Paying it forward to the next generation

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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!

Join us for the first ever “First Thursday” in the Schubert Club Museum

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Today’s blog post is by Education & Museum Director, Kate Cooper. 

So often I hear from visitors of the Schubert Club Museum how surprised they are that we have such an impressive collection of historical music instruments and original manuscripts in addition to the opportunities they have to interact with items in the collection, adding to a memorable hands-on experience. The phrase “….a hidden gem in the Twin Cities” is relayed to me almost weekly.

Since the opening of our galleries on the 2nd floor of Landmark Center, the Museum has been open to the public weekday afternoons from Noon-4 pm in addition to Sunday afternoons. We feel like there is a segment of the Twin Cities population that has been missing out on this “hidden gem” primarily because it is not accessible during hours that are convenient to them. Those visitors who work 9-5 during the week and have other priorities on Sundays really never get the opportunity to visit!

Thus, we are thrilled to announce extended hours in the museum on the first Thursday of every month from 4-8 pm beginning October 5. We hope to be more accessible to the daytime working crowd; we are trying to be more symbiotic with times that people are heading or staying downtown with social and entertainment plans; and we are designating this one evening to offer opportunities separate from school and other public daytime tour crowds.

In addition to the engaging permanent collection, visitors can experience during these extended hours: guided tours, live demonstrations, fun interactive music-making, trivia contests with opportunities to win tickets for Schubert Club performances. And while exploring, visitors 21+ can enjoy a glass of wine along with appetizers and other refreshments for all! 

We hope to see visitors returning several late evenings throughout the year. There will always be something new to see, hear and experience and unique fascinating facts about music and history to learn.  

This first late evening in October will feature our favorite keyboard technician and research specialist, Steve Misener, who will demonstrate cool things and tell fascinating stories about three 18th and 19th century English keyboards.  The first time I saw Steve “dissect” a keyboard I was completely captivated by the intricacies of these magnificent instruments and how the parts all work together to produce their beautiful sounds. Steve also has a gift for remembering and sharing the fascinating stories behind these instruments and their makers.

In addition, we will have keyboardist Donald Livingston compare two of our 18th and 19th century keyboard replicas, the way they work, the musicians who played them, and the most famous pieces relevant to each. Visitors will have an opportunity to plunk out few notes of their own on these instruments as well.

This fun and fact-filled evening of short segments of music talks and demonstrations will enlighten and entertain! It will be a very relaxed atmosphere and there’s no pressure to take part in anything if you’d happily just explore the galleries and enjoy a glass of wine with friends. There will be plenty of joyful sounds filling the galleries – from visitors trying their hand at Indonesian gamelan music, a historic music box playing a beautiful tune filled with chiming bells, or Donald performing a charming Baroque piece on an 18th century French harpsichord replica. Be sure to mark your first Thursday evenings on the calendar, and I’ll look forward to seeing you in the galleries!