By Eartha Watts- Hicks
On Tuesday, September 13th, VH1 Save The Music sponsored the “Master Class” at Harlem’s own Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change.
There, they presented the learning institution with a donation of $35,000 to supply the school’s music program with 36 string instruments (violins, cellos, and violas).
When children are eager and learning how to play an instrument, this opens the door for other opportunities. Music instruction has been known to increase performance in science and in mathematics. Public school administrators must make allocations from a tight budget. Principle Sean Davenport was adamant about including music as part of the core curriculum at Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change. When asked why, he plainly states, “We’re here in Harlem, the Mecca of art and culture, home of the Harlem Renaissance. I could not have these children here and not expose them to the arts.”
Students were treated to a performance led by professional cellist Patrice Jackson, the Juilliard and Yale School of Music graduate. One selection, a blend of classical cello and hip hop percussions, was met with roughly 50 children, nodding in enjoyment. Ms. Jackson was also accompanied by the student’s very own music teacher Kathrine Dennis, an accomplished classical violinist in her own right. Her extensive background as a classical violinist, experience in music theory and instruction, passion for performance, and her resourcefulness made her a perfect fit for the school. It was Ms. Dennis who proactively reached out to VH1 Save The Music.
With a hefty $75,000 donation from TYLENOL®, VH1 Save The Music started funding the music program at Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change a year ago for youth grades 6 to 12. So far, it’s proved to be an important tool in helping the students feel empowered and successful. Through the program, administrators have seen true passion brought out in these students, who generally would not have access to instruments or music instruction.
“Music education is important but has been dissipating. VH1 Save The Music has acquired other sponsors and donations besides TYLENOL® to support our efforts all across the country,” says ChihoFeindler, grantee and compliance director at the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. “With those funds, our foundation has helped foster a passion for music instruction in Harlem, Chicago, the greater New Orleans, in Madison, WI, and Phoenix, AZ. A Fall City, NE school received a piano grant, so has the St. John the Baptist School District in Florida. And VH1 Save The Music was able to fund the 55 counties that represent the entire state of West Virginia.
VH1 Save The Music believes everyone, young and old, should have the opportunity to pursue their passion. In honor of the TYLENOL® campaign #WhatMovesMe, that celebrates musicians suffering from arthritis whose love for music drives them to play (despite their physical condition), the brand has donated $75,000 to VH1 Save The Music. This generous donation helps the next generation discover a passion for music, like the kids at Thurgood Marshall Academy.
Additionally, as part of TYLENOL #WhatMovesMe Campaign the brand has also engaged a variety of passionate musicians—who are arthritis sufferers—to inspire others to do what they love, despite obstacles. Take a look: https://youtu.be/Sh2JOgZXMmI
Photo credit: 1) Professional cellist, Patrice Jackson, leads a VH1 Save The Music “Master Class”. 2) VH1 Save the Music and professional cellist, Patrice Jackson. 3) The Asian lady is Chiho of VH1. 4) Thurgood Marshall Academy principal Sean Davenport.