Media Contact: Lilyvania Mikulski
FIU’s School of Music and The Johnny Mercer Foundation
Join Forces to Enhance Music Education
MIAMI (March. 10, 2014) – Florida International University’s School of Music (FIU) has come together with The Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) to enrich music education in Miami-Dade County schools by developing innovative educational opportunities, delivering high-quality instructional materials, and providing professional development opportunities for music and language arts teachers.
As part of the partnership, FIU students who are pursuing a master’s in music education will have the opportunity to apply for one of four scholarships provided through The Johnny Mercer Music Education Fellows program each year. The total amount of the four scholarships is $20,000. The scholarship recipients will be charged with helping to identify professional opportunities for local music and language arts teachers, and help them to cultivate additional educational opportunities for their students.
“This strategic partnership with The Johnny Mercer Foundation enables us to significantly enhance our student teaching opportunities in the Miami-Dade County schools,” said Brian Schriner, dean of FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts. “Our students will have the chance to combine their passion for music with their FIU education to engage and improve their community by helping to grow a love of music in local children.”
JMF’s “Accentuate the Positive,” a student activity guide that explains how a song is born, how music and lyrics go hand-in-hand in creating a story and how these songs reflect culture, passions and ideals, is currently being used by the following Miami-Dade County public schools: Joella C. Good Elementary; E.C. Stirrup Elementary; South Miami, K-8; Christina M. Eve Elementary; and Mater Academy Elementary.
“The Johnny Mercer Foundation offers students valuable opportunities to explore music and the arts. Miami-Dade County Public Schools has been a vocal advocate and strong supporter of arts education through extremely difficult financial times,” said Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools. “This new partnership venture with FIU makes perfect sense and will benefit our students immeasurably.”
The five schools adopted the program within three months of learning about it. As part of FIU’s work with JMF, the School of Music plans to engage additional local teachers and promote the use of “Accentuate the Positive” in more schools in South Florida.
“The impact of our partnership will be far reaching, linking music to literacy development, aiding students’ artistic growth and enriching second language acquisition,” said Dianne Thurman, education chair and member of The Johnny Mercer Foundation’s Board of Directors.
About The Johnny Mercer Foundation:
The mission of the Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook as exemplified by the life and work of Johnny Mercer: lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator, and producer. The Foundation continues Johnny’s legacy by partnering with individuals and organizations dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the disciplines he mastered, and the causes he and Ginger championed.
In addition to New Jersey Performing Arts Center, JMF partners with several institutions including: Accentuate the Positive at Kaufman Music Center in New York City; The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project with Northwestern University (The American Music Theatre Project) to nurture and encourage young talent in the field of songwriting and The Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals, the first of its kind in the country dedicated solely to the creation of new musicals.
As well, JMF has a unique relationship with Georgia State University where The Johnny Mercer Collection, including Johnny’s many works and memorabilia are housed. They also support Georgia State University in a fellowship-type program to facilitate music education through the development of an elementary, middle and high school curriculum that focuses on, but is not limited to, songwriting and the Great American Songbook. The Foundation is also a major supporter of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program), Braille Institute’s Johnny Mercer Children and Adult Choirs, UCLA’s Art of the Brain Program, and television station KCET in Los Angeles. For more information please visit The Johnny Mercer Foundation’s website at: http://www.johnnymercerfoundation.org/
About the FIU School of Music
The FIU School of Music offers the ideal environment to inspire future generations of musicians and educators for diverse musical careers in the 21st century. We prepare our students for diverse careers as teachers, performers, composers, and scholars. Our internationally renowned faculty and staff, combined with our intellectual curiosity and our engaged creative spirit, is what inspires the FIU School of Music’s pursuit of interdisciplinary global knowledge. By emphasizing comprehensive musicianship, individualized instruction, ensemble experience, and technology, the FIU School of Music provides an outstanding professional musical education in one of the world’s most vibrant cities, Miami. We offer strong practice-based, learning opportunities offered in partnership with Miami-Dade Public Schools, National String Project Consortium, Johnny Mercer Foundation and Miami Music Project. For more information please visit the FIU School of Music’s website at: http://carta.fiu.edu/music/.
About The College of Architecture + The Arts:
With more than 1,400 majors in seven academic departments—Music, Architecture, Art and Art History, Communication Arts, Interior Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Theatre—the College of Architecture + The Arts is proud to offer undergraduate and graduate students an intimate and nurturing atmosphere that offers opportunities for individual attention while promoting the creative spirit in the pursuit of knowledge and the cultivation of imagination, intellectual curiosity, and artistic expression. For more information, visit CARTA’s website at: http://carta.fiu.edu/ or http://vimeo.com/49453119.
Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. Its colleges and schools offer more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU is Worlds Ahead in its local and global engagement, finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded 200,000 degrees and enrolls 50,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports. For more information about FIU, visit http://www.fiu.edu/.