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By Breeana Greenberg

Bringing young students an appreciation for various musical genres, Music Preserves Foundation wrapped up a 10-week program on music history at R. H. Dana Elementary on Friday, April 1, with a New Orleans jazz performance and second line parade.

Fifth grade students at the local elementary school participated in the program, learning about music from the birth of jazz to rap, as well as surf music.

“This was a tremendous 10 weeks that we spent and we wanted to share a little bit about the program that we do with the rest of the school and with the community that supports us so well,” Anthony Small, cofounder of Music Preserves, said.

The 10-week program consisted of one, half hour class a week. Each class focused on a different style of music, “beginning with the roots of American music, which is the birth of the blues, going to New Orleans jazz, and then electrified blues, bebop jazz, the Harlem renaissance, country music, rock music, and even an episode (class) dedicated to rap music, as well as surf music,” Small said.

By the end of the course, students played a “name that genre” game, during which Small said the students could easily differentiate the various styles within a few seconds of listening.

“All those different genres, we pick an artist to talk about more specifically, their journey, and then mix in geography, fashion, art and of course music history,” Small continued. “And then after the 10 weeks, we concluded with (the wrap party), with the support of the city.”

Johann Stein rocks the banjo while Devon Taylor plays the tuba during a New Orleans jazz performance for R.H. Dana Elementary School students on Friday, April 1. Photo: Breeana Greenberg

Music Preserves offers student education for middle schools and high schools, as well as community education programs. Small explained that the kids don’t learn how to play music, rather they learn why it sounds the way that it does.

“That viewpoint, that multicultural viewpoint, is extremely valuable in our history,” Small said.

Before the New Orleans jazz performance, Patti Compton, fellow Music Preserves founder, gave a presentation on early jazz music and second line parades to R.H. Dana’s entire student body.

Three fifth-grade students who were part of the music history program spoke during the presentation about what they learned and loved from the experience. Two of the students said that rock and roll was their favorite style of music and one student said New Orleans jazz was her favorite because of the variety of instruments the genre uses.

R.H. Dana Elementary students clap along to New Orleans jazz music during a wrap up party for Music Preserves’ 10-week music history program on Friday, April 1. Photo: Breeana Greenberg

Following the presentation, Johann Stein played the banjo with Devon Taylor, also known as “TubaRed,” who recently performed in the Super Bowl halftime show.

Stein and Taylor had previously performed at Music Preserves one-year anniversary party. At the wrap party, the duo played a couple songs on stage before they led the students through the elementary school campus as a second line parade.

“I think this is important,” Stein said. “This program is important for all of you guys because I think we have a lot of future musicians here and it’s good for you to start learning about music and learning about the details and as students that were here on the stage expressed.”

“They learned a lot and gathered a lot from this program and I think we’re going to see some great musicians come out of here in a few years, and I’m looking forward to hearing you guys,” Stein continued.

Johann Stein on the banjo and Devon Taylor on the tuba lead R.H. Dana Elementary students through the school campus as a second line parade on Friday, April 1. Photo: Breeana Greenberg

Capistrano Unified School District Board President Martha McNicholas, Mayor Joe Muller and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Frost attended Music Preserves’ wrap party at the elementary school.

“These programs wouldn’t happen without the support of the City Council and the City of Dana Point staff, and we’re just very grateful to the community, the Chamber of Commerce,” Small said. “Everybody’s support allows us to bring our programs to more and more kids.”

Music Preserves plans to bring the music history program to more schools within CUSD and the Laguna Beach Unified School District.

Editor’s Note: Anthony Small is a PFM contributor who writes the Dana ROCKS column for the Dana Point Times.

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at

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