Project Muse in-school concerts are an opportunity for students 12-18 to gain an appreciation for music. Aligned with the California State Standards, the programs feature music from all historical periods and styles. Programs also draw connections between music and other subjects, such as history, math, English, poetry, drama and science.
The musical ensembles range from 1-6 players, drawn from Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music’s roster. Every program features a lively question and answer period, which gives students the chance to interact with the players. Each participating school may engage the ensembles for repeat visits, allowing the students to build their listening and deportment skills while increasing their musical knowledge.
Examples of past programs include:
Percussion and Violin – Southwest Chamber Music’s violinist Shalini Vijayan and percussionist Lynn Vartan presented contemporary works for their instruments, discussing how music is made on string versus percussion instruments. Performing contemporary music from Los Angeles composers (often with a composer present), they showed how they approach learning a new work, how they relate it to other works they know, and included a question and answer period. California Standards learning included history and cultural context.
Solo Guitar – John Schneider, radio host of Global Village on KPFK, brought multiple guitars to showcase the history of music through the guitar, starting with the Renaissance and ending with contemporary music of various cultures. He began with acoustic guitar, made from wood, and showed how the guitar has now evolved into a completely metallic instrument. Related subjects included physics, drama and history.
String Quartet – Southwest Chamber Music’s String Quartet performed music of diverse cultures, which included music by Latino, Asian, or World War II émigré composers. The musicians discussed the dynamics of working with four people, encouraged a discussion of “what is chamber music,” and provided works which directly link to poetry, history, and drama.
Solo Double Bass – virtuoso bassist Tom Peters showcased current trends in music, with a particular emphasis on electronic music. Using computers and current programs, Tom showed students how composers and performers use math, science and computers to create music today.
"Music education opens doors that help children pass from school into the world around them - a world of work, culture, intellectual activity, and human involvement. The future of our nation depends on providing our children with a complete education that includes music."
Gerald Ford, former President of the United States
Download Programs & Guides
Please download our current Project Muse Program & Guide as a general resource or in preparation for an upcoming performance at your school.
Mentorship Program provides in-school orchestra and chamber music coaching for students 12-18. Students develop their instrumental skills through work with professional musician mentors from Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music. Mentors work with small groups of students from each orchestra section, focusing on orchestra music while helping each student develop their individual skills.
Additional chamber music sessions for selected students focus on teaching ensemble skills, culminating in special school and community performances. The Mentors, who may provide advice and recommendations for college music scholarships, can also offer private lessons when requested.
"Music is about communication, creativity, and cooperation, and, by studying music in school, students have the opportunity to build on these skills, enrich their lives, and experience the world from a new perspective."
Bill Clinton, former President of the United States
"When presented with the many and manifest benefits of music education, officials at all levels should universally support a full, balanced, sequential course of music instruction taught by qualified teachers. And every student will have an education in the arts."
MENC Music Education Facts and Figures
"Ninety-five percent of respondents to a 1997 Gallup survey agreed that playing in school band is a good way to develop teamwork skills."
1997 Gallup survey on American attitues toward music education
Master Classes are offered by members of Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music on string, woodwind, percussion, and brass instruments, as well as voice and piano. Most of our musicians are noted teachers in the area, serving on the faculty at UCLA, Azusa University, Chapman University, Cal State University campuses, Pasadena Conservatory, USC and others.
Master Classes involve a class of all students on one instrument, or one family of instruments, potentially open to all of the music students. A group of students each perform individually for the musician in front of the other students, and receive a short lesson or coaching. The session lasts from 1-3 hours and may be either during or after school. The length of the Master Class depends on the number of participating students.
Our mentors are professional musicians drawn from Grammy-winning Southwest Chamber Music’s roster. Many also teach at Southern California’s finest music schools and colleges. Mentors receive training and evaluation by Southwest Chamber Music’s staff, and provide monthly reports on their work with the students.
Washington Irving Middle School, Los Angeles
– Dan McNamara, Music Director
Mark Keppel High School, Alhambra
– Carla Bartlett, Band and Orchestra Director
Pasadena High School
– David Miller, Music Director
Hoover High School, Glendale
– Martin Rhees, Music Director
Glendale High School
– Amy Rangel, Music Director
Crescenta Valley High School, La Crescenta
– Mathew Schick, Music Director
Wilson Middle School, Glendale
– Amanda Kopcsak, Music Director
Toll Middle School, Glendale
– Brad De La Garza, Music Director
Roosevelt Middle School, Glendale
– Frank Fox, Music Director
Hamilton High School, Los Angeles
– Jim Foschia, Music Director
Lucy C. was a participant in Southwest Chamber Music’s Mentorship Program at Pasadena’s John Muir High School. As a ninth grader, she heard multiple Project Muse in-school concerts, one of which featured the music of Mexican composer Carlos Chávez. She was so excited to hear music from her family’s native country that it spurred her to become more serious about the cello.
She was provided with scholarship lessons from a Mentor - by the end of six months, she was playing a Bach Cello Suite. A year later, Lucy became the principal cello in the orchestra, studied privately, and was a member of the primary chamber music ensemble, the I Cavalli Musici. She agrees that our weekly Mentorship Program has made a big difference in her life.
Lucy is only one of our many success stories from our Mentorship Program at six schools in Los Angeles County. One of our junior high school orchestras gave their first concert in 12 years because of the Mentorship Program. A bass player at John Marshall High School only had lessons for a year in the program, and won a position in the L.A. Philharmonic’s Honor Orchestra. Many of our Mentorship students also work as paid ushers at Southwest Chamber Music concerts and continue to attend concerts after graduation.