Paying it forward to the next generation

By Kate Cooper

Today’s blog is written by Kate Cooper, Schubert Club’s Director of Education and Museum. 

It is a joy and an honor to manage Schubert Club’s Education programs which nurture and support the dreams, ambitions, and emerging talents of music students across the five-state area.

Schubert Club generously provides scholarships and grants through three programs, including the annual Bruce P. Carlson Student Scholarship program—originating in 1922. In that year, three winners, representing Voice, Violin, and Piano, each received $150. In 2018 approximately 220 students will participate in fourteen different categories, representing Strings, Piano, Voice, Brass, Woodwinds, Guitar, and Organ. Schubert Club will award $2000 and $1500 prizes to first and second place winners in every category—which includes aspiring artists from age 12 to 30.

Many student competitors have truly been “musicians on the rise,” achieving significant musical and other career accomplishments. Pianist Celius Dougherty, guitarist Sharon Isbin, television commentator Gretchen Carlson, and this season’s International Artist Series vocal star Clara Osowski are a few examples of our winners’ post-competition success.

Competitions like ours afford students a chance to test their skills, network with fellow musicians, and discover how they measure up to their peers. It asks them to rise to a sense of occasion and push themselves to achieve more. Competition motivates a student to strive for accuracy, intonation, and musical interpretation in a more detailed way than for a concert. Also, students receive comments from expert musicians in their specific instrument category—contributing to their musical growth.

Students who do not receive monetary awards through the scholarship competition have another opportunity for support through the Schubert Club’s Special Music Grants program. Each year Schubert Club offers grants averaging $500 each to serious, talented music students in need of financial assistance for music education projects such as summer camps, workshops, and other unique and innovative projects which further musical creativity and development. One of the unique projects from last season was developed by a university student as a service mission in Tanzania, Africa. The grant recipient not only gave her time as a volunteer clarinet teacher in the village schools, she also advocated for—and planted— African Blackwood trees (which clarinets are made from) in this ideal climate.

It’s very important to Schubert Club that Special Music Grants also be designated for Twin Cities community programs for high-potential students who do not have the resources available to participate in special study opportunities. Organizations we were pleased to partner with for these funds included Walker West, GTCYS’s Harmony program, ARTS-Us, and our own Project CHEER. Over fifteen students from these programs were able to participate in summer music programs because of the Schubert Club’s funding.

Lastly, each year, in partnership with Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, a free one-day workshop for students age 12–18 gives classical pianists an opportunity to explore the world of jazz, and to further the skills of piano students who have begun to play jazz. Special scholarships endowed by the families of Marie Froehlich, Jane Matteson, and David Paulus are offered to three students to continue their jazz studies privately with a local Jazz teacher.

We believe strongly in the mission to expand access and opportunity to music education for students, and it is very gratifying to be a part of this generous organization that provides over $50,000 annually to support the next generation of music-making!