The classy act of making music

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Sitting criss-cross on the floor, four kindergartners each placed a hand on the double bass towering over them to feel the vibrations as it was played.

"Wow! How does that feel?" asked Pacific Symphony bassist Doug Basye. "Does it tickle?"

Basye gave a lesson Thursday morning to a class of kindergartners at Victoria Elementary School on how the double bass works, the different sections of the orchestra and the works of American composer Aaron Copland.

It was all part of Class Act, a partnership between the Costa Mesa-based Pacific Symphony and schools, to connect students with musicians and introduce them to a composer.

The students learn music basics like rhythm, tempo and melody, but they also get to meet and have a relationship with a professional musician, said Principal Linda Tenno, adding the students also attend a concert at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

The students' involvement with the program from kindergarten is one of the reasons Victoria's upper-grade instrumental program is so strong, she said.

Through Class Act, each school is assigned a musician who gives a special lesson to every class and puts on a performance with other Pacific Symphony musicians for the families, Tenno said.

"It's always wonderful," she said. "It's so exciting — the kids get dressed up ... it's just a really neat experience for our kids."

Winter Simon, 6, liked the classical music and the song the class sang with animal noises. Her favorite? The goose.

Winter said she wants to play the drums some day and Samuel Hatch, 6, said he might be interested, too — but not the piano.

"My mom keeps saying I'm going to have to play the piano," he said, "but I don't want to."

He is more interested in mixing tables.

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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  • Doug Basye makes his 100-year-old bass to sound like a walking elephant during a presentation at Victoria Elementary School on Thursday.

  • Doug Basye, a bassist from the Pacific Symphony, shows kids how to act like the conductor during a Class Act program Thursday at Victoria Elementary in Costa Mesa.

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