Probably the first branding meeting I ever ran was with a group of seventh graders.

It was ten years ago, and we were naming the program (and concert) that had been going by “composers club” up until that point. Those seventh graders were composers, and the concert needed a name, so I thought they should choose it. We kicked around a lot of names, talked about pros and cons, and landed on Junior Bach.

The Junior Bach Program puts Peabody composers into Baltimore schools to teach composition lessons to middle schoolers. At the end of each semester, we bring the pieces back to the conservatory, and the pieces get premiered by Peabody student musicians. The program gives students a chance to be composers, to create something new and lead a group of talented musicians to make it real. That’s a huge chance to learn through the arts. And it gives composition department students a chance to gain real teaching experience.

I started the program ten years ago, and it went from being a student project to being an internship that granted credit to being a crucial part of Peabody’s mission to connect its students with their community. Deserving of special thanks are Steve Stone and Judah Adashi, who’ve run the program after me, Wesley Clark & Maxine Rockoff, who led a round of funding to support scholarships for students in the program, and to Arthur Bloom, whose pedagogical work with RIME helped me develop the teaching method used in the program.

Next week I’m returning to Peabody for the tenth anniversary of the program. I’m so excited to see how the program has grown.

If you can make it on April 29, please join us.

1:00 PM: panel on the first ten years of Junior Bach
3:30 PM: tenth anniversary Junior Bach concert
5:00 PM: reception for current and former students, teachers, and families

All events are at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore.

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