Project CHEER is a Schubert Club program that has been operating at the Hallie Q. Brown/Martin Luther King Center since 1969. Project CHEER’s activities grew out of a Schubert Club program that started in 1911 at the West Side Neighborhood House. Project CHEER acquired its name and its focus from Prentice Harris, former music director at the Hallie Q. Brown Center, who was the program’s first director. 

What Does Project CHEER Offer?

Project CHEER offers free piano, guitar, and rhythm lessons to students who are not otherwise able to prioritize private music instruction.

Lessons are 15 minutes long, and usually shared between two students. Students are able to take two lessons on each instrument a week. Students are also welcome to practice on our extra keyboards before or after their scheduled lessons. Other music classes are occasionally available throughout the year.

What is the Schedule?

We offer three sessions throughout the year: September-December, January-May, and June-July. Our weekly teaching hours are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 2-6pm at Hallie Q. Brown Center.

What is the Cost?

Project CHEER’s music lessons are free! There is a registration fee of five dollars, which covers all students in a family.

Who Can Enroll?

Project CHEER serves students who would not otherwise prioritize private music instruction. Students must be in at least first grade to enroll. Students may take classes through twelfth grade.

How Can I Register or Get More Information?

Registration for our Winter/Spring 2022 Session will be: MONDAY, January 10th from 3pm-5:30pm

In-Person (please be masked and socially distanced) in the hallway right outside Project CHEER space.

Use ONLY the Martin Luther King Rec Center entrance at 271 Mackubin. Registration will be done on a first come first serve basis.

For more information email Joanna at


Attendance is very important to the progress of learning. Please make sure that you make every effort to attend and if you are unable to come, let us know. Please notify us if a student must miss a lesson: email If a student has two unexcused absences, they may be dismissed. Project CHEER will hold regular lessons and classes on the days that Saint Paul Schools have early release.

Scholarships are awarded to students every spring. These scholarships are awarded to students with good attendance, attitude, interest in learning, students who are practicing, and progressing and have overall made a positive impression. This is a monetary scholarship.

Stamps & Prizes will be given to students who have followed these rules:

  • Come to lessons on time
  • Come with clean hands
  • Come with a good attitude
  • Have respect for others taking lessons
  • Do NOT bring food or drinks inside of Project CHEER
  • Practice at home if able

Practice: If there is an instrument at home for the student on which to practice, we will expect regular practice.

cheerHonoring Joanna Kirby

Each year since 2000, Schubert Club has given its An die Musik award to honor a classical music enthusiast whose outstanding dedication and commitment over many years has significantly furthered the work and mission of the Schubert Club.

In 2015, the award was given to Joanna Kirby, who was about to enter her 25th year as Director of Project CHEER. Project Cheer began as an after-school music lesson program in 1969, and has continued to provide free and affordable music tuition in specific St. Paul neighborhoods, continuing a tradition which goes back to 1911.

Joanna is adored and respected by students, families and all involved. Assisted by 2 supporting teachers, Joanna teaches just over 100 kids in piano and guitar.

Funds for this education program are provided by:
Patrick and Aimee Butler Family Foundation
Alice M. O’Brien Foundation
Minnesota State Arts Board