Carnegie Hall 125th Anniversary: Weill Music Institute's Link Up - 'The Orchestra Rocks'

By Logan K. Young on Dec 31, 2015 08:25 PM EST

It's the same old story almost every day. Yet another think piece on the fate of, quote, "classical music." More often than not, it is a cautionary tale: Symphony x cannot pay the rent, its endowment has run dry; opera company y can't put patrons in seats, the audience is dying.

Looking purely at financials, it might be tempting to think said woe is warranted.

It's not, of course. The ledger has never offered the best forecast for any state, classical music included. Outreach, support, engagement--the three pillars of music education at large--continue to be much more accurate bellwethers.

Pedagogically speaking, then, no other institution offers a more far-reaching, supportive and uniquely hands-on approach than the Link Up curriculum designed by Carnegie Hall.

During this quasquicentennial season, the Weill Music Institute's Link Up program will involve more than 80 partner ensembles. Not just in New York City, either. Orchestras as far flung as Alaska, Florida, even that other Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg, West Virginia have signed up, as have school groups in Canada, Brazil, Spain and Japan.

Worldwide, the Link Up materials have become so in demand, there's now a waiting list to receive the manual for 2015-2016's flagship initiative, The Orchestra Rocks. It follows after The Orchestra Sings and The Orchestra Moves.

"One universal element of music is rhythm," reads the Rock workbook introduction. "A consistent groove can unite musicians, singers and audiences in an experience of listening and performing together."

Indubitably. That said, any curriculum worth studying needs to have some kind of incentive--a final reward for all the practice, practice, practice.

Carnegie Hall it may be, but kids are still kids, after all.

Apropos, if, indeed, "every good boy (and girl) does fine" on their treble clefs, local third, fourth and fifth graders are granted one such wish. Be it recorders, violins or just voices, they'll all link up to perform with a full, symphonic orchestra.

The venue? Again, because this is Carnegie, it's none other than Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage. With a capacity of some 2,800, well, suffice it to say it'll host the youngest, albeit most robust "Mary Had a Little Lamb" that will ever surely go.

As for would-be Rock-ers nowhere near West 57th Street (and at absolutely no cost to those distance participants), Link Up provides students with both CD and DVD lesson plans for reading, writing and improvising. Bolstered by webinars for their teachers on implementation, fundraising and publicity, the program provides development consultation expressly for administrators, as well.

In our haste to bury "classical music" today, we too often forget to praise its exceptionally bright tomorrow.

OK, so not every kid can become a star flautist or the next operatic sensation. To say nothing on the reams of research that point to music-making making for better children overall, the ones that do go pro, though, will inevitably be performing at levels well beyond our highest-ranking principals and primas.

Flash-forward to Carnegie's 135th anniversary, without question, more than a few of them will have come up through the Link Up system.

© 2016 The Classical Art, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

TagsCarnegie Hall

Real Time Analytics