[ Music in Schools ]
Visiting Faculty Member: Sebastian Ruth
As part of the indenture for the endowment created by the Yale College Class of 1957, it is stated that the school may use the funds to support a visiting professor with a focus on music education in the broadest sense. Since 2007, the School has invited distinguished educators to join the faculty the create coursework related to the Music in Schools Initiative. In 2008-2009, Wing Ho, viola professor from the Central Conservatory in Music in Beijing, China, served as Class of ’57 Visiting Professor of Music Education; and for two academic years (2010-2011, 2011-2012), Brian Lewis, Professor of Violin at the University of Texas was the Visiting Professor of Community Engagement.
Since the 2013-14 school year, the Music in Schools Initiative is pleased to welcome Visiting Faculty Member in Community Engagement, Sebastian Ruth. Mr. Ruth, a 2010 MacArthur Fellow, is the Founder and Artistic Director of Community MusicWorks in Providence, RI, an innovative organization that connects professional chamber musicians with urban communities in Providence, to provide concerts, free educational programs, and transformative community development opportunities.
Professor Ruth teaches one course each semester on music and social change, placing the work of the Music in Schools Initiative in a broader context. Specifically students in these courses discuss the roles of music in society through historical, sociological, and philosophical perspectives, and themselves enroll from Yale School of Music, the other Yale professional schools, and Yale College. Professor Ruth will also release the first Coursera course from the School of Music on the principles of music and social change.
In addition to his coursework, Mr. Ruth is collaborating with the other members of the Music in Schools Initiative staff to plan its development, including defining the most impactful ways that musicians can influence and be influenced by their work with urban New Haven school children.
Ruth says of his work with the Yale School of Music: “Many in the classical music world are rethinking how and why music connects with public life. With public support and attendance dropping, traditional institutions of music performance and education are being forced to ask difficult questions about how they will remain relevant. In my career over the past decade and a half, my colleagues and I have been exploring how to engage a local community as professional musicians to explore how music can become a powerful catalyst for social change. I am enjoying the opportunity to work on these questions with students at the Yale School of Music, so that they may make bold new choices as they establish careers in music.”