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Making Miracles: TMS and the Berklee Connection

Posted on 03/06/15 by in Fascinating Rhythms

Click Here to Buy Tickets Now!

By Jennifer Abelson

The Music Settlement has served Northeast Ohio with musical education and excellence for more than a century. With a mission of creating “a community where artistic expression belongs to everyone by serving those who seek personal growth throughthe arts,” The Music Settlement enriches the Northeast Ohio community through childhood education, music therapy, and music instruction for all ages, plus outreach to schools and programs throughout the area. Throughout the years, the Music Settlement has continued to grow its programs to anticipate and meet the needs of the greater Cleveland community.

Enter J@MS, a unique jazz program for young adults ages 12-18 at The Music Settlement. Students in the J@MS program study in a half-day immersion program to achieve their musical goals. They work tirelessly in The History of African-American Music, Theory and Improvisation, Small Combo, and Large Ensemble (Big Band) to become better musicians and thinkers.

The Music Settlement’s partner in this amazing teenage jazz program is the equally amazing Berklee City Music Network. The Berklee City Music Network has given over $110,000 in scholarships for students at The Music Settlement to attend the 5-week summer program. In fact, 27 J@MS students, from a wide-range of socio-economic statuses throughout the greater Cleveland area have received full, $5,000 scholarships to attend the 5-week summer program.

Curtis Warner, Executive Director of Berklee City Music, explains that the partnership between Berklee City Music and The Music Settlement is a natural one, built on a mutual admiration of one another. He explains, “The Music Settlement mirrors City Music core values: respect, excellence, access, diversity, and innovation.”

The 5-week summer performance program is a perfect fit for scholarship dollars in Warner’s mind. He states, “The 5-week summer performance program is a program that focuses on high school students. The scholarships that Berklee can provide in this age group, especially those who are possibly from an underserved community or from a challenging lifestyle, introduce them not only to an early campus experience but also to another student that they may not have been able to meet. It can change their perspective about the world.”

Charles “Charlie” Lawrence, President and CEO of The Music Settlement, agrees that music, and J@MS in particular, can bring together student musicians from all areas of Cleveland. He states, “East Cleveland musicians sit next to Shaker Heights musicians, broadening everyone’s horizons. College-bound students sit next to students who before hadn’t thought of college as a possibility. Everyone learns from each other. Everyone becomes stronger musicians and better citizens. The Berklee City Music Network helps makes this possible, year after year, for many school-aged musicians in Ohio.”

The Music Settlement’s partnership with the Berklee City Music Network and the Berklee College of Music goes beyond the J@MS program. Indeed, the partnership has resulted in nearly $1.4 million for students of the Music Settlement to collectively attend the summer program and the college. For example, seven J@MS students received full tuition scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music--that’s $150,000 apiece. Two additional students received $20,000/year to attend the college, and one incredibly talented individual received a Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College--that’s over $218,000 for just one student.

Many of the J@MS musicians choose to attend a music-based college like Berklee College or major in music at a top-notch college. Here’s a short list of where these accomplished musicians have attended college after our nationally renowned program: Berklee College of Music, The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music,Wellesley College,Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and MIT! An impressive list, isn’t it? That’s because J@MS provides the scaffolding and the inspiration for students ages 12-18 to foster their love of music, fine-tune their skills, and provide them with the best instruction in Ohio.

Scores of students apply for this prestigious J@MS program each year. Most of them cannot afford it without financial assistance.

The good news? You can help, and have a great time doing it.

Join us on May 2 for The Music Settlement’s Gala: Fascinating Rhythms, an eclectic musical evening to make a difference in the lives of Northeast Ohioans of all ages. Dine: Feast on three sumptuous courses by Bruce Sternberg of Around Downtown Catering. Snap along: Listen to headliner Bill Pierce, saxophonist and Woodwind Department Chair of Berklee College of Music. Groove to the DJ during our Gala after party. Dig deep, because the silent auction will blow off your socks (not to toot our own horn!). And most of all, join us to give. Give so that increasing numbers of student musicians will, reach and surpass their music goals, go to college, succeed in music, and live meaningful lives suffused with creative expression.

--
Jennifer Abelson is a writer for The Music Settlement

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