News / USA

Young Musicians Try to Make it in Real World

Program grooms artists to be both teachers and entrepreneurs

Academy fellow Nathan Schram works with students in New York.
Academy fellow Nathan Schram works with students in New York.

Multimedia

Audio

How does a young classical musician, fresh out of school, navigate the tricky and somewhat limited career options available? Two of the most prestigious arts organizations in New York City have come up with an answer. Their program suggests talent alone isn’t enough - musicians must be teachers and entrepreneurs, too.

"How do we deliver, to the best young musicians, a skill set that will enable them to define their own lives as musicians, around what their own talent is? You know, rather than having to say, 'Aah, I’m going to have to apply for that job or I’m going to have to apply for that job, because that, I think is the box that will enable me to earn a living as a musician,'" says Carnegie Hall executive director Clive Gillinson. "We’re saying, you’ve actually got the capacity to define your own life."

The idea for The Academy began a few years ago over a meal. Gillinson and Juilliard School president Joseph Polisi were talking about the challenges young classical musicians face today. The two designed a program they hope will produce not only great musicians but also great communicators.

The Academy

Every two years, they select 20 fellows who each receive a stipend of $25,000 a year, health insurance, and access to the best teachers and coaches at Juilliard. They work three days a week, 30 weeks a year, on the very highest musical level - performing on one of Carnegie’s stages with artists like conductor Sir Simon Rattle - and on the most basic musical level - teaching in New York City public schools.

One of the fellows beginning the program is Nathan Schram, a genial 23-year-old viola player. He got a music degree at Indiana University in 2008, and received an e-mail last year inviting him to audition for the Academy.

"I was thrilled. It sounded great," says Schram. "It sounded like it was going to help me communicate better with audiences. I was going to find a newer audience. I was going to help people that might otherwise not be able to experience this music and maybe I could learn something from them, too. And now I’m here. Day One."

Off to school

Day One for Schram is in mid-October at P.S. 75, an elementary school in Bushwick, an immigrant and working class neighborhood in Brooklyn.

Zelman Bokser teaches violin there. "You know, I think you would describe this school as under-resourced and it’s not a very high socio-economic neighborhood."

But even with limited resources, Bokser has created a vibrant music program - in a school of 650 students, he’s teaching 83 of them to play the violin.

"What’s amazing is that these kids are competitive with kids in any other public school in the city, in this program. So, these kids have played in Carnegie Hall and at Lincoln Center, at the Apollo Theatre and lots of other places. And there are very few schools that have had those opportunities. So, we’re really lucky."

And Bokser says they’re really lucky now to have a professional musician in their midst. Bokser divides the class in half and has Schram help with tuning the violins and helping with musical exercises. As the class winds down, Schram brings out his viola, to demonstrate.

A month later, Schram is back. He’s hatched a plan to do some improvisations with Bokser.

"I’m trying to explain to them that music can also have character, music can describe people, it can be a character in itself. And just trying to develop on their understanding of music and what’s possible they can do with it."

Providing inspiration

So, the third and fourth grade beginning class decides Schram should improvise a piece that expresses who he is. When Schram and Bokser begin to play, fourth graders Julissa Guzman and Calista Conde are impressed.

"They just popped it up in their mind," say Julissa. "I don’t think they didn’t even rehearse for that."

And, Calista finds herself inspired. "When I am in fifth grade, I would like to play in Carnegie Hall and hear all the people clap, just for me."

Schram says working with the kids has been inspiring for him, too.

"You know, the kids are wonderful. I’m amazed at how well-behaved they are, how excited they are about music and, just, they’re very receptive; and if someone doesn’t get something the first time, they’ll get it the second. I mean, it’s just, you see, I didn’t expect to have such quick results."

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid