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Paul Simon Music Fellows Program Launched in NYC

  • Early-career music teachers serving students in grades 6-12 in New York City public schools have a chance to participate in the new Paul Simon Music Fellows Program, supported and funded by the singer-songwriter, himself a product of New York City public schools. 

    The program pairs 20 fellows with veteran teachers for mentorship and skills training over the course of the school year. The program calls for those teachers’ schools to receive an 11-week artist-in-residence plus a guest artist – selected by Simon -- to lead master classes for students.  Mayor De Blasio and Chancellor Carranza with Paul Simon Music Fellows

    The program was established with a $1 million donation from Simon to the Fund for Public Schools to invest in music programs and promote musicianship for students through teacher training and collaboration with professional musicians. The funds represented net proceeds from Simon’s final, hometown concert 2018 Homeward Bound – The Farewell Tour – at New York’s Flushing Meadows Corona Park. 

    “As a graduate of the NYC public school system myself, I look forward to seeing the flowering of musical talent, and hearing what our city’s kids give us, as they take advantage of this new program,” Simon said in a statement. Such programs, he said, “have the capacity to change and enrich students’ lives.” 

    New York City Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza was effusive in his praise, saying, “Thank you to Paul Simon for helping us further our investment in providing our city’s students with the high-quality arts education they deserve, and ensuring our hallways never sound of silence.” 

    The first cohort of 20 teachers was selected last fall; applications for the next round will be accepted in the summer for the coming school year. 

    Paul Simon One of this year’s fellows is Noah Teachey, a third-year music teacher at the Urban Assembly School for Applied Math and Science. His mentor is David West, the veteran orchestra director at Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music. 

    Teachey told Spectrum News, a cable outlet, that he admired Paul Simon: "He's done a lot of really innovative stuff with music. And that's what we're doing here, is trying to do innovative stuff with music in a school."  

    West applauded the initiative. "Anyone in one of these classrooms could be a future Paul Simon," West told the news site.