Young musicians from the New Haven Public Schools have arrived at the Yale School of Music to participate in the Morse Summer Music Academy. For four weeks, these students will take private lessons and take part in scheduled daily chamber music lessons, large and small ensemble rehearsals, workshops, and master classes. The program also includes field trips to local galleries, museums, and the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Summer Music Festival.
A primary goal of the Morse Academy, in partnership with the Music in Schools Initiative, is to address equity in access to music for the city’s public-school students. Musical equity has been widely discussed at Yale School of Music in recent years, most notably at the 2017 Symposium on Music in Schools, after which the School published its Declaration on Equity in Music for City Students. “Access is one thing, but equity is another. Access means there is a teacher, but equity means everyone has the opportunity to work with that teacher,” YSM Associate Dean Michael Yaffe said.
Morse Academy is free to participating students and is made possible through a generous endowment established by Enid and Lester Morse (Yale College ’51). Students in grades four through 11 who sing and/or play piano, guitar, woodwind, brass, string, and percussion instruments are eligible to apply. Instruction is provided by certified music teachers from the New Haven Public Schools, and graduate-student Teaching Artists, alumni, and faculty from the Yale School of Music.
Clarinetist Richard Adger ’19MM ’20MMA is a returning Teaching Artist who was drawn to the Morse Academy by the opportunity to help nurture young musicians and pass on what he has learned. “As a Teaching Artist, my goal is to always try and unlock a love of music in the students,” Adger said. “Whether the students decide to pursue music as a career or not, I hope to give them something that will last their whole life.”
Morse Academy also allows Teaching Artists, as young educators themselves, to hone their pedagogical skills. “As an educator, it’s really important to be able to effectively communicate with students of different ages and backgrounds,” Adger said. “The diversity of the students at the Morse Academy allows me to gain experience in both of those areas.”
Participants will give more than 30 performances throughout the course of the month-long program. Concerts take place Monday through Thursday at Sprague Memorial Hall, starting on Monday, July 15. Every Friday, starting Friday, July 12, Morse Academy students will perform pop-up concerts at the Yale University Art Gallery, Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, New Haven Free Public Library, and elsewhere around New Haven. These concerts begin at 2 p.m. A final concert will take place at Sprague Memorial Hall on Friday, August 3, at 5:30 p.m.