A child’s mind is a terrible thing to waste, so the saying goes, and in an effort to not leave any child behind, school systems are moving toward centralized curriculums and standards.
But what room does the educational emphasis on test scores and measurable outcomes leave for artistic programs, particularly music, that many still believe are just as important as math and reading for a child’s education and development?
This is the question cellist Shannon Snapp of Local 9-535 (Boston, MA) and Local 300 (Lowell, MA) hopes to answer through her commitment to providing music programs to local schools. “Schools are challenged to teach to the test. So many programs that are considered ‘superfluous’ have been cut because of budget shortfalls, and it’s really unfortunate for the children,” Snapp explains.
Snapp and pianist Sarah Steinhardt, also of Local 9-535, created the Alcyon Chamber Ensemble in the spring of 2005 in an effort to share their passion for chamber music with school children. The program was jump-started by the birthday of Mozart and appropriately tided “Happy 250th Anniversary, Wolfgang!”
The program is sponsored by the Federation’s Music Performance Fund (MPF), along with other patrons who share an affection for the arts and understand the importance of arts education.
School music programs have been waning in recent years due to the dwindling budget, which is why the MPF is dedicating 35% of available funds for in-school programming. The MPF further states that it co-sponsors programs that not only present live music to children but also incorporate historic, instrumental, and theoretical workshops for them. Through the increased efforts of the MPF, Snapp has been able to go to many Boston-area schools and expose students to the joys of live chamber music.