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Aeolus Quartet Outreach at Jackson Middle School on January 23, 2017

Bright and early on this Monday morning, the young musicians of the Aeolus Quartet started off with some Mozart (Adagio & Fugue K.546) before talking with the 200 or so students gathered in the Auditorium/Cafeteria. They established excellent rapport right away, introducing the audience to each of their instruments, with an explanation of their individual roles within a string quartet. The morning continued with more music by Schumann (String Quartet Op.41, No.3, 2nd Movt.), Copland (Rondino), and Barber (String Quartet in B-Major, Op.11, 2nd Movt.) before breaking into a very lively Q & A session: the students (and teachers!) asked and the Quartet answered a wide range of questions including – motivation for practicing;  breathing together when playing in ensemble; music as a viable career; music as a form of communication; and music serving as a balance in our modern-day tech-filled life.

After a brief pause, the Quartet spent more quality time with a smaller group of orchestra students – they played selections by Schumann (String Quartet Op.41, No.3, Finale) and Barber (String Quartet in B-Major, Op.11, 3rd Movt.), and in between the two pieces answered more  in-depth questions about the intricacies of bowing, synchronization, rhythmic control, and musical direction. Finally the musicians demonstrated to the rapt audience the importance of listening “through the silence”,  and its emotional impact.  At the end of the event, a shy and soft-spoken 7th-grader approached us and said “This is the best thing I’ve ever heard! I’m now motivated to work extra hard!”

Well, that made our day!

Submitted by Pauline Glickman

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