The Pianist and the Community: Career Development and Volunteerism

Prerequisites: Upper division and graduate piano majors

Music 518-520, The Pianist and the Community: Career Development and Volunteerism teaches students that community service is a vital aspect of any musical career. The skills of job placement, development of vitas and press kits, and fund raising are taught, In addition students volunteer to teach piano lessons to children at at-risk schools and also perform monthly recitals for the children. 3 credit hours per quarter. Taught as a sequence fall, winter and spring quarters.

The Pianist in the Community is a class designed to explore the development of careers in music and how that development must be structured to include community service. The implementation of careers for students with bachelors and masters degrees in piano performance will be discussed with relation to itemizing and describing all available job markets, preparation of professional vitas and press kits, and exploration of fund-raising techniques. Students will learn that community involvement through service is an important aspect of any career in music. Each student will teach piano lessons to two children from an at-risk school. In addition, the class will prepare monthly lecture-recitals to present to the elementary schools involved.

Method in Which Service-Learning Course Requirements Are Met:

1 . Needed service: Students will work individually with students from at-risk elementary schools in providing piano lessons. In addition the class will work as a group to provide monthly recitals for the schools.

2. Service-subject matter relation: Service activities allow students to use training received in pedagogy classes and private applied lessons. The monthly recitals give performing experience as well training in assembling a group program and relating it to a specific age group.

3. Class contemplates learning through service: Students must keep a daily journal in which each describes the musical goals accomplished at each child’s lesson and the effects of the experience on both teacher and student, Students note social development, emotional control, increased academic skills, improved discipline, etc. gained by each child. In addition, they describe the growth they note in their own teaching and the role it is playing in improving the community. Four times each quarter a group discussion is held during the class period to encourage the sharing of experiences.

4. Credit/Assessment of learning from service: Journals compiled throughout the quarter are worth 25%, successful participation in development and performance in recitals is worth 25%, and concepts involved with the service learning activities and included in the exams are worth 50% of grade.

5. Service recipients evaluate service: Survey forms are being developed so that parents, teachers, principals, and the children at the at-risk schools may participate in a year-end evaluation of the project.

6. Service develops civic education: The journal entries include students’ ideas about how they will combine the demands of career development with community service in the future. Exams will question students as to why music must he used in all societies to improve the lives of people of all economic backgrounds, not just the privileged.

7. Knowledge enhances service: University students will be applying concepts of educational psychology and music
pedagogy. They will be performing for an age group not usually present in concert halls and in informal settings where appreciation and love of music is stressed over admiration of the performers.

8. Learning from other class members: The monthly programs are organized through daily class discussions. The result is a
combination of talking and performing for the children. The ideas of all in the class are combined. Each performance is evaluated by all and ideas for improvement are suggested by class members.


25 % – Students will keep daily journals in which they describe the musical goals achieved at lessons as well as the influence music has on other aspects of the child’s life such as self-discipline, sociality, self-esteem, etc. Each university student should also continually evaluate self-growth observed while involved in the service project.

25% – Participation and assistance in preparing and performing in monthly recitals.

25% – Successfully teaching weekly lessons and preparing the children for their own quarterly recitals.

25% – Exams and class projects.

School: University of Utah
Professor: Bonnie Gritton
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