UNT’S renowned College of Music brings the community more than 1,000 concerts a year — but the community outreach doesn’t stop with performances. Music students and faculty members teach others about music through a variety of programs for everyone from newborns to seniors. In some cases, the programs may be preparing a future generation of musical leaders. But in any case, they are helping enrich lives with a deeper musical understanding.
The New Horizons Band, for example, gives senior citizens a chance to play in an ensemble again — or for the very first time. No experience is needed for the band, which meets for Monday rehearsals and offers periodic concerts.
Debbie Rohwer, chair of the UNT music education division and organizer of the program, says the New Horizons Band keeps seniors active in the community and gets rave reviews from members.
“I have heard from individuals that their breathing becomes better, their manual dexterity becomes better, they feel healthier and they feel more relaxed — everything you would want to have happen to you in later years of life,” she says.
To donate instruments or to make a monetary donation, email email@example.com. After a summer break, rehearsals resume Aug. 22.
Really early music
Babies, toddlers and preschoolers can build a strong musical foundation in UNT’s early childhood music classes, led by head teacher Heidi Scheibmeir (’99) and originally started by Warren Henry, associate dean of the College of Music.
Parents join in with their children as the kids engage in age-appropriate musical activities — such as waving scarves to the beat of the music, singing in a “magic microphone” or jumping on a trampoline to learn about rhythm.
Visit the Early Childhood Music website to find out more about fall classes, offered on Saturdays beginning in September.
UNT’s Start Up the Band program provides donated instruments and free music lessons to Denton fifth-graders with high financial need. On Saturday mornings throughout the school year, UNT’s music education students teach fifth-graders how to play the clarinet, flute, trumpet, saxophone and trombone, giving them a head start before they join sixth-grade band.
The fifth-graders, in turn, gain confidence to be role models for others, says Darhyl Ramsey, professor of music and program organizer.
The program originally ran from 2000 to 2004 and was restored in 2008 thanks to donations from Lone Star Attitude Inc. and the Texas Music Project. The Greater Denton Arts Council, Music and Arts Music Co. and Pender’s Music also provide support.
To donate instruments or music, or funding for the teachers, call Ramsey at 940-565-3749.
In the summers, middle school and high school students are invited to UNT’s annual mariachi camp, set for July 19-23 this year. UNT students lead them in workshops to teach them how to sing and play traditional mariachi music.
Campers also get to experience university life by staying in residence halls, eating in the cafeterias and touring the campus. On the final day, they perform for their parents and friends.
For some of the campers, it’s their first night away from home and their first visit to a college campus, says Donna Emmanuel, professor of music and organizer of the camp. She says students tell her the camp gives them a sense of purpose and belonging — several are now attending UNT.
Maestro Jóse Hernàndez returns as guest teacher and artist this year, bringing with him his brother, Jesus. The two are considered among the top mariachi in the world.