Project CHEER is a program of the Schubert Club and 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 (Creative Help through Enrichment and Educational Resources) offers free piano and guitar lessons to students who would not otherwise 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: 2-6pm

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?

Students must be in at least first grade to enroll. Students may take classes through 12th grade.

How Can I Register or Get More Information?

2016 Registration Info:  Project CHEER registration for returning families is Tuesday, September 6 from 3-6pm. Open Registration for all families is Wednesday, September 7 from 3-5:30. Registration is done in person in a first come first served basis.

Registration is done in person. Stop by our space during our teaching hours in the Hallie Q. Brown/Martin Luther King Center, 270 Kent Street, Saint Paul, Minnesota.

For more information, please call Joanna Kirby at 651.224.4601, ext. 115 or email


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 or call 224-4601 ext. 115. If a student has two unexcused absences, they may be dismissed.

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

Enrollment: Students must be at least first grade to enroll in Project CHEER

Waiting: Students must wait inside Project CHEER space while waiting for a lesson.

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

Piano and Guitar Lessons Music Class (to include Ear training and keyboard familiarity):

MON 3:15, TUES 4:15, WED 5:00 (15 minute session)

Priority Registration for Returning Families Only

Lessons and classes are free and will be held during the hours of 2:00-6:00 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Students must be at least first grade to enroll in Project CHEER lessons.

Registration will take place at the Martin Luther King Community Center, 270 Kent Street on a First Come First Serve Basis.

Registration must be done in person.

(registration fee of $5.00 per family. Checks made payable to the Schubert Club)

Project CHEER serves students who would not otherwise prioritize private music instruction

There will be books available for purchase at registration

cheerHonoring Joanna Kirby

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

Registration Takes Place Each Quarter:

Clubroom C Hallie Q Brown/Martin Luther King Community Center, 270 Kent Street

Downloadable PDF Documents:

Project CHEER Information & Policy Sheet

Project CHEER will hold regular lessons and classes on the days that Saint Paul Schools have early release.

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