra (TSO), in partnership with WFSU, just launched an online orchestra education program for young children that is truly fun for all ages! This unique program, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), offers an up-close-and-personal introduction to each instrument, instrument family, and musicians of the orchestra (including conductor and electronics). The virtual program culminates in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, which demonstrates how the individual parts of the orchestra come together to create a unified whole. The TSO was the only nonprofit in Leon County to receive this NEA grant and is among the 2% of orchestras funded nationwide.
- Centennial Bank has provided a collection of 7 books related to the orchestra for each elementary school’s library.
- Envision Credit Union is sponsoring 3,000 activity guides for every 2-4 grader in Leon County as they navigate and learn about instruments, collaboration, and the life of musicians.
- WFSU Public Media will be uploading the Symphonic Safari Adventures twenty-two video collection and pages from the activity guides to PBS Learning Media!
“This project is really exciting because not only is it unique, but more importantly, it offers our students a way to see how every conceivable instrument comes together to make this amazing collection of sounds called ‘the orchestra’,” said Amanda Stringer, CEO. “We are really proud of this vision and how it demonstrates to kids what it is to have passion for and be a professional musician.” Stringer adds, “What started off as a simple way to help employ our TSO musicians during the pandemic has, because of the professionalism of WFSU, grown into a really special educational program.”
This project is available through the TSO website as well as video.wfsu.org. The collection will become available on Florida PBS Learning Media later this fall (2022). For additional information, please reach out to TSO or WFSU Public Media.
A little more about PBS Learning Media
PBS Learning Media offers FREE educational resources for PreK–12 educators and students. The goal is to enhance educator practice and equitable student learning through educational resources that are:
Thank you for visiting with us via this blog post, and thank you to TSO for selecting WFSU to bring this educational and fun resource to our community!