BURLINGTON — With the school year coming to a close, the Racine Symphony Orchestra wrapped up a successful first year of its Middle School Mentorship Program at Karcher Middle School in Burlington.

This program brought one of the RSO’s professional musicians, violinist Darlene Rivest, directly to the classroom to provide individualized instruction to seventh and eighth-grade string students. Rivest and the students worked on everything from the basic issues of finger patterns and note reading to advanced techniques including vibrato and shifting.

“Work was also done on music that was being taught in class and assessment was done to determine students understanding," Rivest said. "All of these tasks were successful and students have shown growth throughout the year."

Crucial to the success of this program was the support of orchestra teacher Dustan Eckmann. Together, Eckmann and Rivest worked to develop lessons regarding skill development and select an appropriate repertoire of music.

“Whenever (Rivest) would come to help I noticed much improvement the following day," Eckmann said. "She worked with them in any area that needed improvement and my students loved having her here to work with them."

RSO announced that the Middle School Mentorship Program will be available again during the 2017-18 school year with an expanded menu of options. 

The support of the Burlington Community Fund made the Middle School Mentorship Program at Karcher Middle School possible in the 2016-17 school year and will again during the 2017-18 school year.

For more information on the Racine Symphony Orchestra’s music education programs and concerts, visit www.racinesymphony.org or call 262-636-9285.

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