The BW Community Arts School has a long history of working with many foundation partners who make our work possible. Among those is the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, who, for many years, has enabled CAS to provide scholarships to Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) students to attend our summer arts programs.
With CMSD students transitioning to online learning, there was a growing concern that students would lose their technical skills and/or simply give up playing their instrument without being able to meet in an ensemble setting. This could have a severe impact on school music ensembles once in-person instruction resumed. Additionally, CMSD music educators have shared that their time and capacity to provide one-on-one private lessons for all of their students is limited.
CAS saw this as an opportunity to build upon our already strong relationship with CMSD. Our goal was to supplement their existing music curriculum and help keep these talented students connected to their instrument. As a result, a plan was created to offer year-round, 30-minute virtual private lessons, to students at Campus International School. Through an application process that included a recommendation by their music teacher, 45 students were selected to participate. During the fall and spring semesters, these students are receiving 10, 30-minute lessons. During summer vacation, students are set to receive 8 private lessons.
Two such examples of the program’s success so far, are Quincy and Zaria Boyd. While Quincy (12) takes alto saxophone and Zaria (10) cello, both started private lessons through the program over the summer. Their mom, Chanell, is happy with the growth she has seen in her children. “It has definitely had an impact on them being more responsible. Because I typically am working during their lesson times, they have had to keep up with the links to log on and make sure they’re ready on time. In the beginning it was kind of rough because we had technical issues with the internet, so they had to learn how to troubleshoot on their own. It definitely has helped them as far as being a little bit more independent and responsible.”
BW CAS Cello instructor Katie Morrow agrees. “Zaria’s bow broke several weeks ago, which has made one of our goals relating to her bow hold harder to focus on. However, it has allowed us to spend more time on reading and music theory. She has improved at using this knowledge to read and play music on her own (pizzicato and singing note names). She also impressed me last week by reciting her memorized key signatures: C, G, D & A and by telling me what accidentals are in each key.”
Quincy enjoys his lessons with BW CAS saxophone instructor Dr. Sean Murphy. “I like him. He makes it fun to do so we don’t just sit there and play. A lot of time we might do a fun game or copy each other or something like that.”
These students are bright and have aspirations to match. Neither plan to pursue music as a career – Quincy plans to be an engineer and Zaria also has interest in the sciences – but both see music as an outlet in their future. “When I get older, I want to be an engineer and engineering has a lot of math and I’m really good at it. I would like to keep doing music because I do want to at least know some songs so I can play at special occasions.” Zaria agrees, “I wouldn’t want music as my career, but I would keep on playing it once in a while, keep on pulling it out and learning new songs.”
With the birth of this program a success, CAS is continuing to find new ways to reach more families and encourage these students to connect with the arts for life.
To learn more about funding for Baldwin Wallace Community Arts School, visit https://bwcommunityarts.bw.edu/about/funders-partners/.