The BAR Institute is an arts-based not-for-profit music education organization, and an independent platform geared towards making elite education and mentorship accessible. The BAR Institute operates in a way that everyone learns together in a constructive community environment to develop a base foundation towards professional development.
Through 2018, BAR Institute presented their ArtReach-funded project, Summer School, a 12-week music program for youth. This workshop series was designed to create opportunities to assist youth participants in their development as independent artists while maintaining accessibility through free programming. Being educators, the BAR Institute team organized a clear path for youth, focusing on slow, in-depth learning and artist development, and promoting present and mindful engagement.
BAR Institute shared with us where the idea for the program came from, “The idea for this program originated from the frustrations of growing up without opportunities to develop skill sets in music performance and creation with high quality resources and educators. These elite opportunities were only offered to youth who could afford them or those with the means to take private lessons. I wanted to create an open platform for those with the time and desire to put into music to have access to quality resources”.
The youth have responded really well to this program, and several youth in particular have been very successful since being an active participant of the program, “Half the youth have joined our regular drop-in programming, and one youth has now joined our full professional collective as an up-and-coming artist as well as a performing musician. Another participant who I’ve worked with for years just signed to Art & Crafts, a prominent indie music label in Canada”.
ArtReach has been BAR Institute’s sole funder for their program, and they mentioned that, “ArtReach provided us with the funds to hold space in a professional recording studio, along with paying for professional facilitation and assistant facilitation for the young artists. ArtReach has also helped fund transit tokens for youth and being able to have food available”.
With all the positive work that is being done with the program, we asked what the largest change they’ve seen this program make in the community; “The biggest change is that we’ve begun planting the seeds of professional excellence in music in younger participants than we have reached before”.
The BAR Institute is eager to expand their program in the future with larger goals in mind, “We see this program expanding over the years, hopefully working with schools more to offer drop-in lunch-time programs or pop-up performances to promote our regular programming. We hope to be on an operating budget by 2021”.