Academy Award Winner Inspires Students at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary

Michael Giacchino Grammy Awards winner poses with future award winners at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School ( Photo by Ross A. Benson
Michael Giacchino answers a question or two from students ( (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Academy Award-Winning Composer and Education Through Music-Los Angeles (ETM-LA) Advisory Board Member Michael Giacchino went back to elementary school, joining a violin class — his first ever!

Giacchino  spent time on January 24, with the 4th and 5th graders at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School, discussing his career writing music in Hollywood.  He hoped to inspire young music students to follow their dreams whatever they may be.

Best known for his exciting scores for major box office hits and top TV shows like
Mission Impossible IV”, “The Incredibles”,  and “UP” (for which he won an Academy Award in 2009), Giacchino is also a devoted educator. He currently sits on the Advisory Board for Education Through Music-LA, a non-profit program dedicated to promoting the integration of music into the curriculum of Los Angeles-area elementary and middle schools with low-income student poopulations.

Michael Giacchino directs Bobby Shulgold while students at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School listen intently. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)


Education Through Music-LA partnered with the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and Burbank Unified Arts for All to provide instrumental music education to students at Providencia Elementary this year.

Burbank Chamber

With the help of clips from his acclaimed Disney/Pixar films “Up” and “Cars 2″, Giacchino playfully shared what it takes to make movie magic happen. On his role as a composer, Giacchino shared how important communication is.

“It’s so important to be clear about what you’re feeling,” said Giacchino,  “Music is a guide for your emotions. I have to tailor my music to fit the scene perfectly.”

He presented two versions of a cue from “Up” and engaged the students in a discussion about which musical arrangement truly expressed the meaning behind the scene. Giacchino also invited studio flutist Bobby Shugold to play cues from “Up” as the students commented on what feelings they experienced when the music was played differently each time.

All Michael Giacchino had to say was tjat he worked with Salena and the girls were all ears at Providencia Elementary School ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Students were captivated and inspired, as well as curious, about all aspects of Giacchino’s life. When asked, “Do you hang out with celebrities?”  Giacchino joked, “Yeah…Tom Cruise is waiting in the car. I’ve worked with a lot of people who are probably considered celebrities, but when I’m with them, we’re just people making a movie…we don’t really think of it that way.”

Another student inquired, “How do you come up with all that music?” Giacchino laughed, “They made me! The trick is, always make sure the job you take is something that will inspire you.”

Every student at Providencia Elementary School receives weekly music education throughout the school year through the ETM-LA program. “This type of program would not be possible in this fiscal climate without incredible partners”, said Burbank Unified School Distict Arts Coordinator Peggy Flynn. Providencia principal Jennifer Culbertson added, “The entire Providencia community is so grateful to Burbank Arts For All, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, and Education Through Music-LA, for this amazing music program.  Our students will not soon forget the time they spent with Mr. Giacchino — and neither will I.”

Clips from some of Michael Giacchino movie work had the full attention of 4th and 5th graders at Providencia Elementary School. ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Giacchino has long been an advocate for the importance of music in a child’s education. Executive Director of ETM-LA, Victoria Lanier shared, “We are grateful to Michael for championing our mission. All kids out there deserve to have music be a real and lasting part of their development and lives.” On a recent Good Morning America interview, Giacchinol asserted, “Music and art aren’t these frivolous extras that you get by going to school. They’re a necessity. They’re actually as big a part of learning as math and science.” From the smiles and joy on the kids’ faces, Giacchino’s visit was an inspiration to the kids at Providencia. Mission accomplished.

Michael Giacchino, Academy Award-Winning Composer, poses with future award winners at Burbank’s Providencia Elementary School ( Photo by Ross A. Benson)


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