Opportunities for Student Involvement
As a culture of community service is strongly promoted at NEC, students are encouraged by faculty and administrators to participate in the Community Performances and Partnerships Program. Any student who is interested may sign up to be involved on a volunteer basis as much or little as their schedule allows. Additionally, some students have class, program, or studio requirements that include participation in these programs.
Students who are interested in a more extensive outreach experience may apply to participate in one of NEC's Community Performances and Partnerships Fellowships. Students who are accepted into these programs receive an honorarium for their participation. All students who perform/work in community settings receive training through workshops, one-on-one mentoring, classes, seminars, and peer feedback sessions. Below are the five fellowship program opportunities currently offered through the CPP Program:
- Individual Fellowship Program
- Musical Storytelling Fellowship Program
- Teaching Fellowship Program
- Ensemble Fellowship Program
- Holiday Ensemble Fellowship Program
If you are a current NEC student and would like to more information on ways that you can be involved in the program, please read through our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact:
Tanya Maggi, Director of Community Performances and Partnerships
New England Conservatory
290 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
What Students Are Saying
"The CPP Program reaffirms that what I am doing really does make a difference, and that I am practicing for more than just self gain." - Mary Lynch '10 B.M., Oboe Performance
"The past two years, as a member of the Euroca Quartet (an NEC Honors Ensemble), and with a solo piano Fellowship, I have been very fortunate to be able to perform all over Boston. I feel that because of the outreach program, I am much more confident, and much more coherent. NEC students are so lucky to have the CPP Program. Everyone should take full advantage of this incredible opportunity which is so easily accessible." - Andrei Baumann '09 M.M., Piano Performance
"Participating in CPP has given me an incredible opportunity to share music with those who appreciate it but cannot easily attend concerts. It's made me remember the power of music. I loved hearing the gracious feedback from listeners after our concerts, and collaborating with my good friend. Thank you, CPP, for making this year memorable!" - Angela Theis '10 M.M., Vocal Performance
The New England Conservatory Community Performances and Partnerships Program is shining its spotlight on violinist Lisa Fujita, a second year Undergraduate student and Musical Storytelling Fellow in the CPP Program. We interviewed Lisa recently and she described her involvement with CPP. Since the fall of 2011, Lisa has been doubling up on her fellowships, as an individual Musical Storyteller AND a member of a Musical Storytelling Ensemble during the 2011-2012 school year. In the 2012-2013 school year, she continues as a solo Musical Storyteller, AND is a member of a duo participating in the CPP Ensemble Fellowship. During her little spare time, we caught up with Lisa to ask about her experiences sharing music with kids!
NECCPP: How did you find out about the CPP Program? How did you first get involved?
Lisa Fujita: I first heard about the NEC CPP Program during my freshmen year Orientation. My Residential Assistant at the time, Elizabeth O'Neil, was the spokesperson and when she said that kids and music were involved I had to sign up!
NECCPP: Describe how you were involved in CPP last year.
LF: I was involved in CPP as a musical storytelling and ensemble fellow. I started out with the Music Storytelling Fellowship by myself making a 30min program to entertain and interact with kids with music and incorporating a storytime in the middle. Then my best friend and I started talking about doing an ensemble fellowship together and we recruited two more of our best friends and the four of us got together doing a similar thing as my musical storytelling but with more instruments. The ensemble was quite interesting because it was not a common group of instruments you would see together: there was a violin, clarinet, flute and bassoon. When we first got together we weren't really sure what we were going to play as an ensemble but we figured out a way to transpose some string quartets and wind quintets to fit our instruments.
NECCPP: What is Musical Storytelling?
LF: Musical Storytelling is a program in which we show kids how music can help tell a story; by setting the mood, expressing emotions or for transition music. By adding music to stories that kids love, I am hoping that they will also realize how the story can change with the different sounds in the background, almost as if the characters and the story itself are coming to life!
NECCPP: What will you be doing through the CPP Program this year?
LF: This year I have been continuing my Musical Storytelling and Ensemble Fellowships. The only difference is I am in a different ensemble, with just an oboist. She is another best friend of mine and I knew she liked kids as much as I did, so I asked her to join me in my incredible experience as a CPP fellow. I would tell her all about it last year but you can only truly understand the how amazing it is by being involved, and I was also a terrible story teller so I wanted her to get the real idea of what I was experiencing with these kids.
NECCPP: What do you like about performing as a Musical Storyteller? And as a member of an ensemble?
LF: I love kids! I love the energy that they have and the way their imagination works, it is limitless. As you grow up and focus more on reality and what is correct, you tend to forget the world of imagination that filled our childhood and it feels amazing to be back in that world with the kids every time I do a program. Last year I had a game during my program where the kids would have to tell me what animal they think of when I play a certain sound on my violin. I had "cow" as a fixed answer in my head but then the kids started calling out animals like "tigers" and "dinosaurs" (my favorite answer) and it helped me remember that there is no one answer to a question like that. What's even more fun is sharing this experience with my best friends. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that we all share the same passion for kids and music and watching them interact with the kids like I do is so entertaining and makes me so happy that we have that in common. It also helps when I start acting like a three-year-old and they understand exactly why. It's hard not to after being around so many of them!! Being a musical storyteller is the best opportunity NEC has given me. It reminds me everyday why I love music and what I want to do with it, which is to bring it to those who are not exposed to it as much.
NECCPP: What has been the most beneficial thing about being a CPP Fellow?
LF: I grew up in a musical family and a musical town and now am at a conservatory where I'm constantly
surrounded by music. So when I began CPP and met kids who has never heard of or seen a violin it was an eye-opener for me. I did not know that music could be a limited privilege to people and kids. Being involved in CPP helped me look at the world in a different way where not every child is blessed like me to be involved in music from a young age, so that is why I love being a fellow and bringing it to them.
Having to do all these programs also helped me overcome my fear of public speaking. English being my second language I have always felt insecure and terrified when I was talking in front of people. My knees and hands would start shaking and I would start to stutter and soon my face was red a tomato. But having to do that so often in front of big groups of kids was a big step for me to face my fear of public speaking. I started out by memorizing my program, down to the every word of what I was going to say when. But soon I found out that I cannot plan things to go the way I want them to because kids are unpredictable. They will ask questions, they will start screaming, and soon I had to learn to adjust to every situation and play off of the environment. This definitely helped me become a better speaker and hopefully an entertainer!
NECCPP: What skills that you learned as a Musical Storytelling Fellow will you take with you in the future?
LF: After interacting with so many kids in different situations I feel more confident about understanding kids and how to talk to them, so I am hoping that that will help me become a better teacher in the future. The public speaking will also be helpful because I plan on talking a lot to many more groups of kids or even parents, letting them know how music can change one's life. And finally, learning to adjust quickly when a situation changes during a program has been a useful skill that I learned during my involvement as a CPP fellow. Not just these programs but life always throws unexpected things at you and you have to learn to accept whatever it may be and use it to your benefit. I believe CPP has taught me how to be better at that. Well, at least now I know that when a kid starts to cry because you're playing the violin you can try to play his or her favorite song and he or she will stop crying!
NECCPP: What do you like about the CPP Program?
LF: Goodness, this is a loaded question, because there is nothing I do NOT like about the CPP Program. Well first of all, I truly appreciate the fact that the CPP program even exists at my school. I have always been interested in outreach programs and had no idea NEC offered it until I was sitting in Jordan Hall listening to (CPP Program Director) Tanya Maggi and Elizabeth talk. I think it is a wonderful thing for musicians to not spend their entire day in a practice room trying to perfect shifts and double stops but to go out and have FUN playing music for kids or older people or any kind of audience. Sometimes when we are too focused on ourselves and wanting to become a soloist we tend to forget why we are even playing music and the fun starts to turn into stress. That is why CPP is so perfect to remind all of us of what music is capable of and it's not all about being the best player, it's about loving, sharing and enjoying playing it. It makes my day every time I have a program and also being able to do it with friends was also an incredible feeling. If I'm ever frustrated in a practice room because I can't play a piece I just think about CPP and start playing kids' songs and sing along to it. It makes me happy knowing that even if I can't play a certain note in tune, I'm bringing this amazing joy to little kids around me who don't even know what "in tune" means and are just happy because that's what music does.
NECCPP: What would you tell other students who are interested in being a CPP Fellow?
LF: Definitely do it!! It is one of the best things NEC has to offer and it's an experience you can't get anywhere else. It's not time-consuming, it doesn't require rehearsals, it's another performance opportunity for us to become better musicians. There is absolutely nothing to lose! I can't stress enough how incredible it is to be a fellow and I want other friends to join me!!
NECCPP: Do you have any other thoughts or reflections you would like to share?
LF: Being involved in CPP made me rethink my goals in life. Before I was happy with wanting to be in an orchestra or finding a string quartet. Those two are definitely still my dreams and I would love it if I ended up doing either or both of them. But after being a CPP fellow and seeing the other side of the world where music is not as flourished, I began to wonder what I can do to change that. How I can bring music to kids who are not exposed to it. Therefore, my new dream is to create a program for unprivileged kids who love and/or want to learn music, and to help their dreams of wanting to do music come true. I know there are already many programs out there that do this, so it would make me so happy to either be involved with any of them or even to establish my own. I can't wait to bring music to these kids and to show them what an amazing thing it is.