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MSU’s music and education programs extend to Detroit

May 25, 2009

MSU’s College of Music and College of Education will have a new base of operations in the Detroit area beginning this fall.

The university signed a seven-year lease on a 22,000-square-foot building, located at 3408 Woodward Ave., in Detroit. The facility will house a Community Music School, a base for MSU College of Education interns as well as space for admissions, university development and governmental affairs, said Rhonda Buckley, associate dean for outreach and engagement for the College of Music.

The lease is $490,000 annually, according to a statement from MSU. University spokesman Kent Cassella said the new building and its programs are the newest of many in Southeast Michigan.

“It’s a great opportunity for MSU to continue to develop partnerships there,” he said.

The Community Music School-Detroit will offer music therapy, jazz studies, early childhood music education and the New Horizons Band, Buckley said.

“It will be a similar kind of structure as what is offered here in East Lansing, only modified so it more fits in with Detroit better,” she said. “It will be taught by College of Music faculty, some will be taught by graduate students and some will be taught by professionals hired from the Detroit community.”

Buckley said she expects classes to begin in the fall.

Jazz studies will be for children ages 11 to 19. The courses will be separated by experience level and will focus on improvisation and learning about jazz styles, Buckley said.

“They’ll be doing lots of playing in combos — they’re small groups that will work primarily on improv skills,” she said.

The early childhood music education is for infants to 5-year-olds and will work to enhance musical and interpersonal development through early exposure. New Horizons Band is based on a national model that allows adults who might or might not have previous musical experience to play and learn together, she said.

There will be tuition, but Buckley said they are developing a sliding fee scale to allow people of all income levels to attend.

The College of Education will use the space to provide a base for fifth-year education students who are doing their internships in Detroit, as well as for the Urban Immersion Fellowship, which allows College of Education students to work in Detroit Public Schools, said Sonya Gunnings-Moton, assistant dean for student support services and recruitment for the College of Education.

Gunnings-Moton said the College of Education is set to move into the building.

“We’re ready to go because we’ve been engaged in these efforts,” she said.

“We’re going to utilize and access resources of the building as soon as it’s ready.”

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