Residency programs aim to expose more Madison students to the arts | local education

PAMELA COTANT For the State Journal

A music lesson run by an organization focused on young students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to lessons and instruments was ending when a boy turned to an instructor and said he wanted to play the violin.

“‘Well,’ I said, ‘Do you want to keep playing now,’ because it was time for the class to leave the room,” said instructor Bonnie Greene.

But the second-year boy was looking further down the road.

“He said, ‘This is what I want to do when I grow up,'” Greene said.

The exchange took place during classes led by Harmony Madison last month during a residency program at Leopold Elementary School. This was part of the first year of the Summer Arts Academy operated by the Madison School District to provide learning opportunities in the visual and performing arts.

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Residency programs in grades one through five were provided through existing programs operated by Madison School and Community Recreation. While Harmony Madison was one such residency, other elementary sites featured other residency programs in dance, visual arts, and theater.

Mendeecees Cabell-Stevenson, a 4K student, plays percussion while Laurie Lang keeps time.


Expanded offerings for students in grades 6-12 have been offered at three college sites – Cherokee, O’Keeffe and Wright.

In partnership with members of the Madison community, local businesses and artists, the district seeks to provide artistic programming in the performing arts, music and digital media production, drama, theater and more .

“We particularly wanted to target access for students who were invited to the summer school, as these students need and deserve the enriching connections to school programming that the arts can provide,” said Peter Kuzma, coordinator of arts education for the Madison School District.

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While the summer courses were held in the morning, the Summer Arts Academy was held in the afternoon and was free for registered students.

“It’s fun,” freshman Khloe Jones said of the violin class.

Sophomore Anyelly Castillo Salguero said she would continue to play the violin if she had another chance.

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Thanya Moreno helps second-grade student Anyelly Castillo Salguero play the violin at Leopold Elementary School.


Harmony Madison has been hired to direct the residency program at Leopold. The organization intends to offer music lessons earlier than students can start them in school and create a strong foundation for more students to successfully pursue music in school performance bands. and community leaders. He also wants to connect students to organizations that can offer performance and private lesson opportunities beyond what schools can offer.

Greene is the founder of the Music Makers program, a non-profit organization designed to provide high quality private music education to mostly low-income children, which is now operated by the Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestras. Music Makers was invited to be part of the residency program with the Madison Conservatory. The residency was a chance for organizations, which are set up to provide private lessons and instruments, to connect with students.

Ria Hodgson, director of WYSO Music Makers, taught during the residency. His organization offers private lessons and group lessons with grants available. She said a parent had already reached out to arrange bass lessons for her child.

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During the two-week Harmony Madison residency, students had three daily 45-minute sessions, except for two excursion days. They learned to play the violin, studied music history by learning the diddley bow, explored world rhythms on buckets and African drums, and explored jazz improvisation, melody, harmony and rhythm with the group singing.

Harmony Madison teachers — Greene, Laurie Lang and Chris Wagoner — were joined by other colleagues and volunteers.

The residency was the first program offered by the organization, which is officially called Harmony Madison of Community Organizations Promoting the Arts, or COPA. Steve Sveum is the director. Some of the new opportunities could be at the facility currently used by COPA until a new one is built. Part of the motivation and approach is driven by research into the effectiveness of studying music for brain development that helps with learning reading and math, Greene said.

“Harmony Madison’s mission is to provide music lessons and performance opportunities to young people in the Madison area,” Greene said. “It’s access to the arts.”

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