JumpStart in Music never ceases to amaze. This three day musical retreat for school music programs is the gem of our fall and spring seasons up at camp. This Fall, working with our partners in the Oakland and Berkeley Unified School Districts, and 10 schools in Sonoma County, Cazadero was host to three weekends of intense musical instruction and fabulous outdoor fun.
This long weekend in the woods is a unique opportunity for many of these students to experience the special benefits that nature and music can bring. Recent studies have found that time spent in nature can enhance a child?s ability to concentrate and comprehend in all areas of academia including math, reading, writing, and social studies. Music has also been proven to help "wire" the brain, strengthening listening and language skills, encouraging interaction and cooperation, and helping children find a place of calm and focus.
Music teachers and camp directors have always known about this special symbiosis; this is what Cazadero is all about all summer long. JumpStart is a chance for young public school musicians to experience some of this same magic. It is for this reason that these hard working teachers are willing to put in the extra time and effort to bring their students up to camp. And it does take extra time and effort. Sonoma sent over 115 students drawn from 7 middle schools and 3 high schools, Berkeley sent campers from their 3 middle schools and their high school, and Oakland sent a total of 135 students, 117 middle school campers and 19 high school mentors.
For all of these students, Jumpstart offers a unique opportunity to relax and learn. For the middle school students the many lessons are all about learning to adapt. They are given new repertoire to play, new instructors to perform for, and new ensemble members with whom they must learn to cooperate and collaborate. Mentors, high school students who come to help chaperone and coach, are given a chance to excercise some of their newly minted adult skills: teaching, leadership, reliability, and behaving responsibly.
And the impact that Cazadero, the place, has on all of this is harder to explain. The stately beauty and calm majesty of the giant Redwoods calms, soothes and inspires us. Cazadero offers us that solace; JumpStart shares that magic!