NewsBlog Editorâ€™s Note: This post is the fifth of a series written by CMIE Guided Intern Hermann Hudde, as part of the documentation for Huddeâ€™s CMIE Guided Internship. See other posts in this series here.
Project STEP was created in 1982 in answer to the need for including minorities or other cultural communities that do not have access to the classical music world. According to its home page history, â€ Project STEP (String Training and Educational Program) identifies musically talented Black and Latino students and provides them with a comprehensive music training program, the primary goal of which is to prepare them to compete and succeed in the challenging, rewarding world of classical music. The program was spearheaded 25 years ago by the Boston Symphony Orchestra as a means of addressing the under-representation of Blacks and Latinos in orchestras. The founders’ idea was to identify and train minority students who did not have ready access to the best available training. Today the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the New England Conservatory, and the Boston University School of Music support Project STEP with cash contributions and in-kind donations of space and services, and as advisors on our Board of Directors.â€
The program provides music instructions by very talented teachers to African-American and Latin-American children and youth in order to generate diversity among the orchestraâ€™s members. The program has several different levels:
- Focus: This beginning level is divided into Sections I and II. During the first section children start having recorder lessons and receive instructions in the fundamentalâ€™s of music. During Section II, the children begins learning violin, viola, cello and bass.
- Pre-Training Division: In this level the children continue receiving instrumental lessons, but at the same time instruction in chamber music and orchestra is added. At the same time they are required to participate in community concerts, attend concerts, write reports, and take part in clinics and master classes. Academic excellence at school is also required.
- Training Division: Continuation of the former division.
- Pre-College Division: At this final level, the students are required to play exams to finish the program.
According to the information on the PS homepage, the students participate in the following suggested music education program:
- Weekly private lessons
- Weekly class instruction in music theory and solfege
- For advanced students, piano lessons may substitute for theory classes
- Two master classes each season taught by established artists
- Chamber music coaching
- Student recitals
- Orchestral music coaching
- Opportunity to attend numerous performances each year by established artists and ensembles
- Summer music study
- Parent Council with monthly meetings
- Continuing guidance into the conservatory / university level and beyond
- Low-interest loans available for the purchase of musical instruments after graduation.