Jecorey ‘1200’ Arthur on why musical outreach is vital

Hi, I’m Mr. Arthur. I taught music at Hite Elementary from May 2015 to May 2017. We had approximately 500 students, mostly from The East End. I resigned in September 2017 to acquire a larger outreach, and Louisville Public Media granted this. I’m now the music education manager at 90.5 WUOL Classical Louisville. This position allows me to teach music to any school, in any neighborhood and at any given time. I manage six music education programs, some of which were created before I was hired.

Through these programs, we want what every other music-based organization wants — music for everyone. For us, specifically, this means every educator has resources to teach music, every ensemble has instruments to play music, every aspiring musician has the experience they need to pursue music at a higher level, every family can explore music together, and that the community is enriched through arts as a whole. I’ve contacted every school in the Jefferson County Public Schools district that does not have music right now and started a dialogue about collaboration. If you’re reading this and haven’t responded, what are you waiting on? Do you know what music does for students? Do you know why music education is imperative to them being better humans?

Here are our music education programs:

The Music Box: a podcast that was created by my predecessor, Sara Callaway. This podcast carries you into classrooms, across the city and out into the field, where we ask what is music and how do we make it. Season One explores topics about composers, homemade instruments and much more. Sara and I will cohost Season Two, during which each episode will be based on a specific musical concept. The next season will also serve as a resource for new music teachers as well as other curious minds that want to learn more about music.

Instrumental Partners: a donation program that repairs instruments and puts them in the hands of local students. We’ve donated over 1,300 instruments in JCPS and beyond. To put this in perspective, the Louisville Orchestra has 57 players. This means we’ve donated enough instruments to make about 23 Louisville Orchestras. If you have a gently-used instrument that you are no longer using, donate it to the Instrumental Partners program and change a child’s life forever.

Young Artists Competition: gives musicians between the ages of 8 and 18 a chance to shine on the radio in a musical contest critiqued by local professionals. First place, second place and the honorable mentions are invited to perform on WUOLive, our classical version of WFPK’s “Live Lunch.” Some winners have gone on to study music in the world’s top conservatories and become professional musicians.

Classical Corner: a free, pop-up activity area where families can play, explore and learn the world of classical music. This summer, we’re working with Squallis Puppeteers for puppetry, DrumSmart for drum circles, Compass Quartet for conducting and KMAC Museum for arts and crafts, as well as Louisville Folk School and Miles Ahead Music for instrument petting zoos. We have these arts activities at each WFPK Waterfront Wednesday, and we also join other community events.

#WUOLearning: a free resource for music lessons for teachers, families, classrooms and curious minds. I visit schools, community centers and other public spaces in the Louisville region to teach music. All of my lessons are standards-based, hands-on and culturally relevant to the demographic being taught, meaning: Beethoven to Beyoncé.

Local Classics: This is going to be the name of my radio show. I’ll be showcasing the finest choirs, bands and orchestras in our region. JCPS alone has well over 20,000 students engaged in performing arts and they all need to be listening to our station. This level of engagement is essential to creating the next generation of musicians.

This story is part of the 2018 Music Issue. To read more stories from the issue, click here.