Musician and Artist Service Corps Amended into House Legislation

The Music National Service Initiative, which is in its start-up phase, got the backing of legislators today through an amendment to the national service legislation that passed on the floor of the House.

Rep. Crowley was able to include following language, stipulating an artist and musician corps, in Rep. George Miller’s Manager’s Amendment to the GIVE Act, H.R. 1388.

“(Q) A musician and artist corps program that trains and deploys skilled musicians and artists to promote greater community unity through the use of music and arts education and engagement through work in low income communities, education, healthcare and therapeutic settings, and other work in the public domain with citizens of all ages.”

To learn more about Music National Service, MusicianCorps, and MusicMentors, check out the Idealist podcast featuring founder Kiff Gallagher.

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New Podcast: Kiff Gallagher’s Music National Service Initiative

picture-4The New Service podcast today features Kiff Gallagher, founder of Peacelabs Music and the Music National Service Initiative (MNSI).

Today’s guest is Kiff Gallagher, founder of Peacelabs Music and the Music National Service Initiative. Listen to the podcast.

In 2008, The Aspen Institute named MNSI’s 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.

Before turning his attention back to music, Kiff served on the legislative team that developed AmeriCorps during the early Clinton Administration, and went on to work at the Corporation for National and Community Service.

He’s also worked in the field of corporate social responsibility and sustainability as an advisor at Odwalla, and president of the Social Venture Network. More recently he’s served on President Obama’s National Arts Policy Committee and as an advisor on Obama’s Transition Team.

The program has a public event coming up at the Kennedy Center on April 22, co-hosted by Music National Service and Center for American Progress.

I talked with Kiff Gallagher about the need for music and arts education in the schools, about his role in developing the national service legislation that shaped AmeriCorps in 1993, and the future of the Music National Service Initiative.

The podcast features the music of flamenco guitarist Mark Ferguson, from his debut album Quemando Chante, available on iTunes.

Here’s a link to our podcast; also check out this story about Kiff Gallagher on NPR.

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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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