Foundation gives grant to music school
The Uptown Music Collective, the area’s premier nonprofit school of music, has received an award in the amount of $26,954 from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania. The allocation, which represents a grant from the Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund, is to be used for curriculum recording and streaming equipment, as well as upgrades to computers and software for staff.
Specifically, the grant will allow the school’s staff to address four key factors that directly affect the potential to increase capacity, including the ability to find and train local, qualified instructors while retaining them long-term; managing and making the best use of the time in which teachers and students can meet; the number of spaces in which educational activities can take place simultaneously; and the organizational and technological infrastructure needed to manage and schedule these activities. Each of these components of the school’s programming can be positively impacted by putting a focus on the UMC’s ability to record and edit high-quality video and streaming content.
“This grant from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania and the technical equipment to be purchased with it will greatly impact the UMC’s capacity in many areas,” said Dave Brumbaugh, UMC executive director. “Most importantly to me, it will make it possible for the UMC Staff to more easily document its unique musical knowledge base into a high-quality video library. This will allow for the quick and thorough training and continuing education of the teaching staff, and provide an opportunity for private lesson and classroom teachers to more fluidly flip the classroom with video content, presenting musical concepts as homework, where it can be viewed repeatedly. In addition, we anticipate lessons and classroom time to become the place where the teacher and the student work on applying concepts and theory to music, accelerating the pace and the depth of learning for all involved.”
The school recognized the need to upgrade its existing equipment some time ago and began to develop the groundwork for the Visual Media and Technology Expansion Project prior to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Jared Mondell, the school’s assistant executive director, the project’s importance became even more apparent as the school was forced to find unique ways to keep students engaged during the quarantine and beyond.
“Although we were able to live-stream our shows, offer virtual classes and hold safe rehearsals, we recognized that many of those existing challenges prior to the pandemic were amplified,” Mondell said. “But we also found that those teaching platforms improved or added value to many aspects of the school’s educational offerings. Remote learning will never completely replace in-person education, but the use of video and streaming classroom and training content for appropriate educational offerings, and its use as a supplement to in-person learning, is of great value to the school.”
In the last 21-plus years, the Uptown Music Collective has grown from what many used to call “the best-kept secret in the Williamsport area,” to one of the region’s most highly respected, non-profit, educational organizations. While the school is dedicated to providing a well-rounded education to students of all ages, it focuses many of its programs on students ages 8 to 18. The Uptown Music Collective is known for its positive peer group, inspiring teachers, and a diverse multitude of performance and educational opportunities. For more information, visit uptownmusic.org.
The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania works to improve the quality of life in north central Pennsylvania through community leadership, the promotion of philanthropy, the strengthening of nonprofit impact and the perpetual stewardship of charitable assets. FCFP strives to create powerful communities through passionate giving. For more information, visit FCFPartnership.org.