Music education students get creative, produce videos

Stockton Symphony Instrument Roundup #1: Trumpet

University of the Pacific music education students recently proved that music has no barriers. Not even during a pandemic.

The result of their efforts is 37 video music lessons—called the Instrument Roundup—as a collaboration between Pacific’s Conservatory of Music and the Stockton Symphony.

“The students were so energetic and engaged in this project,” said Dr. Ruth Brittin, professor and chair of music education. “What they were able to create can be so helpful and fun for young children who might be interested in music.”

For many years, the symphony has hosted a booth called an “instrument petting zoo” at Family Day at the Park, the largest annual Stockton literacy fair, sponsored by The Record newspaper. Conservatory students staff the booth and help students try out different instruments—from flutes to tubas, from drums to violins.

The petting zoo could not happen this year due to the pandemic, which forced Family Day at the Park into a virtual mode.

Stockton Symphony Music Director and Conductor Peter Jaffe made a phone call to Brittin.

“Peter got in touch with me in late August and we talked about ways we might be able to do virtual music experiences from our music education students that could be shared online,” Brittin said.

That prompted a Zoom meeting with Jaffe, Brittin and music education students.

“We immediately had so many students volunteer. It was impressive,” Jaffe said. “We have loved collaborating with the conservatory over the years and Ruth does such a great job with music education. This just made sense and we wound up with very good and instructional music videos.”

Brittin and Jaffe credit Ryan Abdelmalek, student president of the conservatory’s chapter of the National Association for Music Educators. He both deputized others to help and coordinated the project.

“Ryan was a dynamo. He got things done,” Jaffe said.

“I talked with Dr. Brittin and the Maestro (Jaffe) and we came up with some things to include to be consistent: their name, instrument and instrument family, what type of sounds it makes,” Abdelmalek said. “But then everyone put their own personality into the lessons. They had their own individual flair.”

Conservatory students made 35 videos and Jaffe made two videos using at-home, makeshift instruments.

“I am proud of all of the music education students. They met their deadlines and put a lot of effort into the videos,” Abdelmalek said. “I have taken part in the instrument petting zoo each year, and I’m a senior. I am so glad that we were able to adapt and do this project.”

The videos include: