ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The Florida Orchestra has named violinist Jina Lee as a new teaching artist in its innovative partnership with Pinellas County Schools that puts TFO directly into classrooms to support strings teachers and students. As part of the Teaching Artist partnership, the orchestra also has resumed its intensive Partner Schools initiative that was paused because of Covid. This year’s partner schools are Clearwater High School and Osceola Middle School.
Lee joins established teaching artist and violist Kaitlin Springer in the fourth full school year of the Teaching Artist program, in which professional musicians split their time between coaching in Pinellas classrooms and performing onstage with The Florida Orchestra.
Lee grew up in Ithaca, N.Y., and received bachelor’s degrees in violin performance and recording arts and sciences as well as a minor in Spanish for the professions studies at the Peabody Conservatory and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. She shares The Florida Orchestra’s belief in the power of music to unify, heal and strengthen communities. During her six years with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, she was active in community outreach events, as a teaching aid for BSO’s OrchKids program, and as a mentor through the BSO Orchlab program, coaching high school string orchestras.
“We are thrilled to have Jina Lee onboard. Our teaching artists are deeply passionate about supporting, growing and cultivating strong sustainable orchestral programs throughout Pinellas County public schools,” said Michelle Kim-Painter, TFO director of education and community engagement. “Since our partnership began, the level of the county’s string programs has increased and teachers report they are more confident in their work. The program has continued to help identify future musicians. We are improving the cultural life in Pinellas County through this program.”
The cost of the Teaching Artist partnership is split between Pinellas County Schools through referendum funding and TFO, whose community of generous donors help make its education and community programs possible.
The two teaching artists consistently visit dozens of middle and high schools throughout Pinellas County, but they provide concentrated support to the two partner schools, which are selected through a rigorous application process in coordination with the school system. The partner schools rotate each year. This year the teaching artists are working closely with Angel De Armas, director of band and instrumental activities at Clearwater High School, and Anthony Atkinson, band and orchestra director at Osceola Middle school, to help them meet and exceed their goals for the year.
TFO teaching artists are unique in their well-rounded skill sets as professional artists, orchestral musicians and educators. They provide:
• Real time support including teaching tools, best practices, repertoire programming, individualized small group instruction, and private lessons with orchestra directors.
• Coaching for Music Performance Assessments, All County, All State, and Solo and Ensemble through consistent in-person instruction as well as specialized virtual resources such as videos.
• Extra support to teachers at partner schools, who receive professional development credit through the school district for their time spent with the teaching artists.
The Teaching Artist program has been going strong since 2017. During Covid, the teaching artists recorded hundreds of videos to help students practice at home and provided one-on-one virtual lessons for dozens of student musicians, especially important for those feeling isolated.
The partnership is just one of non-profit TFO’s robust education programs, which also include Youth Concerts that reach 30,000 students either in-person or on-demand virtually each season, TFO Strings for Kids program of free violin classes for students who might not have the opportunity any other way, and more.
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About The Florida Orchestra
The Florida Orchestra (TFO) is recognized as Tampa Bay’s leading performing arts institution, the largest professional orchestra in Florida, and one of the most vibrant and innovative orchestras in America. This is its 54th season. Under the leadership of Music Director Michael Francis, TFO performs series of classical, popular, and morning coffee concerts in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, as well as free Pops in the Park concerts. The orchestra is dedicated to connecting to the community both in-person and virtually, with family and youth concerts and other educational programs. For tickets and information: FloridaOrchestra.org. The Florida Orchestra is a non-profit 501(c)3 EIN: 59-1223691 CH#1830. To learn more how you can support the power of music in building community, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org To donate now: FloridaOrchestra.org/donate