From September 2016 to August 2018, The Mass Cultural Council (MCC) and The Klarman Family Foundation (KFF) piloted a two-year program focused on music educators and teaching artists from across Massachusetts. Both funders are committed to supporting music programs that provide low-income youth with access to high-quality sequential music training. The majority of Fellows worked at organizations funded by MCC and/or KFF. The goal of the META Fellowship Pilot Program was to strengthen the youth music training pathway by:
- Enhancing the practice of music educators/teaching artists and their impact on youth, and
- Developing stronger connections between music educators/teaching artists and greater awareness of the resources available to benefit the youth they serve
Core components of the META Fellowship Pilot Program included:
- Four learning sessions per year for entire cohort of Fellows
- Two site visits by Fellows to the programs of other Fellows
- Professional/Artistic development grants of up to $3,000 per Fellow
- Group projects presented at a final showcase event
- Annual stipends of $800 per Fellow for participation in the Pilot
52 individuals participated over the course of the two-year fellowship and 43 completed the full two years. The composite of the cohort included the following characteristics:
- The vast majority of Fellows had formal music education, either holding a Bachelor’s of Music or Master’s degree, most often in performance with a small number in music education. Only two Fellows had no formal post-secondary education and two had non-music degrees.
- The Fellows were employed by 25 non-profit organizations and five schools (public, parochial, and charter). The Fellows offered a broad range of music instruction (e.g. classical, jazz, pop, vocal) at a range of levels from introductory to mastery.
- The cohort was diverse in terms of race/ethnicity, gender, age, and level of experience.
Evaluation of the META Fellowship Pilot Program
According to an external evaluation of the META Fellowship Pilot, the most significant areas of impact for the Fellows as a result of participating in META were:
- Increased connections to peers and the music educator community
- Improved skills related to student voice and engagement, classroom management, and lesson and curriculum planning
- Stronger sense of, and appreciation for, themselves as music educators and as artists
- Greater motivation and engagement with their teaching