Harmony Project gets new director

Kengkue Her | Banner | Dr. Moon conducts the song “Valse Des Fleurs” with the California Baptist University orchestra during a practice session.

Riverside Arts Academy recently hired a new program director from within the California Baptist University community as director of its program.

​Dr. Gene Moon, director of orchestra studies, was chosen as the new director of the RAA including the Harmony Project to bring muisc back to the youth education.

The Riverside Arts Academy is an organization that educates students on a wide array of different fine arts.

Throughout his career, Moon has conducted orchestras in four different continents.

Moon said his vision for the academy is to involve music and arts in all students’ lives.

​“The academy offers a wide variety of fine arts classes, ranging from music to ballet to visual arts,” Moon said. “Everything under the encompassing umbrella of fine arts.”

​California passed legislation on a public school budget cut 20 years ago with music and arts programs taking the largest loss.

Two years ago, the Harmony Project began and strives to bring music back into elementary schools.

​“Music education is lacking in California public schools,” Moon said. “The Harmony Project was founded to bring back music into elementary education in the spirit that it can convey all subjects–not just music.”

​The organization implements music in different subjects and aspects of the public school system.

​“Bringing music to elementary students can be used in history, mathematics, science and all facets of education,” Moon said. “That’s the spirit of Harmony Project.”

Moon trains other music educators within RAA, as well as being present and interacting with its students.

Teaching children musical education is what Moon said he has always wanted to do and the prospect excites him for this position in the academy.

​“I can affect young children and their music education vicariously through training future music educators, but I also love to join the children and show them about playing music,” Moon said. “My heart is definitely in teaching music education to young children.”

Different professors at CBU also work with Moon to bring music to young students.

Collette Lee, president of the Riverside Arts Academy, said Moon’s previous experience in starting high caliber youth orchestras speaks for itself.

“His purpose in life is clear. He was chosen to lead children on a path of reaching their full potential,” Lee said. “It seems like the stars have aligned at precisely the right time.”

Lee said his professional affiliations with national music festivals spoke volumes.

According to Lee, Moon is just the perfect person to fill this position.

Joshua Aitken, senior music education major, said Moon dedicated to youth musicial education and interacts with the students.

Aitken has observed the relationships Moon has with the students as he strives to teach them.

“He is good at what he does,” Aitken said. “Having participated in one of his ensembles, I have witnessed first- hand his ability to be able to connect with the students and direct them in effective ways for learning.”

He said Moon’s dedication for the students music education is what makes him qualified to be in such a position.

Moon interacts with the children and designates times specific for the students so they can learn efficiently throughout this time.

“He is a dedicated music director and you can tell how much he cares by the way he interacts with the kids that show up every single day,” Aitken said. “It is really quite extraordinary.”

Moon will vist the students as much as his schedule at CBU will allow him to.

The Academy is having an event Dec. 13 at the Festival of Lights in downtown Riverside at 5:30 p.m. at the Mission Inn & Spa.

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