Parish-Based Music Schools Initiative

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As music education programs in public schools face funding challenges across the U.S., many congregations are working to fill the void in their communities by offering innovative programs that provide individual or group music lessons for local children. Such initiatives expand vital outreach and leverage existing resources, such as facilities, personnel, and their inherent role as cultural leaders in their communities. They can also generate an additional revenue stream for the church. They provide a welcome to thousands who do not have easy access to music education and create vibrant communities of artists and teachers. These parish-based music schools exist all around the country, but are relatively unknown.

For all these reasons, in fall 2015 the ISM launched a multi-year project to highlight and advocate for ways that parishes can offer much-needed music education in their communities.

The first phase of the initiative collects information about existing programs for the sake of creating a network of like-minded people and facilitating the exchange of ideas. Additionally, the ISM is presenting workshops around the country to introduce the concept to congregation leaders and to teach them how to begin a school/program or strengthen one they may already operate. The first workshop was held at Yale in October, 2015.

Future phases will share additional resources useful to such programs and provide continuing training to their leaders.