The Bridge Program

The Bridge: Music Learning for Life is an outreach initiative of the Marcel A. Desautels Faculty of Music and the fruition of a life-long dream of Steve Kirby, director of Jazz Studies, who grew up in a tough St Louis neighborhood. The Bridge brings music instruction into under-served neighborhoods, inspiring at-risk students to find positive ways of expressing themselves and helping them feel connected to the community at large. It has been proven that students who have undertaken music instruction later excel in their chosen areas of study because of the particular dynamics of music learning. By investing in students who otherwise have little access to music instruction, the Bridge Program is investing in the future of this city and the creative minds of the next generation.

About The Program

We work from a jazz model, which puts a strong emphasis on ear training & rhythm, but instruction includes basic band techniques & music literacy that are common to all of the musical genres. The Bridge pilot (Jan-June 2011) centred around rhythm section: drums, piano, bass, guitar. This year, we have been able to add trumpets, trombones, saxes (alto, tenor, baritone), flute, clarinet & bass clarinet. We do have several kids who also sing. We offer instruction to the entire group as well as in sectionals which focus on particular instruments. They are learning several songs, & working together on some pop songs that they bring to the group. They will perform at the school during the winter term. Students who excel & are ready for a much more demanding experience will be considered for the Jazz on Wheels band in the summer.

Who Is Eligible?

Selected students from Hugh John MacDonald School (Middle years students)

Who Does it Impact?

The Bridge pilot (Jan-June 2011) centred around rhythm section: drums, piano, bass, guitar. This year, we have been able to add trumpets, trombones, saxes (alto, tenor, baritone), flute, clarinet & bass clarinet. We do have several kids who also sing. We offer instruction to the entire group as well as in sectionals which focus on particular instruments. They are learning several songs, & working together on some pop songs that they bring to the group. They will perform at the school during the winter term. Students who excel & are ready for a much more demanding experience will be considered for the Jazz on Wheels band in the summer.

Where Can You Find It?

Hugh John MacDonald School

Address: 567 Bannatyne Ave, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R3A 0G8


Who Can You Contact?

Charlene Diehl

Address: 624-100 Arthur St

Phone: 204-927-7323
Email: wiwfdirector@gmail.com

Steve Kirby

Address: Room 309, Music Building, University of Manitoba

Phone: 204-474-6872
Email: kirbys@cc.umanitoba.ca

Who Supports This?

Neighborhood Development Corp We have received major donations from: David Asper & Michael Nesbitt, & more modest donations from Doug Harvey & several individuals We have received instrument support from: Long & McQuade We receive publicity & visibilty from: dig! magazine (full disclosure: dig! is edited by Steve Kirby, with Charlene Diehl (Bridge Coordinator) as assistant editor. dig! magazine is produced by Jazz Winnipeg, & funded by donation & ad revenue.) We provide mentoring instruction to: students in Jazz Pedagogy (Jazz Studies, U of M) The Bridge Program is also linked with Jazz on Wheels, an inner city initiative that takes high-energy concerts into underserved neighborhoods in the summer (June-Sept). Last year, seven different Bridge students joined the Jazz on Wheels band & performed several concerts--in their own neighborhoods. Jazz on Wheels is directed by Steve Kirby, & is supported by Jazz Winnipeg & various granting agencies.

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