JKCF Grantee Provides Music to Those Who Need it Most
PBS recently spotlighted one of our grantees doing some great work bringing quality music instruction to children in Los Angeles.
Serving 2,000 plus students, The Harmony Project reaches students who otherwise would not have access to music education or instruments, and we are proud to support them towards that end. The organization offers free classes and rehearsals, up to five hours a week year round, for students in areas where education cuts have forced the removal of important music programs. The Foundation supports the Academy within Harmony Project, which provides more intensive music education to Harmony students who demonstrate exceptional talent, character, drive, and musicianship. The Academy’s comprehensive programming includes year-round private lessons, theory and skills classes, chamber music coaching, and access to better quality instruments. For financially struggling families, these resources are free thanks to a grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.
Margaret Martin started Harmony Project back in 2001. After seeing gang members give money to a performing artist on the street, she knew this would be worth more than the trouble to get it going. In fact, she’s seen areas where a typical dropout rate can reach 50 percent turn into a place where 93 percent of her students not only graduated but went to college.
PBS also highlights a new initiative by the Project, collaboration with Northwestern University’s Dr. Nina Kraus. The neurobiologist is conducting research for the organization, finding a link between the brain and auditory learning. While there are theories linking musical practice and ability to responsiveness, hearing, focus and the nervous system, Kraus is finding stronger evidence than has been previously discovered.