The percussion scholarship program

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Texas Tech University

Since its creation in 1995, the Percussion Scholarship Program (PSP), an affiliate of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO), has provided private lessons and ensemble opportunities for students who ordinarily would not be able to afford such an experience on their own. Developed by Patsy Dash, CSO percussionist, this unique program for fourth grade through twelfth grade students provides both the physical materials and the instruction necessary for students to gain the technical knowledge and musical literacy to perform at a professional level. This study is an examination of the history and evolution of the PSP from 1995 through 2006, the participant requirements and expectations, and the impact of the program on the directors, students, family members, community, percussion industry, and music education.

Information for this study was obtained through interviews with Patsy Dash and Doug Waddell, PSP Directors, parents, and student participants, as well as Cayenne Harris, Director of the Education, Community Relations, and Diversity Department for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and Staci Stokes, Education Director for the Pro-Mark Corporation, a percussion manufacturer. Additional information was acquired through observations of lessons, rehearsals, and performances. Music education journals and internet sources were also examined for documentation of youth programs and ensembles including the methods used for organizing, funding, teaching, and maintaining such programs, as well as the impact of these types of programs on students, family members, schools, communities, and music education in general.

Information gathered through the interview process, educational journals, and internet resources was used to document the history and evolution of the Percussion Scholarship Program. Participant requirements and expectations and program impact were identified by comparing data from multiple interviewees. Implications for other percussion and music education programs were identified through the analysis of the data. Because of its unique offerings and its successes, it is conceivable that the Percussion Scholarship Program has the potential to serve as an instructional model for other youth groups or programs throughout the nation and significantly impact the manner in which musical knowledge and experiences are provided.