RISING TO NEW LEVELS
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The second stop of the tour took Next Gen on the Road to the North Carolina Music Educators Association conference in Winston-Salem, which allowed an opportunity to present Four Seasons and the ECU School of Music to music educators from across the state.
Steeper Learning Curve
Mentoring is the heart of the program’s success. The ECU students work with the high school students, and all the students benefit from the mentoring provided by faculty and professionals.
“One of the cool things about Next Generation is that when we’re in Greenville, we have the opportunity to work with our teachers and guest artists,” said Micaela Fruend, ECU viola student.
“Then, when we go on the road, we get to be the mentors and help high school students,” Fruend said.
Gregorian said students learn much more from the experience of working towards a performance, particularly when professional artists are part of the team.
“The learning curve is so much steeper than just getting told what to do in a lesson or asked to practice,” he said. The students “actually have to produce on the level that the professionals are playing on.”
ECU cello student Cameron Collins agreed that performing with professional musicians raised the bar on his playing ability. “You raise your level,” he said. “It’s a good experience because you play at a level you didn’t necessary know that you had.”
A Distinct Advantage
Christopher Buddo, ECU interim dean of fine arts and communication, said the regular student and artist interaction offered through Next Gen on the Road is unique to ECU and gives students a distinct advantage as they enter the professional world.
“It is rare to have such exposure to high profile guest artists and faculty, let alone be able to perform with them,” Dennis said.
While the program provides a unique learning opportunity for ECU students, high school students and music educators in the region benefit from the collaboration. Communities benefit as well, with an opportunity to enjoy the collaborative concerts.
Gregorian said, “One of the really great things about Next Gen on the Road is we get to take of all of the work that we have done here in Greenville preparing for the concert to other places – to play in Norfolk, to play in Winston-Salem, to bring what we do to these communities...to show them what we do with our students at ECU.”
In February, a second Next Gen on the Road tour will take place with performances scheduled in Greensboro and Hickory. The tour will end in Greenville with a concert on Feb. 23 at the ECU School of Music.
“Next Gen on the Road is a great opportunity to share the festival with people throughout our region and beyond,” said Gregorian. “It is also a fantastic learning opportunity for our current and future students. I can think of no better way for Four Seasons to develop into the future.”
In residence at the East Carolina University School of Music, the Four Seasons Chamber Music Festival brings world-class chamber musicians to eastern North Carolina and beyond for concerts, master classes, interactive community outreach, Next Generation residencies, Next Gen on the Road tours, a children’s residency and the Four Seasons Family Night.