A new professional chapter begins for me this week. This year, while continuing in my role directing NEC's Sistema Fellowship Resource Center, I also have the exciting opportunity to pilot several courses through NEC’s School of Continuing Education, starting with this one about designing community-based residencies that are both artistically rewarding and financially sustainable.
This new course--offered both at NEC and in Providence--is built on curriculum that was specifically created for the Sistema Fellows Program, an intensive one-year immersion at the intersection of music education, nonprofits, leadership, and social change. Over five years, that curriculum was improved upon and refined, responding to feedback from faculty and the Fellows themselves. I was hired as Program Director in time to work with the 4th and 5th classes of Fellows.
But this course is also built on the many one-on-one conversations that I have had with professional musicians over the past fifteen years, especially during my time at Community MusicWorks. What if we tried this? How come it didn't work? Why not do it this way instead? If only there was a way to bundle up all of the questioning, dreaming, and strategizing into something that could be delivered efficiently, made widely accessible, and become repeatable...
My hope is that this course is--or soon will become--a vehicle that will allow musicians of all stripes to think passionately and proactively about shaping careers of their choosing within a community context. I couldn't be more excited to get underway with this next chapter!
Sharing excerpts of the learning happening in "Building a Community-Based Residency"