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Florida International University's School of Music and Miami Music Project Bring Music to After-School Programs

FIU Researchers Study How Music Can Help Public School Children
    MIAMI, FL, June 23, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Florida International University's (FIU) College of Architecture + the Arts' School of Music and Miami Music Project are proud to establish a research collaboration to study how music education enhances the lives of many underserved public school children.

Both undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in FIU's School of Music, generously give back to the community by providing after-school music instruction and guidance to students in K-12 programs throughout the cities of Doral and Little Haiti in Miami-Dade County.

"Our goal is to have a better understanding of how to incorporate music into traditional pedagogical methods," says Catherine Benedict, FIU Professor of Music. "Music incorporation can facilitate more diverse teaching practices that address different learning styles, intelligences and enable the higher-level thinking that is fostered by artistic engagement."

The program aims to achieve social change through musical excellence using an ensemble model of instruction called "El Sistema," as a framework for free music education. This program has been highly successful in Venezuela and other countries. Miami Music Project developed "El Sistema Miami" (ESMIA), which is now the second largest El Sistema-inspired program in the United States.

ESMIA involves 300 Miami-Dade County Public School students, ages 5-18, in communities with distinct populations, predominantly Hispanic and Haitian. The students participate in music lessons with Miami Music Project and FIU's School of Music students for one to three hours weekly.

"Each week we observe how the students come to see themselves and their musical abilities differently as they grapple with progressively more sophisticated musical challenges," says Stanley Cohen, chairman of Miami Music Project. "Even at a very young age we see them become more confident as they turn to their peers and address the issues at hand, or as they stand to sing or play an instrument alone."

FIU and Miami Music Project hope to use this research toward further implementation of music programs internationally as well as for public policy regarding much needed support of music education programs within the public school system.

About The College of Architecture + The Arts:
With more than 1,400 majors in seven academic departments—Music, Architecture, Art and Art History, Communication Arts, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Theatre—the College of Architecture + The Arts is proud to offer undergraduate and graduate students an intimate and nurturing atmosphere that offers opportunities for individual attention while promoting the creative spirit in the pursuit of knowledge and the cultivation of imagination, intellectual curiosity, and artistic expression For more information, visit CARTA's website at: or

About The Miami Music Project:
Miami Music Project uses music as an instrument for social transformation, empowering children to acquire values and achieve their full potential, positively affecting their society through the study and performance of music. In 2008, Maestro James Judd founded Miami Music Project (MMP) with the support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge Grant. With the support of the community, MMP has intensively exposed over 25,000 public school students to classical music.

Now modeled in the El Sistema philosophy through its El Sistema Miami (ESMIA) program, MMP's vision is to see children, especially in underserved communities, gain an opportunity to enrich their lives through music. El Sistema is a time-tested example of how a music program can both create great musicians and dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of children. ESMIA is El Sistema tailored for the needs of children in Miami and is their best resource to gain an excellent music education, ultimately resulting in phenomenal citizens and human beings. For more information, visit

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