String Instrument Training for Minority Students

By Project STEP

Posted on 17th December 2010

For 27 years Project STEP has addressed the under-representation of Blacks and Latinos in orchestras and on music faculties. We are committed to changing the make-up of orchestras so that they reflect the diverse cities and towns in which they perform. We begin by identifying kindergarten aged Black and Latino children who have exceptional musical talent, and who would not have the resources for, or access to, a music education that would develop their talent and prepare them for careers in music. The first class covers the basics: melody, rhythm, and pitch. 

Those who are motivated begin the core training program in string instruments, including weekly private lessons, theory classes, and ensembles. The program accelerates as they progress, adding orchestra, piano lessons to give a grounding on the keyboard, master classes, and tickets to several performances each year. There is a practical reason STEP focuses on stringed instruments: they offer more opportunity, since string sections in orchestras and on faculties employ more string players than other instrumentalists.  

Through a comprehensive program that addresses the needs of each individual student, Project STEP offers an unmatched combination of instruction, performance opportunities and career counseling that reflects the unique capabilities of the students in partnership with the staff, faculty, board, and our relationships with the New England Conservatory and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Project STEP currently supports more than 80 students in its Kindergarten program, and 47 students in its intensive training program. Students range from age 5-18 and come from the Greater Boston area, with the majority residing in Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. To date, every Project STEP graduate has gone on to college or conservatory; 61% of our graduates are currently professional musicians.

The Jewish Values found within this cause include:

Arts – Assiyah B’ruach HaKodesh
Diversity - B'Tzelem Elohim
Justice and Fairness - Tzedek
Learning - Limud
Role Model - Mofet L'assiat Chesed
Spirituality - Ruach

Watch a short video about this project - Stepping Toward Higher Education and learn more about Project STEP.

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