Each week, from September through April, McGill students visit four elementary schools in underprivileged parts of Montreal to give piano lessons to aspiring young musicians. As volunteers with the Heart of the City Piano Program, the students aim to teach music to interested children who would not otherwise have access to such opportunities.
With almost 95 volunteers from across the university, Heart of the City has truly mobilized the McGill community. “We’ve reached about 110 students now,” says program co-director Sarah Hanafi, a final-year neuroscience major. “Most of our volunteer teachers are undergraduates who have studied piano and want to stay connected to music while they pursue other studies.”
The program, supported in part through annual gifts to McGill’s Alma Mater Fund and Seeds of Change programs, is one of several community outreach initiatives that have been sponsored by donors to the Schulich School of Music over the course of Campaign McGill.
Thanks to funding from the W. Garfield Weston Foundation, the award-winning McGill Jazz Orchestra has toured parts of the United States, France and Switzerland, conducting concerts, teaching master classes and performing other outreach activities.
While the Jazz Orchestra is bringing the University’s music to the world, the McGill International String Quartet Academy (MISQA) is bringing music from around the world to the University. Established in 2010 through generous support from Constance V. Pathy, LMus’71, LMus’86, the MISQA brings world-class string quartets to Montreal to share their knowledge with other musicians, including established performers as well as those just launching in their career.
“The opportunity for students to be mentored by top international string players and to perform and interact closely with them offers the potential for an unforgettable experience,” says Professor Sean Ferguson, Dean of Music.
With initiatives like these, it’s clear that the Schulich School of Music is striking all the right chords in cultural communities in Montreal and abroad.