MusicianCorps: the Musical Peace Corps

Kiff Gallagher

Kiff Gallagher

AmeriCorps-type program for musicians has received seed funding and plans to launch its first group in the fall of 09.

The Aspen Institute has named MusicianCorps — a developing AmeriCorps-type program that will enable musicians to serve in low-income schools — one of the top ten public policy proposals that would strengthen the United States.

The program is led by Kiff Gallagher, one of the creators of AmeriCorps.

The Institute has more to say on national service initiatives. But this is their rationale for backing MusicianCorps in particular:

Music reaches youth. … Music education develops habits of self-directed learning that drive lifelong success, and it can inspire community cohesiveness and service. Yet, most schools are experiencing significant cutbacks. Particularly effective at reaching disengaged youth, music can be an effective vehicle for a public service corps that meets social and civic goals.

The project has recently received $500K from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to pilot a 10-month fellowship program in the Bay Area. Barack Obama called for an artist corps when he was campaigning; apparently MusicianCorps is a model for the notion.

After a summer training institute, Fellows would take up their service in public schools, engaging in these kinds of activities, according to the Music National Service Fact Sheet:

• Teaching Musician: Plan a curriculum and lead a class or small group;
• Music Mentor: provide one-on-one support for gifted and special needs students (IEPs);
• Music Lab Leader: Teach music educational software self-directed learning activities;
• Classroom/Clubhouse Assistant: Assist the lead teacher or afterschool director with classroom
management, transition facilitation, and ensuring a safe environment;
• Resident Artist: Provide performances and performance workshops;
• Music Volunteer or Guest Coordinator: Manage musical guests and volunteers;
• Band, Ensemble or Choir Director: Lead groups in collaboration and performance;
• Community-based, public performances and volunteering for “hidden audiences.”

The program is set to launch its first cohort in August 2009.

Also check out this story on NPR.

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6 thoughts on “MusicianCorps: the Musical Peace Corps

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Policies to Strengthen the U.S. « The New Service

  2. Does the “Musical Peace Corps exists?” How does one apply for the positions?

  3. Hi Varsha,
    MusicianCorps should launch later this year. Check out to get updates and learn more. In March, the Idealist podcast will feature Kiff Gallagher, founder of the Music National Service Initiative.

  4. Is this pilot really going to happen? I think this is the best idea since sliced bread! I would love to be a part of this, how do I get involved?

  5. Check out More information there and a comment box for getting in touch with organizers. Also this month’s Idealist podcast is going to feature the project’s founder Kiff Gallagher. Thanks for reading!

  6. Pingback: New Podcast: Kiff Gallagher’s Music National Service Initiative « The New Service

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