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Music Summer Camps from Plano Symphony Orchestra

Submitted by on July 5, 2012 – 5:46 amNo Comment

Summer music workshops for kids in

grades 1-2 and 3-5

by Mina Frannea

Plano Symphony Orchestra is partnering with SMU Plano to offer four new music summer camps as part of SMU Plano’s summer youth programs. Each summer camp is a week long camp and meets for three hours. The workshops are taught by veteran PSO orchestra members Jeffrey Keene and Jennifer Wheeler.

July 9 – 13, 2012, Instructor: Jeffrey Keene

Finding Your Beat, 1pm – 4pm; for grades 1 -2

Clap your hands, stomp your feet and play a musical instrument that you yourself make! Through games, arts and crafts, and listening, students will learn basic note values and rhythmic theory; how to count, read and write basic note values; and how and why music is grouped the way it is. They will also discover how rhythm and time is the “glue” that makes music possible.

From Heartbeats to Drum Beats, 9am – 12pm; for grades 3 – 5

Drums permeate every culture and form of music in the world! Through a hands-on approach, students will be introduced to drum and percussion instruments from around the globe. They will learn  about the history of the instruments, their world origins and basic techniques to playing the instruments. They will also make their own instruments and learn basic rhythms and note values. The workshop will culminate in a group performance for parents on the last day.

About Jeff

As a timpanist, Jeffrey Keene plays the big, copper kettle drums. He also serves as the 2nd conductor and helps control the pitch of the orchestra. In addition to playing in general symphonies for Plano Symphony Orchestra, Jeff works the Family Series of concerts that focus on the percussion family of instruments. This is an educational series that introduces kids to a variety of instruments from around the world. Jeff has a Masters degree in music and has taught at several school districts. Currently, he teaches at HEB ISD, LD Bell High School and Trinity High School.

A fun fact about Jeff: He has about 80-100 instruments in his home!

The following are pictures of two different kinds of drums. The first is a set of Congas and the second is an African DJembe:

July 16 – 20, 2012, Instructor: Jennifer Wheeler

Musical Zoo, 1pm – 4pm; for grades 1 – 2

Come play in a musical zoo! Students will have the opportunity to hear members of the Plano Symphony Orchestra demonstrate animal characters through their instruments. They will learn about the  animals associated with each piece of music while exploring the symbolism used in the music through crafts and games. In addition, every child will have hands-on experience with real string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments.

Recorder Jam, 9am – 12pm; for grades 3 – 5

Amaze your family and friends by learning an instrument this summer – even if you’ve never attempted anything musical before! Students will learn classical, movie and pop tunes on the recorder, hich also provides a fun way to discover playing music with a group. Basic music skills such as rhythm, note reading, and fingering will be addressed as students explore the music of such diverse composers as Mozart, John Williams and Taylor Swift. The workshop will culminate in a performance for the parents on the last day.

About Jennifer

Jennifer Wheeler has a PHD in music and has been a flutist with the Plano Symphony Orchestra for 12 years. She has over 15 years experience working with young musicians. Jennifer teaches about the woodwind ensemble and music appreciation at Collin College.

A fun fact about Jennifer: she has three children who all play music, but she isn’t the one who taught them!

Here’s a photo of Jennifer’s daughter playing the Recorder

For cost, times and more information, visit For more information on Plano Symphony Orchestra, visit


Mina Frannea is a freelance writer and a social media consultant. A Mom to eight-year-old twins, Mina enjoys writing about life in general, family friendly activities around town, favorite recipes and crafts that keep her children busy and happy. For more posts by Mina, visit her blog at

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