The Saint Lucia School of Music (SLSM) has received a grant from the Windsong Foundation (A US-based philanthropic organization) to assist in the delivery of a music project. As a result, 50 youth-at risk from 25 schools have been granted full-tuition scholarships to attend intensive orchestral/choral training, three days per week, at the School’s Main Campus at Tapion.
The project, “The System of Youth Orchestras and Choirs”, was also launched as part of a series of activities to coincide with the school’s 30th anniversary and is being delivered by a highly trained faculty of the SLSM supported by young mentors and teacher-trainees.
This after-school project, officially launched last Saturday (23rd June), has a strong social inclusion focus and will use music as a transformative tool to provide greater opportunities to vulnerable children between the ages of 8-15 years of age.
It builds on the school’s past successes in this area and the project is intended to use a highly-structured environment to provide young participants with a foundation in music, along with other transferable skills that will help prepare them to be the next generation of mentors, leaders and positive contributors to the general society.
The scholarships include transportation and access to orchestral instruments for the duration of the grant period and the new recruits will join Music School students who have access to an integrated foundation in the practice of music using an adapted “El Sistema” model.
Within the scope of the project, there is an additional component for music with emphasis on special needs.
It is the school’s intention to train music teachers in ‘special needs’, along with several differently abled students. The trained teachers will also build capacity and sustainability of this component of the program.
In identifying and selecting the students who met the strict criteria, the SLSM team worked closely with the Ministry of Education, through the relevant District Education Officers, Principals and Music Teachers.
Over 50 schools participated in a very competitive application and selection process.
Due to the prohibitive cost of return transportation and anticipated lengthy commute times, it was not possible to extend scholarships to students who reside outside of the four (4) educational districts for this phase.
The School of Music hopes, however, that with increased public/private sector support it will be able to extend its reach to a greater number of students island-wide.
This successful launch, it is hoped, will further assist the SLSM in its efforts to attract support for its important work.
The Saint Lucia School of Music is an established national music institution with a history of three decades in the field of music education.
Over the years it gained significant experience in successfully executing social inclusion music programmes by partnering with various public and private sector partners and other agencies, including the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Government of Saint Lucia, with the support of private sector partners.
Many past students have excelled both academically and musically, some having gone on to become mentors, trainee teachers, celebrated performers, or furthered their music training overseas. (SLSM)