BCM To Provide Free Music Education
01.08.2007—Berklee College of Music (BCM) announced last week that it's entered into partnerships with community groups across the country to provide music education free of charge to young, "underserved" students. The new initiative is a drastic expansion of BCM's City Music, a program serving Boston-area students. Pilot programs are set to launch in March in Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Apple and trade group NAMM will be technology partners in the pilot program.
The program incorporates BCM's Web-based learning and real-time instruction technologies. The program will launch with 200 students at the Experience Music Project in Seattle; A Place Called Home and Sound Art in Los Angeles; eSharp Music in Washington, D.C.; and the Mount Airy Cultural Center in Philadelphia. Apple will provide server support and access to iTunes University; NAMM (an association of music products manufacturers) will provide students with instruments and equipment. BCM will supply the Web-based component, which includes an online curriculum and learning tools, as well as real-time instruction with alumni teachers, who are trained and certified in Boston, to provide instrumental, vocal and ensemble instruction and to guide students through the online materials. Webcasting and videoconferencing technologies will also provide "face to face interaction between City Music Network students at partner sites as well as with faculty and students at Berklee's Boston campus," according to BCM.
BCM says it's investing $1 million in start-up costs for the pilot programs and will raise another $10 million to support scholarships for the programs. Students who complete the coursework will be allowed to audition for scholarships to BCM's Boston campus for five-week summer programs and undergraduate study.
Over the next three to five years, the program will be expanded to 50 partner sites in the United States. To date, some 1,300 inner-city middle- and high-school students in the Boston area have received instruction from BCM and have been awarded more than $5 million in scholarships.
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