Music Schools in the Community

Music Schools in the Community had its genesis in a 2009 pilot project at the Chaguanas panyard of Tropical Angel Harps Steel Orchestra. Noting the success of this project, in 2010 the Ministry of the Arts and Multiculturalism (as it was then known) embarked on a period of planning and strategising to implement a similar initiative on a larger scale in several panyards throughout Trinidad and Tobago.

Music School in the Panyards was unveiled on the 25th June, 2012 with six steelbands. By the end of the year the project was well-established and such was the popularity of the programme that in 2013, the Minister at the time, mandated that the Culture Division increase the number of Music Schools from six to 20.

At the same time, new considerations came into play, including a recognition of the rehabilitative power of music and its potential to positively affect youth who were at risk, thus reducing negative behaviours including criminal activity. As a result, the Ministry was determined to develop the project beyond the panyards. In 2013 the programme was rebranded from “Music Schools in the Panyard” to “Music Schools in the Community”. This rebranding reflected the expansion from panyards to include other venues such as children’s homes, correctional facilities and existing traditional music schools. In 2014, the programme was further expanded into youth institutions.

The 6th Semester of the Music Schools in the Community is currently in its 11th week and will end on July 8th 2017. In excess of 250 students participated in the programme which was held in five (5) venues in the North, East, Central and South Trinidad. As in previous semesters the programme focused on music literacy and instrument performance. Students who show the most potential will be given the opportunity to participate in the Royal School of Music Graded Theory exam in November 2017.

For information please contact Mr. Clarke at 225-4023, extension 4003.