“This is all God's plan - a little jam session turned into 3 levels of band, 4 levels of orchestra, a drumline, a marching band a choir and other classes,” says Don Hallman, founder of the Orange Coast Musical Arts, a music academy geared primarily toward homeschoolers.
Their “jam session” started out with only a few very young homeschool children with recorders! After their first performance at Wycliffe Bible Translators in 1996, the little band decided to take it up a notch. They took the name “Let’s Do Lunch band” and switched to band instruments. A year later, they had three flutes, a drum, two trumpets, and a bass. One mom even learned trombone to help out!
At first, they only got together to have fun and performed in nursing homes, community centers, and around town. But gradually (and ever since!) they’ve been expanding. In order to appeal to more homeschoolers, they took the more professional name “Orange Coast Musical Arts” to appeal to more homeschoolers and adopted a mission to provide “quality music education for families who want a safe, interactive program that honors their faith.”
Now with over 250 students ranging in age from 5-18, the academy has since incorporated three levels of band, violin and piano classes, a serious string orchestra of thirty students, and more. Having fun is still important, though! The students include Christian, gospel, jazz, classical, movie themes, rag time, and more in their repertoire. Thanks to the efficient and cost effective package OCMA offers, children can take band, piano, drums, and choir – or any other combination thereof – when they join. For a flat rate per month (usually the same cost as a single lesson elsewhere!), students can take music four or five times a week at no extra cost.
Hallman wants the opportunity to be part of OCMA to be freely available to those who wouldn’t have the opportunity elsewhere—including public and private schoolers! As he puts it, “We want children to learn to love music and develop their skills as musicians, future leaders, and mature adults with excellent team-work abilities, encouraging each other in their faith.” Homeschoolers, take advantage of this great program for homeschoolers by going to http://www.orangecoastmusicalarts.org/ to check it out!
Interview by Mary Sue Daoud