The Arizona State University School of Music and the Mesa Public Schools Harp Program have announced a new partnership offering unique opportunities for a graduate student majoring in harp performance. In addition to performance opportunities in solo, chamber, and ensemble music, the ASU student selected for the partnership will receive pedagogical and administrative experience working with the MPS harp program, which has over 240 students across 16 junior and senior high schools. Charles W. Lynch III, the harp specialist at MPS and a faculty associate in harp at ASU, says, “The Mesa Public School administration and ASU School of Music administration are both very supportive and enthusiastic about building relationships and opportunities to offer students new and innovative opportunities in their education. They were both very receptive and open to working together to develop this partnership.” He shares that there has been a growing community of harpists and teachers who are developing school programs and he has been looking for ways to create connections between the programs to offer more support to students and teachers.
The Arizona State graduate student selected will be awarded a partial tuition scholarship and a stipend for teaching at MPS. “I’m excited for ASU graduate students in harp because they will have an opportunity that no other graduate program offers,” Lynch shares. “Not only will they have performance opportunities to enhance their technical and musical skills, but they will develop teaching approaches for a variety of grade levels, gain experience in administrative duties for a school program, and be exposed to the many other aspects of developing a school program, such as community outreach, financial development, scheduling, curriculum development, music advocacy, etc.”
Lynch emphasizes that the MPS harp students will greatly benefit from more instruction time and the insight of an ASU student. “It will expose high school students to possibilities for future education and career paths. To work with someone who is currently in college will hopefully spark an interest or remind them of possibilities for future studies after high school,” he says. The Mesa harp program, which just celebrated 45 years of harp instruction in a public school setting, is part of the largest public school district in the state of Arizona, with a total of 64,000 students. In 2018, MPS received the distinction of being a Best Community for Music Education by the NAMM foundation.
Click here for more info on graduate studies at ASU. To find out more about the MPS music program, visit www.mpsaz.org/arts/music. Subscribe to Harp Column today to read our upcoming article featuring harp programs in public schools around the United States in the March/April 2019 issue.