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EDUCATION: New music instruction program for city youth 

A group of local music and government institutions are collaborating to create RocMusic, a program that will provide tuition-free music instruction to city school students. The pilot program will offer 20 students ages 5 to 8 general music appreciation, and 20 9- to 18-year-olds instruction in string instruments.

The program, which starts in the fall, will be held three days a week at the David F. Gantt Community Center on North Street. Organizers would like to expand RocMusic to more of the city’s community centers, eventually serving 75 students at each site.

The Hochstein School of Music and Dance, University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, City of Rochester, Rochester school district, and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra created the program with a $100,000 start-up grant from the Max and Marian Farash Charitable Foundation. The grant will be used to hire music instructors and materials.

RocMusic is based on the work of Gustavo Dudamel, an internationally known conductor who was a student in Venezuela’s “El Sistema,” a program that provides free, community-based music instruction to that country’s disadvantaged youth. Similar programs have been developed in the United States and are credited with helping to instill students with confidence and discipline by building on their interest in music.

Students who apply to RocMusic will be required to commit to excellent attendance at school and the program. More details on the application process will be forthcoming.

The city has also received $100,000 from Windstream Corporation to fund a music-production studio at the Gantt site.

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