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Children explore 'Magic of Music'
Musicians share talent at local library
Justin White, 6, gets a crash course in embouchure (how to position one's mouth inside the mouthpiece of a wind instrument) from French Horn player Jeff Breaux of the Southern Georgia Symphony Saturday. - photo by By SCOTT BRYANT

    There was music in the air at the Statesboro Regional Library Saturday.
    Members of the Southern Georgia Symphony, with support from the Grassroots Arts Program of the Georgia Council for the Arts and the Statesboro Arts Council, gave about 30 children and their parents a hands-on encounter in a program titled "The Magic of Music."
    Attendees were treated to examples of different orchestral instruments and introduced to terms such as timbre and embouchure.
    After the short presentation led by Symphony conductor Cheung Chau, the children broke up into rotating groups to get a chance to try their hand at percussion, stringed, woodwind, and brass instruments.
    Most of the children were eager to try the percussion instruments, creating their own cacophony of unique rhythms. John Strickland, 9, said the cello was "really fun" and came easy to him because he could relate the fingerboard to playing guitar.
    While playing wind instruments came less naturally to most, many of the children managed to create musical tones with the help of the symphony members.
    "They were amazing," said Vanessa Arnett, a clarinetist charged with mentoring budding woodwind players.
    "They seemed really enthusiastic, and some of them are naturals. I hope some of them, years from now, remember this is where I started to play."
    Arnett, who began playing music in the 6th grade, believes music can be a great way for children to grow in academics and imagination and allow them to express themselves in a unique way.
    Chau, an associate professor in conducting and cello at Georgia Southern University, say he enjoys meeting with the community, especially children, because of their enthusiasm and curiosity.
    One of the missions of the South Georgia Symphony is to bring more people into the music fold, and at least two parents expressed interest in lessons for their children after Saturday's program.
    Chau encourages people to contact him or the university if they are interested in music instruction.
    He can be reached by e-mail at
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