Behind the Music: Virginia Symphony shares tips with WJCC teachers

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VSO and WJCC make music
Music educators and professional musicians came together earlier this month in a first-ever collaboration between WJCC Public Schools and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra. (Photo courtesy VSO)

Local violin and cello teachers have some expert pointers to share with students, thanks to a recent collaboration with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

Five music instructors from Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools participated in a day-long professional development workshop with members of the symphony on Nov. 16, according to a release.

The first-ever event allowed the teachers to learn new ways to coach their students.

Each of the participating instructors was already proficient in a stringed instrument, such as violin, viola, cello or bass. They also teach orchestral string instruments.

Sessions with VSO musicians focused on techniques for playing the instruments, which vary in size and physical characteristics. These differences, in turn, affect how each instrument is played and held.

The “hands-on” advice will help teachers shape instruction, critique students and help students boost their performances.

The workshop was hosted by the King of Glory Lutheran Church and funded in part by the Virginia Symphony Society of Greater Williamsburg.

Earlier this year, WJCC schools were named one of the best communities for music education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation. This is a recognition earned by fewer than four percent of school districts nationwide.

VSO musicians will offer workshops to band and orchestra students at Jamestown, Warhill and Lafayette high schools this spring.

The VSO workshop participants teach at Stonehouse, D.J. Montague, Norge, Matoaka and Blayton elementary schools, Berkeley and Hornsby middle schools and Jamestown, Lafayette and Warhill high schools, according to an email from Derek Page, marketing and public relations manager for the VSO.

For more about the VSO, go here.