The connections matter,
The commitment to our mission matters.
Support Bloomingdale & Make Music Matter.
Founded in 1964, Bloomingdale School of Music is dedicated to the belief that music changes lives and everyone should have access to high-quality music education regardless of economic status, race, religion, experience level, or gender. We are dedicated to making music education accessible to all who want to learn and have been able to do so through our community, connection, and continued commitment to our mission.
This year has transformed the world in a number of ways. We’ve learned what we as humans are capable of: that we can cherish one another, fight for issues that matter to us, and, in the middle of a global pandemic, adapt and adjust to new norms. As a community music school, we have seen firsthand both the power of the arts and the vulnerability of the Art and Cultural sector. Our mission to deliver access to quality music education to anyone who wants it, be it through little boxes on a screen or 6 feet apart is more important now than ever before. We need your support to continue to spread the power of music and to secure a future for the next generation of musicians.
Since 1964, our brownstone has been filled with faculty, students, families, and staff; ready for lessons, recitals, master classes, and other events. This year, due to Covid-19, all of our operations have been transformed online and all interactions are now virtual. Family engagement has played an integral part in the social and musical development of our students. This relationship between families and faculty helps create more successful students. Other programs that help foster community engagement are our sharing hours, community festivals, studio recitals, and Performathon which bring students and their families together.
A core element of our mission is engaging our community which not only includes students and their families but all music lovers. It has been rewarding to maintain a connection with our community, even if it’s through little boxes on a screen. By reimagining our Faculty Concert Series, Bloomingdale has not only been able to keep our faculty performing but serve as a free form of therapy that people can tune into on Friday nights. Our faculty concert series was created in the 1970s by founder David Greer as a series of weekly recitals performed by established, emerging, and faculty musicians, as well as the Bloomingdale Orchestra. We are proud to continue this legacy in virtual form. Our newest initiative, #JustForFun, is a series of enjoyable and interactive virtual events that includes games, sing-alongs, wellness, and other fun activities for our community to enjoy with friends and family.
A major factor in the success of distance learning is the role technology plays in the experience of our students, educators, and families. This year we’ve come to rely heavily on Zoom, Google Meet, Facetime, WhatsApp, and Google Classroom lessons to deliver instruction. While Bloomingdale faculty have been able to quickly and flexibly adapt to a post-Covid world, there are still major gaps we need to fill technologically in order to deliver the same quality of music learning experience that our school was built upon. These necessary improvements include investing in our sound equipment, buying additional technology for live streaming, and investing in our overall IT infrastructure.
Wi-Fi routers for faster and more stable connection for our faculty and staff as well as device upgrades for better learning experiences. Because of how hands-on music education is, upgrades to sound technology and imagery make a would of a difference. Our goal is to be able to provide microphones to our faculty, invest in equipment that will enable us to Livestream classes and events, and more computers, tablets, and cameras to make distanced learning feel as close to the real thing as possible.
Our overarching goal for this year has been to shepherd our existing partnerships/relationships through the COVID crisis and successfully navigate the switch to online education with partners like the School at Columbia and Morningside Retirement and Health Services. We aim to strengthen and expand participation in our existing partnerships even as we begin exploring possibilities for additional partnerships in the year ahead.
Bloomingdale has a long-standing commitment to financial aid. Over 125 students receive some form of aid with an average of $150,000 in need-based financial aid awarded each year. BSM offers support for students of any age and ability level, from early childhood to adult learners. Funding is provided by the generosity of individual donors and charitable foundations. With the average income of our awarded financial aid families being $32,052.88, we expect the number of spring semester applicants to increase as families face job loss. A number of our families with parents who work in arts and culture organizations have been hit hard by this pandemic.
As a smaller music school, there are a number of changes we need to make to our brownstone in order to address specific COVID-19 safety issues. As we aspire to open our doors for in-person activities this spring, we need ample support in making some key renovations to meet the recommended regulations. Some of the necessary work includes updating the basement HVAC system, converting our restroom doors to push-pull doors, adding plexiglass to the front desk, and installing hand sanitizer stations throughout the building. With your support, we want to continue to make these investments to make the brownstone safe and welcome to all for decades to come.
Compared to our traditional in-person events (Sharing Hours, Ensemble and Chamber Music Concerts, Annual Juries, and Performance Competition, along with community festivals and concerts), online concerts have consistently gathered larger audiences than we could have ever accommodated in our concert hall. We have seen audiences from all over the world including Japan, Panama, Israel, Puerto Rico, and beyond. This virtual format has also made it possible for friends and family of our faculty who have never gotten to see them play because of distance or physical ability.
Family engagement is regarded as a best practice in education. Decades of research have shown that parent involvement is a powerful influence on children’s educational success. More specifically, when families are involved in their child’s education, data indicate:
We may be implementing more technology in music education now due to the need for distanced learning, but technology is here to stay.Sound quality is an extremely important part of music learning, which is why investing in microphones for all faculty will improve the quality of our online classes. With the adequate technology, students can record their own performances and listen to them to identify strengths and weaknesses. We also want to invest in our WiFi connection so that it is faster and reliable.
Recording music and other technical skills have a huge professional industry that we can now prepare our students for. New skills that both our faculty and students are learning include recording and producing audio and video projects. These skills enable musicians to be competitive in various musical and arts sectors.
Our existing partnerships are:
The School at Columbia — We are partnering with the TSC after-school program to provide their students with a group violin and group voice class, both online.
P.S. 75 — Our partnership is currently on hold as P.S. 75 navigates their fall 2020 re-opening. We remain flexible and ready to provide them with additional support in whatever form that takes.
Bloomingdale Family Program — We continue to partner with this beloved head-start program, and are currently in the planning stage of determining what that work will look like this fall/spring. It will likely entail our teaching artist, Shoshana Vogel, contributing live and recorded online content until a full return to BFP is again possible.
Morningside Retirement and Health Services — This creative aging pilot partnership continues its work into its second year, with Marc Peloquin teaching a series of music appreciation courses online to participants.
Additional resources and grant funds will enable us to continue and expand our programming with these organizations, and also put Bloomingdale in a stronger position as we seek out new partners.
We are aware that many in our community are experiencing significant changes in the wake of COVID-19. As we head into 2020-2021, our total award allocation for those two departments is up 139% from last year. We are committed to working with our families to enable their children to continue the lessons they love so much and to building capacity to meet those needs. There can be no full American economic recovery without an Arts & Culture recovery, so as our nation makes steps toward a new chapter, you can help us write the score.
$32,052.88 is the average income of awarded FA families
Because of our generous donors, BSM will continue to create meaningful experiences through music for community members of all backgrounds.