Music Plus Program

Music Plus1 cropMusic Plus is a longstanding partnership between the BGSU College of Musical Arts and Toledo Public Schools (TPS). For 10 weeks, on Wednesday evenings in the fall and spring semesters, approximately 30 TPS students travel to the Bowling Green campus for free supplemental music instruction.

The evenings are segmented into private lessons taught by BGSU undergraduate and graduate students, ensembles led by a graduate student or a faculty member and other musical activities. This past fall included a piano lab taught by a graduate student; other semesters have included composition. The program culminates in a public performance in Bryan Recital Hall with the TPS students playing alongside BGSU students. In the spring, they often perform short pieces composed by students in the Music Plus program.

“Composing is a great way for students to explore creativity in their musicianship,” said Lisa Martin, associate professor of music education and coordinator of the Music Plus program.

Music Plus impacts participating BGSU students as well as those from TPS. They receive a hands-on, authentic context teaching experience that builds their confidence and resilience as teachers.

Martin explained that, through the program, “BGSU students get a better sense of the realities of our community,” and outreach programs such as these are especially important after two years without much in-person music instruction for TPS students. By taking charge of instruction for the 10-week program cycle, the BGSU students get to see the TPS students through to a performance and be responsible for the entirety of that process.

“That experience helps BGSU students find their voice as teachers,” Martin said.

For TPS students, Music Plus helps them develop their musicianship and provides an opportunity to be on a college campus, and it can have a profound impact on their personal development. Martin described that several Music Plus students return to the program year after year and, in those instances, it is uniquely rewarding to see the students grow over time.

“The most exciting thing about seeing students’ growth is not just their development as a musician, it is their sense of agency and confidence in how they relate to other students, to their professors and to their teachers,” Martin explained. “It is this blossoming of creative, competent, confident people that far surpasses the musicianship component of the program.”

Since its beginning in the mid-1990s, the Music Plus program has been free to participating students, thanks in large part to grants and gifts from alumni and friends of the college.

Updated: 01/18/2023 09:09AM