Rice University
Rice Magazine| The Magazine of Rice University | No. 1 | 2008
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The Sound of Summer Music

Summertime is camp time at Rice, where summer programs range from the academic and scientific to the athletic and recreational — and include one offering that fills the air with the sound of music.

The music camps were created by Rachel Buchman, a lecturer in music and head of The Shepherd School of Music’s Young Children’s Division. Buchman wanted to encourage children ages 2 through 9 to explore music through singing, rhythm games, creative movement, improvisation, musical storytelling, and the building and playing of percussion instruments.
Throughout the weeklong camps, the children develop their innate musicianship and understand music through joyful experience. And the kids aren’t the only ones who benefit. Current and former Shepherd School students who lead the weeklong camps often discover that the experience rekindles the spark that first led them to music.

“The camps are open to everyone — not just Rice people — so they keep me plugged in to community needs.” —Rachel Buchman
“I come from years of conservatory training, so I know that the serious elements of music making can often get exaggerated,” said Juliette Javaheri ’05, who was among the camp’s seven teachers. “It is nice to be reminded of why we are all here in the first place — to have some fun.”
Javaheri first began working with The Shepherd School’s Young Children’s Division in 2006 when Buchman asked her to observe some classes.

“Rachel’s enthusiastic approach to music is contagious,” Javaheri said. “She is always reminding us that the kids are here in the summer to have fun. And boy, do they have a good time. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find another group of kids getting so fired up by a piece of classical music — sharing with one another their thoughts and feelings about a selected recording or live performance.”

Buchman has spent more than 25 years teaching music to young people, from toddlers to doctoral students in the U.S., Germany, England and Israel. Researching the connections between children and music, she found that singing encourages brain and language development and is one of the most essential educational activities a parent can do with a child.

While the summer programs build on her research interests, they also offer her a way to stay connected to the Houston community and her students.

“The camps are open to everyone — not just Rice people — so they keep me plugged in to community needs,” Buchman said. “They’ve become a wonderful way for me to keep in touch with Shepherd School alumni and for them to come back to Rice to share their marvelous energy and creativity with the children of Houston.”

“I come from years of conservatory training, so I know that the serious elements of music making can often get exaggerated.It is nice to be reminded of why we are all here in the first place — to have some fun.” —Juliette Javaheri