ROCHESTER, N.Y.—Many of the students in the Rochester City School District (RCSD) with the potential, interest and motivation to pursue advanced musical studies have limited financial means for private music lessons. Since 1997, Eastman Pathways—a collaborative partnership between the RCSD and the Eastman School of Music—has helped to fill this community need by offering quality music education to promising city youth who would otherwise not have the financial means to pursue music.
Approximately 70 RCSD students each year receive scholarship aid to pursue music studies at little or no cost through Eastman Community Music School. RCSD music teachers recommend outstanding fourth through tenth grade students who would benefit from Pathways. Interested students compete in an audition, and students who are accepted attend an orientation. In addition to weekly lessons on an instrument or voice, Pathways students follow their own path—thus the name “Pathways”—by enrolling in a wide variety of different courses depending on their ages, interests and ability levels.
As part of Pathway’s performance requirement, students must perform on at least one regularly scheduled Saturday recital. The next recital is set for Saturday, May 6 at 12:40 p.m. in Eastman’s new street level storefront rehearsal/recital space, One Messinger Hall, 10 Gibbs St.
“Pathways is designed to help urban youth realize the potential of their musical talent,” said Jim Undercofler, Eastman’s outgoing dean (newly designated as president of the Philadelphia Orchestra) and the major force behind the creation of Pathways. “Most Pathways students wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to nurture their musical talents.”
Students showing exceptional musical ability and commitment may be eligible to pursue a rigorous course of study to help them prepare for entry into an undergraduate degree program in music, or possibly for admission to Eastman’s collegiate division.
“The musical growth of students who participate in Pathways is remarkable. More and more students are qualifying for area music festivals. Without Pathways, their talents may very well go untapped,” said Wilson Foundation Academy Music Teacher and Pathways Liaison Kevin Coughlin. “Students benefit in other ways as well. They are exposed to more positive outside influences, and they serve as role models for their peers.”
Of the students who graduated last year, several are now studying music as a major in college. Many Eastman Pathways students participate in the Eastman in-house New York State School Music Association Festival held each year in mid-May. Forty-four Pathways students participated in the competition last year, and 37 Pathways students participated in the Monroe County School Music Association Festival last January.
Generous gifts received from individuals, corporations and foundations have enabled Eastman to offer Pathways. In 2003, the Eastman School received a three-year one million dollar grant for Eastman Pathways, awarded under the Talented Students in the Arts Initiative, a collaboration of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. Eastman must raise approximately $140,000 by the end of next month to complete its match of the endowment portion of the grant. Success in meeting this goal will sustain Pathways permanently. For more information about Pathways and ways to give, please visit www.esm.rochester.edu/support/pathways.php.
The Eastman Community Music School offers an array of music instruction including private lessons, classroom studies and hands-on musical training for youth and adults, high-quality pre-collegiate preparation and numerous performance opportunities.
The Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester educates talented musicians from around the world who become leaders and innovators in all fields of music. Established in 1921 by Eastman Kodak Company founder and visionary George Eastman, the School has achieved international prominence through its commitment to the highest standards of artistry, scholarship, and leadership.
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