Montgomery County students to study with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Photo: Courtesy of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Music education will soon hit a new note in Montgomery County.

Next year, students at 23 schools will get a chance to study with members of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.

The BSO is an internationally recognized and Grammy-Award winning ensemble. And starting next month, some members will be taking on another role---they'll be sharing their expertise with local students.

dick spero- baltimore symphony orchestra, community liaison
"We're not teachers, but we are available, and want to be available to the music teachers in the county, to enhance what they're doing, enrich what they're doing, embellish what they're doing, not replace what they're doing," says Dick Spero, BSO community liaison.

Orchlab will get its first pilot run in the 2012-2013 school year at nearly two dozen pre-selected Montgomery County public schools.

"A lot of students in our community don't take private lessons, so it's nice to have a professional comment on their playing," says Elizabeth Jankowski-Carson, orchestra director at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School in Silver Spring.

The program is an extension of BSO on the Go' - an interactive partnership where students can hear and learn from the pros, right in the classroom.

"Musicians will travel down here to Montgomery County during the days when they don't rehearse," Spero says.

Allannah Gonzales, a Wheaton High School student, was among the first students to experience this opportunity, when she was at Loiederman Middle School.

"He would tell us how to play this, how to play that," Gonzales says. "It was really fun."

Kristina Coverly even got the chance sit on stage with the BSO..

"I was able to ask him lots of questions, and it was really exciting," Coverly says. "And I loved being able to see him play his music."

Teachers say that Orchlab is one way to raise the bar on music education.

"It's nice because they can see that as a pathway into their own future," say Ian Stuart, band director at Loiederman.