NJ Symphony Orchestra Touts Benefits of Music Education
Steve Adubato talks with Joanna Borowski, Manager of Education and Community Engagement for the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, about the importance of arts education and her hopes that music will help students build confidence in themselves and in their abilities to overcome challenges.
"We are pleased to be joined by Joanna Borowski, manager of education and community engagement at New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. How are you doing? I'm doing well, thank you Steve. You were part of a great, as I said, panel discussion that we had on early childhood education. You love classical music because? When I was four years old my family was living in Hong Kong, and one day I just said to my mom, and I remember this, I said, "I want to learn how to play the piano" and she said "Well, we're in Hong Kong. We're going to be going back to the U.S. in about a year and you can learn then. And I said "No, I want to learn now mom." She said, "Well, we don't have a piano." And I said, "Rent one." And she did. And I started studying piano, that that was... How old were you? I was four and a half. Come on! And she was the biggest supporter I had. I would go to weekly lessons and I would come home and practice and I'd have a little one finger, two figure tune, and she'd say, "Oh please play that. That's my favorite." And that's how she would encourage me to practice. And I have had a passion for it ever since, and to be able to share it with young people has been an incredible joy and an incredible privilege. Talk about the role of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra as it relates to helping early childhood education students, if you will, three to five in the city of Newark. Sure. Well the city of Newark is definitely at our heart. That's where we live, where we exist, and where we go all over the state from there. So Newark is at the heart of our mission, and the three to five year olds in Newark, those classrooms, those pre-k classrooms have the opportunity every year to be visited by members of the New Jersey Symphony and be visited by our partners "Touch the Music" who are early childhood specialists, and they bring in "instrument petting zoos". They go right to the rugs in the classrooms and so it inspires the children. It engages them and they get to see these instruments that they've never seen before. Hmm. And then at the end of that, their teachers take them in a bus on a field trip to NJPAC, where the New jersey Symphony performs a concert specifically tailored for them, and it just engaged their senses. What's it do for these kids? it engages their senses, but also at a really critical stage of their development, it is showing them what is possible..."