The NAMM Foundation Grantee Spotlight: Music Haven
The NAMM Foundation is proud to announce the addition of a new grantee, Music Haven. The organization, based out of New Haven, Connecticut, “empowers and connects young people through exceptional tuition-free music education, mentoring, and performance by our resident musicians” and is striving to give “all kids a chance to play.”
Music Haven promotes learning opportunities for new music students by partnering them with members of the resident ensemble, the Haven String Quartet. Starting as early as first grade students work with their mentors until they graduate from high school, promoting the relationship between teacher and student and emphasizing the connections between young musicians. In addition to honing their craft, the flourishing musicians also develop other skills including teamwork, communication through music, the foundations for building community, and the experiences associated with collective struggle and success.
Mandi Jackson, Executive Director for Music Haven, recently sat down with us to discuss The NAMM Foundation grant and its impact on the initiatives set forth by the organization.
What was the inspiration for Music Haven?
Music Haven started with the idea that there was a different way to be a classical musician - a different way to be a professional string quartet. A way that was not only more connected to the community but driven by the needs of the community for both access to music education and performance, but also safe and supportive spaces for young people to learn, grow, and play together. It's grounded in an understanding of all of the lessons chamber music can teach all of us: how to listen to each other, carry our own part, depend on others and be someone others can depend on, communicate in many different ways, and how we can create beautiful things together if we do all of these things. In a city that was, and still is, very segregated by race and class, and in which low-income neighborhoods have traditionally been both economically and geographically isolated from the arts, Music Haven began as a way to bring chamber music into the community, and provide the opportunity for young people to not only experience live music performance, but also have the opportunity to make music of their own.
Is there a specific program or focus that will be utilizing this grant?
The grant from The NAMM Foundation will support our weekly one-on-one lessons program, enabling each Music Haven student to study with and be mentored by one of our full-time professional, conservatory-trained musicians. The long-term relationship between student and teacher (and between a student's teacher and the whole family) is the foundation of our program's success. The local market rate for one-on-one string instruction in New Haven is as much as $80/hr, which is why the opportunity to play a string instrument is out of reach for most New Haven kids. Few schools offer the opportunity to play string instruments, and the few that do are not able to provide one-on-one lessons. Music Haven is the only organization in the entire region that provides 100% free one-on-one instruction for students from low-income families, and this grant from The NAMM Foundation makes that possible.
Music Haven estimates that their tuition-free program would cost students and their families roughly $7,000 per year. In a community where the median average household income is $37,508, learning a string instrument is understandably out of reach for many children. Since its inception in 2006, Music Haven has grown from providing opportunities to roughly 20 students, to now partnering with 80 aspiring musicians.
Music Haven’s success can be measured in a multitude of ways, but their latest impact report provides an ideal picture of how they are impacting the lives of students. You can view the impact report by visiting https://static1.squarespace.com/static/57ed69815016e1e5a5b889aa/t/5d26381323416600016a70e1/1562785822350/2019EVALREPORT_FINAL.pdf.
For more information about Music Haven please visit https://www.musichavenct.org/ and for a complete list of all The NAMM Foundation grantees please visit https://www.nammfoundation.org/articles/2019-08-15/namm-foundation-announces-675000-grants-28-music-making-programs.