Young Musicians Recruit Young Musicians

A group of classical musicians performs in various elementary and high school classrooms. Their goal is to get young students interested in musical fields. Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson has more.

The audience of high school students sits in rapt attention. They're listening to a piano trio by Smetana. Stanley Moore is the cellist.

"For me it helps a lot when you have something, some background on the piece to help you know what it's about, how it should be played. And his two daughters died, of course. We didn't figure this out until about four weeks ago and I think it added a lot of meaning to what we were doing with it."

In case you haven't figured it out, Stanley Moore is 16. He's one of the musicians, performing for his peers. He's in a trio with 17-year-old Brian Chang and 15-year-old Ryan Murphy.

The three are here in Houston to perform with From the Top. It's an organization that promotes musical education among young people.

Brian Chang plays piano. He says most people his age don't know much about music outside of hip hop. But he says that's where he gets to be an ambassador of sorts for classical music.

"I think I'm proof that kids can like both genres, because I play classical and I like rap."

And there you see the goal of these sessions with high school students. Classical music becomes relevent when they hear and see a peer performing.

Branson Yeast is a senior at High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He was selected to perform cello with Composer and Violinist Mark O'Connor on From the Top last year.

"It was really fun to do it and it was a really good experience and it was the first time -- I'd never played a modern piece and also with the composer. So it was really eye-opening in that sense."

About 2,000 kids apply to play on the show every year. From the Top is taping a performance in Houston at the Wortham Center. Several young Houston musicians will perform in the show.

Laurie Johnson. Houston Public Radio News.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...