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Distance learning grant brings international talent into the classroom

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Three months after performing a benefit with and for the Maryville Intermediate School Orchestra on Sunday February 19th, Electric Violinist Tracy Silverman will be the Featured Violinist with the Nashville Symphony for the Spring For Music Festival at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Silverman, lauded by BBC Radio as “the greatest living exponent of the electric violin,” has roots in Maryville that begin with his friendship with MIS Orchestra Director Bill Robinson and extend to a long list of Maryville students that have attended Belmont University in Nashville, where Silverman teaches.

In order to prepare for this concert, MIS will launch new technology obtained financially from last year’s highly successful MIS Valentine concert with Michael Johnson, supplemented with additional resources from the Maryville Foundation, in launching a 21st century classroom fully outfitted for “long distance learning.”

Long distance learning occurs when students take academic courses by accessing information and communicating with the instructor asynchronously over a computer network. Robinson learned more about this medium after being selected to attend the Music in Schools Initiative at Yale University in the summer of 2011, along with fifty other music educators from across the country.

“What we will do to prepare for Tracy’s concert is absolutely mind-blowing, great learning coupled with a whole lot of fun,” says Robinson.” “We are fortunate to have one of Tracy’s prize pupils, Travis Patton, come over and help prep us for the concert during the school day on January 19th, and help demonstrate the electric violin and this new technology to our students.”

Patton, a twenty year old Des Moines, Iowa native, has been in the studio of Nashville Producer Erik Bikales for the past month in anticipation of the release of his first solo CD. Patton will give the students a firsthand view of the six-string electric violin and then help demonstrate MIS new learning technology with the students.

Robinson says that Patton coming a month before the Silverman concert will be an eye-opener for the students. “Friends who have seen Travis play in Nashville say he will be entertaining, educational, and someone whose music the students will go home to their parents trying to explain…just how he did that.”

MIS will be inviting parents as well to Robinson’s class on January 19th, to see Patton’s demonstration with and for the students. “Don’t expect Mozart,” Robinson said. “Led Zeppelin, Coldplay, Jason Mratz, Stevie Wonder…that’s where Travis Patton’s electric violin can take you!”

Robinson says his goals for the “long distance learning” will be to incorporate musicians from around the world into his Maryville classroom, where they can provide instruction and inspiration to the next generation of musicians.

“In my thirty plus years of teaching, this is as excited as I have been for my students in the opportunities that they can encounter in and out of the classroom. What our students will experience through the long distance learning capabilities, in the classroom with Travis Patton and the final product of the February 19th concert with Tracy Silverman are excitingly extraordinary,” says Robinson.

For Additional Information please contact Dr. Robinson with the form below or at 865-659-8596. 

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