Eastman students are utilizing their talents in the Rochester community through the “Music for All” program, spreading the love of music. Courtesy of courtesy of www.esm.rochester.edu

Typically, when Eastman students deliver a concert, they expect their audience to consist of  those who come through the doors of The Eastman School of Music’s  performance halls. However, the program “Music for All” is changing the typical routine, as students are now exploring a new audience — the Rochester community.
All undergraduate students  at Eastman registered for chamber music are required to reach out to the public through classical music as a part of the program through free concerts at hospitals, libraries and schools.
Students choose the events they wish to participate in based on their schedules and instruments. The performances are then categorized by audience —  the students have a repertoire specifically for children and another  just for the general public.
According to “Music for All” coordinator and part-time Associate Professor Petar Kodzas, this program is  based on the idea of benefitting the public and his awareness about the lack of people willing to attend classical concerts, despite the wealth of opportunities available at the Eastman.
“Being active and going to your audience as opposed to waiting and hoping they will come to you is a much more satisfying and rewarding effort,” Kodzas said. “We realized that musicians of the future need to know how to present difficult concepts to audiences of any age or experience, and decided that we should train Eastman students and give them the opportunity to lead this new trend.”
The idea for the program originated in 1985 with the Associate Director of the Eastman School of Music Jon Engberg. Since its official start in 1995 with Concert Manager Andy Green and Professor of Harp Kathleen Bride, the number of students in the outreach program and its scope have continually increased.
Kodzas expressed his joy for leading the program because of the positive relationship between the performances and the reactions of those listening and the students performing.
“Seeing the effect that this program has on Eastman students is certainly one of my favorite aspects [of it]. They are used to performing in traditional settings and having the immediate interaction with the audience is a different experience,” Kodzas said. “The immediate expression of gratitude and excitement that you get from elementary age children is exhilarating. And then there is the joy and appreciation you see on the faces of the audience of seniors that might be restricted in their mobility and ability to visit concert halls.”
These students and faculty not only want to play for the sole purpose of improving their chops, but also to show the community the power of music.
These students take it upon themselves to be a part of a project shaping the views of the public about classical music and enhancing the education of children in the Rochester area, and the public has responded favorably to their efforts.
“The quality of the performance was high,” Kathleen Benedetti, a teacher at the Cobblestone School, said.“The musicians were talented, passionate and articulate. They made the music come to life. The students did not have to try to pay attention — they were intrigued.”
“The interaction between the musicians and our clients was just fabulous,” Annie Piazza, Director of Client Services AIDS Rochester, said in an interview with an Eastman individual. “The selection of the music and the informative and entertaining presentation was just what our clients needed after a long winter. I couldn’t have asked for more.”
There are presently opportunities for collaborations between UR students and Eastman musicians in similar projects, but there are still challenges ahead, such as  the integration of new programs into the existing ones.
Regardless, the “Music for All” effort will continue into the next few months. Eastman students aim to spread the music to those who cannot, or normally would not, come to Eastman to purchase tickets for a showing of Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9” or “Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.”
“I hope that the entire community sees music as an asset which defines us as humans and realizes the importance and influence of art on the quality of our life,” Kodzas said.
Acosta is a member of
the class of 2012



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