Making Music Education Accessible: Houston Symphony’s Carver High School Residency Program

Making Music Education Accessible: Houston Symphony’s Carver High School Residency Program

The Houston Symphony Residency at Carver High School is an intensive six-week residency, featuring weekly Community-EmbeddedMusician (CEM) workshops for orchestra students. This initiative, which began as a virtual offering in 2021 during the pandemic, is designed to help strengthen the growing orchestra program at Carver High School, which is located within the Acres Homes neighborhood—one of the areas identified in the Mayor’s Complete Communities initiative. On January 10, workshops between the students and Houston Symphony Community-Embedded Musician and double bass, David Connor, began.

Houston Symphony’s residency at Carver High School has been a hugely successful and enriching experience for the orchestra students. The program consists of six 90-minute workshops where David works with students in small groups and as a full ensemble. One of the most exciting aspects of the residency has been the opportunity for the students to work with and learn from a professional musician. These workshops cover a variety of topics, from phrasing and rehearsal etiquette to instrument techniques and performance strategies, and help students hone their skills, build their self-confidence, and achieve their full potential as musicians. In addition to working with a Houston Symphony CEM at their school, the students also have the opportunity to attend a Symphony performance at Jones Hall. The performance serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for them as they continue to develop their own musical talents.

The impact of the Houston Symphony residency at Carver High School has been significant, with many orchestra students expressing a newfound appreciation and excitement for classical music. "Working with Dave and his colleagues at the symphony offers our students a rare glimpse into the 'real' world of classical music,” says Carver HighSchool orchestra director, Grace Lewis. “A beloved school activity is transformed into a career opportunity and lifelong pursuit thanks to Dave’s inspiring instruction and to the Symphony rehearsals and concerts we have been so fortunate to attend.” Overall, the Houston Symphony’s residency at Carver High School has been an invaluable experience for everyone involved.

The Carver High School Residency is a part of the Houston Symphony’s Education and Community Engagement initiatives. To donate to this program, and many other music education programs the Symphony offers, visit Your support makes it possible for us to share the gift of music with more than 46,000 students in the Houston area. —Lauren Buchanan

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