PORTLAND, Ore. -- If they exist at all, most school music programs offer students a basic music education.
Very few teach first graders to play the violin and even fewer turn those violins into a youth orchestra.
Welcome to Oregon Bravo Youth Orchestras, a nonprofit group that has partnered with Portland Public Schools to reinvigorate elementary school music education.
Oregon's version of the Bravo program was started by Dr. Bonnie Reagan, who got her inspiration after going to a performance of the Oregon symphony.
She was so moved by a piece they played that she went home and searched it on YouTube. What she found was a performance by a Venezuelan youth orchestra called El Sistema. Together with Executive Director Seth Truby, they have launched a program after the El Sistema model designed to give students from low-income households the opportunity to be exposed to the life-changing benefits of orchestral music.
Oregon Bravo Youth Orchestras practices two hours a day, five days a week. They believe that by giving students the opportunity to participate in intensive music training they can not only broaden their horizons, but help teach them valuable skills like discipline, teamwork and the ability to listen.
The Oregon Bravo program is currently in four schools in the Portland Public Schools district and they operate five ensembles that play between 30 and 40 concerts a year.
(© 2017 KGW)