With ultra-modern furnishings, movable panels to reflect the shadows coming in from the garden, and a student art gallery on the east wall ­ all part of a stunning redesign by the Cleveland firm of Collins Gordon Bostwick Architects ­ the Conservatory lounge has become a destination in itself.

Come and MusicPlay
Oberlin enhanced its community music offerings in September 2001 with the introduction of MusicPlay, a 12-week program of musical exploration and activities for children.

Supported by a grant from the Esther Simon Charitable Trust, MusicPlay creates an opportunity for children aged 3 to 5 to develop musical concepts. Professor of Music Education Peggy Bennett, an internationally respected early childhood music expert and author of several books and articles on the subject, teaches the classes with the help of students in Oberlin's music education program.

"By having one instructor throughout the semester, a child can progress at his or her own pace under consistent guidance," says Associate Dean of the Conservatory Ellen Sayles, coordinator of the program.

Keeping the classes small ­ no more than 15 children in each ­ and offering four sections per semester (two at the Oberlin Early Childhood Center and two at the Conservatory) assures a higher quality educational experience, explains Sayles.

Bennett's classes are designed to teach children through creative music making, pitch, rhythm, melody, im-provisation, creation, harmony, dynamics, and notation. Children will also develop important social skills, such as listening and sharing. Parents and guardians are encouraged to observe as well as participate, and are taught techniques for musical interaction that can be used at home or in a childcare setting.

- Joanna Chang

Oberlin Jazz Sextet in Full Swing
The Oberlin Jazz Sextet (OJS) kicked off its 2001-02 season in September by impressing audiences and educators at the Ford Detroit Jazz Festival.

This year's members of the OJS, all Conservatory students nominated and selected by Oberlin's jazz faculty, are saxophonist Calvin Barnes '02; trumpeter J.Q. Whitcomb '02; trombonist Andy Hunter '02; pianist Adam Faulk '02; bassist Matthew Elliott '02; and drummer James Alexander '02.

"The OJS are the jazz ambassadors for the Oberlin Conservatory," says Peter Dominguez, Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and Bass. "We are proud of what they've done."

Begun 22 years ago as the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival, the annual jazz event is the largest free festival in America, featuring such national acts as Dave Brubeck, Tommy Flanigan, Benny Green, Herbie Mann, and Wallace Roney. Education has always played a vital role in the festival and it is clear the experience made an impression on OJS members. "I had such an incredible time," says Alexander. "The festival was the best musical experience I've had in my life."

- Joanna Chang

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