Music Makers Program
In 2013, in an effort to keep music education strong in our community,
the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra started Music Makers classes for students.
The program’s approach to music education emphasizes intensive ensemble participation, group learning and peer teaching. It also seeks a commitment to keeping the joy and fun of musical learning and music making ever-present.
The program began with classes at the Boys and Girls Club of Benton Harbor, which later included students from the neighboring Martin Luther King Elementary School. In the fall of 2018, the SMSO expanded its Music Makers programming to include instruction at the Benton Harbor Charter School Academy in Benton Harbor.
The program’s purpose is ultimately to create a daily haven of safety, joy and fun that builds every child’s self-esteem and sense of value. This intensive approach has allowed students to make substantial progress both as musicians and in life skills such as increased confidence and the ability to focus and collaborate as a group.
The program’s purpose is to not only demonstrate basic instrument fundamentals, but to create a daily haven of safety, joy and fun that builds every child’s self-esteem and sense of value. This intensive approach has allowed students to make substantial progress both as musicians and in life skills such as increased confidence and the ability to focus and collaborate as a group. The purpose of the program is entirely compatible with the vision of The Boys & Girls Club and The Benton Harbor Charter School Academy.
We believe that granting youngsters access to quality music education in a safe, nurturing environment is, in many ways, the ultimate example of “giving a hand up.” This is for two reasons: first, because it requires such a high degree of commitment from its participants and second, because the required skills of collaboration and focus (constantly modeled by the teachers) are applicable in every area of a child’s life.
We can imagine few more wholly positive ventures than helping kids thrive through music.
Dana Wilson, age 22, is an avid musician and supporter of the arts. She started studying the violin when she was 8 years old at the Georgia Academy of Music in 2005. She was later accepted into Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Talent Development Program in 2009. Over the past summers, she has attended the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp, Meadowmount School of Music, Bowdoin International Music Festival, Montecito International Music Festival, Sejong International Music Festival, Green Mountain International Music Festival, and Music in the Mountains Music Festival; studying with world-renown teachers Alan Bodman, Ann Setzer, Itzak Rashkovsky, Janet Sung, Emanuel Borok, and Kevin Lawrence.
In 2013 and 2016, Ms. Wilson was a winner of Southern Adventist University’s Concerto Competition and in 2016, she won Andrews University’s Young Artist Competition. Ms. Wilson enjoys playing in a piano trio with her brother, Cj, on the piano and her sister, Denielle, on the cello. She also enjoys other activities such as reading, cooking, writing, and teaching.
Ms. Wilson is a senior studying Violin Performance at Andrews University under the tutelage of Carla Trynchuk and also majors in Communication.
Families have an amazing opportunity to give another child the joy of music and themselves a tax deduction.
We are accepting new and used musical instruments of any kind.
Anyone interested in donating a new or used instrument please contact us to make rrangements.