The Bridge: Music Learning for Life is an outreach initiative of the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music and the fruition of a life-long dream of Steve Kirby, director of Jazz Studies, who grew up in a tough St Louis neighborhood. The Bridge brings music instruction into under-served neighborhoods, inspiring at-risk students to find positive ways of expressing themselves and helping them feel connected to the community at large.
It has been proven that students who have undertaken music instruction later excel in their chosen areas of study because of the particular dynamics of music learning. By investing in students who otherwise have little access to music instruction, the Bridge Program is investing in the future of this city and the creative minds of the next generation.
Steve Kirby, Director of Jazz Studies
The Bridge Program is led by a Band Director and Instructors who mentor and lead teams of Jazz Studies students from the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music in offering musical programming to children and youth. The Bridge program staff and Jazz students are supported by, and work closely with, members of the Jazz Studies teaching faculty to ensure a high quality experience for all involved.
Between 75 and 100 students participated in the pilot program which operated from January until June of 2011 at Hugh John MacDonald School’s after school Peaceful Village program. The full program was launched in September 2011.
Some Bridge students from the 2011 pilot project
from left to right: Norina, Josh, JJ (standing), JC, Andrew, Steve Kirby, Dagmawit
The Bridge kids performed for the Governor General of Canada in October 2011:
Article about The Bridge from dig! magazine, July/Aug 2011