Spring Break this year began in a slightly different way for 18 students from the Wentworth Music Education Centre in Kelowna.
Instead of taking some traditional time off from school, the students took a road trip to attend Selkirk College’s Music and Technology program in Nelson.
Inspired by an idea from Noel Wentworth, vice-president of education at Wentworth Music, the trip pioneered a new partnership where Wentworth’s Band Factory students showcased their talents for teachers, demonstrating college-level equivalency with their skills in a band or ensemble.
The whirlwind trip to the Kootenay music school included classes and a workshop giving Wentworth’s students a taste of life on campus. The trip also gave the students the opportunity to perform for an audience of Selkirk’s students and teachers at the newly renovated, state of the art Shambhala Music Hall.
“It was quite nerve racking because the people we performed for were older than us and knew a lot more about music than we did,” explained vocalist Katia Wells-Green, 15. “But once we started playing and saw everyone clapping and getting into it, it was awesome.”
From the comments the students and parents received after they returned from Nelson, it would appear this sentiment was universal. “I don’t think they realized just how well they did,” said Noel Wentworth.. “After they finished the show, one of the teachers from the college came to me to say we had raised the bar for some of their students.”
The icing on the cake was that Wentworth’s students walked away from this trip with transfer credit to Selkirk’s post-secondary program. For many of the Band Factory students this will mean they will now have post-secondary credit at a college before they even leave high school.
Wentworth, a graduate of Selkirk’s music program nearly 20 years ago, knew first hand that their Band Factory ensemble program in Kelowna was equivalent or greater to what students were doing as a part of the curriculum at Selkirk. With that in mind, Wentworth asked if Selkirk would entertain the idea of giving his students equivalency credit for a small portion of their course that in return may help act as a feeder program for their institution.
“One of the most outstanding things about this new partnership is the transferability of the credit we’ve been given,” exclaimed Wentworth. “Selkirk College’s Music and Technology program is one of only two programs in the country to offer a two year diploma that is fully transferable to one of the world’s most esteemed music schools, Berklee College of Music in Boston. What this means is that after students finish their first year in Nelson, the credit they receive from our new partnership is directly transferable to Berklee.”
Wentworth hopes some of the graduates from Selkirk that he met on this trip will become future Wentworth Music instructors. “I know first-hand how great the college is,” explained Wentworth. “Several of their graduates already work for us at our school.”
It’s not hard to believe after the success of this trip that Selkirk and Wentworth are already talking of making this an annual trip.