Building Musical Tomorrows

By on 21 January, 2012 in Art, City Living, Fun, High 5 Productions, Schools with 1 Comment

Editors’ Note: Once in a while, an idea comes along that is so good, we just have to devote a guest post to it. The Montgomery Music Project is one such idea. The following was written by MMP founder Laura Usiskin and is meant to accompany the two brief videos featured here. Thanks to the good folks of High Five Productions for tipping us off to this fantastic project and for making the videos you see here:

Playing a musical instrument involves nearly all of our intelligences, senses, abilities, and talents. Musicians move their bodies to coordinate their instruments; use math to count rhythms in time; work with others in ensembles; listen intently to the sounds they are making; manipulate those sounds to make audiences cry, gasp, smile, and sit on the edge of their seats; discipline themselves to practice daily; take care of their instruments, learn to read a new symbolic language; and much more — not to mention relish in the beauty and wonder of one of humankind’s most astounding art forms. If playing an instrument is such a wonderful all-encompassing experience and educational tool, why don’t all children have the opportunity to experience it? What other activity is so comprehensive? Doesn’t it seem like every child should have access to music at a young age?

There are several reasons why many children do not have the opportunity to experience music, most of them involving cost and a lack of understanding of the music’s intrinsic value. However, because I believe in the wonder and power of music, I started the Montgomery Music Project, a program dedicated to bringing high-quality, affordable music instruction to Montgomery and the surrounding River Region.

MMP sends first-rate teachers to elementary schools offering onsite music instruction on the violin, viola, and cello three afternoons a week. On Saturdays, the students from all the schools meet together for further instruction, totaling four days of instruction a week for each child. All instruments and necessary supplies are provided as part of the program. In addition, all students are eligible for need-based scholarships covering up to 95% of the costs of the program. That way, every child has the opportunity to experience the power of music.

In this inaugural 2011-12 school year, MMP has over 40 children signed up for the program. Most of these children would never have been able to afford music lessons without MMP. They also come from vastly different backgrounds – private schools, public schools, east and west sides of town, varying ethnic groups – resulting in disparate communities uniting under the umbrella of the arts. Not only have our students already shown amazing progress in both their musical abilities and overall development, they have also already performed on stage in front of hundreds of people! MMP is going so well that we plan to partner with an additional school next year, meaning more children will benefit from the powers of music.

For more information about MMP, including biographies of its world-class teachers, visit www.montgomerymusicproject.org.

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  1. Thanks for including this great program in your Montgomery Blog. We are so fortunate to have a program like this and we look forward to posting more happenings around our town soon!

    Barrett Bailey
    Jon Cook
    (High 5 Productions) http://www.high5productions.com

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