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Aspiring Musicians Program

The MSU Community Music School provides music education and music therapy for people of all ages, abilities, and incomes in metro Detroit. The school’s youth programs teach discipline, leadership, creativity, self-reliance, and entrepreneurialism. As music and the arts disappear from the regular school day, the Community Music School works to preserve music education for Detroit kids.
Michigan Nightlight: What really differentiates this program?
MSU Community Music School-Detroit’s Marketing Representative Jill Woodward: We provide a high-quality, welcoming entry point to learning music that is subsidized, so that no student is turned away for financial reasons. We also loan instruments at no cost, through our LINKS donation program, "Lonely Instruments in Need of Kids." We are unique in that we work with beginners of all ages, from babies to seniors.
What are the keys to success for your program?
An incredible faculty, intimate class sizes, a family atmosphere, lots of laughing. The school is an extension of the university culture, so we embrace the whole family at CMS-Detroit with lots of special events and free learning and enrichment activities.
What existing challenges remain with this program and how do you plan to overcome them?
Fundraising is always our biggest challenge given the community's financial straits. The support has been terrific thus far, but we hope to generate support to meet demand. We offer a service that families really want and need, as demonstrated by the exponential growth of our student body each year. We continue to share our incredible stories with donors about how music changes lives, and can how it opens new doors in a powerful way.
We offer a service that families really want and need, as demonstrated by the exponential growth of our student body each year.

How do you innovate programming? Where do the ideas come from? How do you know if they are going to work?
We are especially innovative in the way our music curriculum is directly linked to teaching life skills. Ideas come from our expert faculty, our Community Advisory Board made up of Detroit's leading music educators, and from the students themselves through extensive surveys throughout the learning process. We evaluate all feedback through our specialized researchers at MSU and adjust our knowledge base accordingly. Importantly, we try new things each year.
How does your program address issues of economic, educational, or racial equity?  
It is our mission to bring music to underserved and at-risk populations. We spend a great deal of time going out into the
It is our mission to bring music to underserved and at-risk populations.
community to speak with people and groups who might not know about us, or who might have financial or other barriers preventing their participation. Our extensive community partnerships reflect our activities at schools, senior centers, The Children's Center, Focus: Hope, Coalition for Temporary Shelter (COTS), Southwest Solutions, and many others. 
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  • MSU Community Music School-Detroit
    The Michigan State University Community Music School (CMS), the outreach arm of the MSU College of Music, works to offer music, and its inherent possibilities, to all the community regardless of age, ability, or income. In two locations, CMS offers ...


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