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Black Music Ensemble

For the past four years, the East High School Black Music Ensemble has provided free, high-quality extracurricular education in African-American music and the oral tradition to students at Madison East High School.

This Black Music Ensemble program, honed under mentorship from NEA Jazz Master Richard Davis, engages both seasoned and emerging student musicians in high level music workshops, practices and performances. The program is unique in the district for its emphasis on student leadership, "by ear" playing and the African-American musical tradition, Furthermore, the program is aimed at increasing music participation among underrepresented groups, and has already had success in bringing students into music programming who might otherwise be left out.

This coming year, I will be expanding the program to at least two other Madison schools. This expansion will be supported in part by a grant from the Madison Arts Commission, which will cover my time and some materials.

However, I'd like to have some money available to pay one of the recent graduates of the East High program to help me administer the group.

This would fit in with the mission of the Black Music Ensemble by 1) increasing the diversity of instructors in the group and in the district, 2) reinforcing the emphasis on peer-to-peer learning that characterizes the group and 3) providing an avenue for further musical and social education for the East High graduate, who would learn through teaching others.

Moreover, it makes sense from a logistical standpoint. I'm currently the sole instructor and will need help as the program expands; also, the program is highly unique and it would be difficult to bring in a teacher who had not been through the program themselves.

For these reasons, I would absolutely love to have the means the bring on one of my former students as colleagues in spreading this highly successful program.

Funded by Madison, WI (Inactive) (September 2018)