The Universal Language Orchestra is a collaboration between University of San Diego California’s Music Department and the Spring Valley Community Center in Spring Valley, CA. ULO provides non-traditional music making and instrument building to students from the ages 6 to 12 most with little to no previous music experience. My participation began when I was approached by Adam Tinkle and Joe Mariglio who led the ULO sessions with volunteers from within UCSD like myself.

A week of intensive, hands-on workshops followed during the student’s spring break. These creative brainstorms resulted in the building of enough instruments for each student to pick their instrument of choice. These instruments ranged from drums built from wooden boxes to push button synthesizers to PVC pipe wind instruments. Students were also asked to draw pictures to represent sounds or ideas that could be related to a sound to be played.

After the intensive the instruments and visual aides were brought to the Spring Valley Community Center for the students to use during the weekly ULO meetings. Students were asked to play their instruments and conduct, producing unique pieces for each performance.  The program ended in a group performance at the Community Center of the Sweetwater Summit Regional Park, where students saw and performed with local musicians.

 

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