“I see six months of progress in my
students in just three days!”
–JumpStart in Music teacher
JumpStart in Music is Caz’s little known, but much-loved gem of a music program. These weekend musical retreats for school and school district music programs are the highlight of our fall and spring seasons at Caz. Working with our partners in the Oakland and Berkeley Unified School Districts, Oakland School for the Arts, Portola Middle School in El Cerrito and 8 middle and high schools in Sonoma County, Cazadero will host six weekends of intense musical instruction and fabulous outdoor fun this year.
JumpStart in Music is an intensive three-day camp music retreat providing a unique opportunity for students to experience the special benefits that nature and music can bring. For many Jumpstart participants, this is a first opportunity to immerse themselves in music, have a chance to get outside of the classroom and city, and spend an overnight at a camp.
Over the course of the weekend program, much like our summer music camp model, JumpStart students engage in an intensive process of practice, rehearsal and performance. There are a series of large and small group practices and rehearsals conducted throughout the long weekend, and music teachers and high school mentors provide additional one-on-one instruction to students needing additional assistance. The music curriculum is also complemented by recreational activities, typical camp-like fun of campfire skits and s’mores, and nature lessons designed to take advantage of the stunning natural setting at the camp. The weekends close with an always remarkable concert performance for family and friends.
For all of these students, Jumpstart offers a unique opportunity to relax and learn in the world’s greatest classroom environment; Cazadero. For the students, their many lessons include 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. Even in this somewhat condensed three-day programmatic format, in a single JumpStart session we continue to see consistently notable improvement in students’ musicianship, in their ability to work collaboratively with others, and in their overall growth as musicians and as young people. It is no exaggeration to say that participants emerge from each retreat consistently inspired and energized, with greater confidence in themselves and their abilities. This is what Cazadero is primarily about all summer long; JumpStart is a chance for young public school musicians to experience some of this same summer magic during the school year.
For the high school mentors, JumpStart offers a chance, as musicians, to share their musical knowledge with their younger peers, while practicing their own teaching, coaching and leadership skills. For the music teachers, the JumpStart retreat is a rare opportunity to work in greater depth with the students they normally see for no more than an hour per day. As a result, they get to delve into the music more deeply with the students, get to know their students better, and build a more cohesive and dynamic large and small group music ensemble overall. This progress is carried back to the classroom and built upon over the course of the school year. In this way the program provides important moral and practical support to the participating music teachers, challenged with maintaining a viable and cohesive music program in the face of very limited resources.
JumpStart in Music was launched in 2002 as a response to the general lack of resources in public schools and the steady reduction in funding for arts and music programming in particular. What began as an effort to support and inspire music instruction at the middle school level within the Berkeley Unified School District has become a thriving and growing program which now serves more than 600 public school youth each year throughout the greater Bay Area.
The primary goals of JumpStart are: to bring the love of music and learning to public school youth; to build musical competency and leadership within a highly diverse student body; to strengthen public school music programming; and to facilitate greater collaboration between public school music programs within each school district.