Walker West Music Academy

Focus Area: Early Childhood

Grant Amount: $10,000

Based in St. Paul. Established in 1988, Walker West may be the oldest community music school in the nation founded by African American musicians. It is an out-of-school-time, nonprofit music school that teaches instrumental and vocal music to students ages 5 to adult. It teaches all styles of music, but is especially well-known for jazz, gospel, and other styles of improvisational music. It provides affordable, quality music instruction inspired by the African American cultural experience. Many of its students have gone on to study at top music conservatories and perform professionally.

Grant supports creating a new Afrocentric early childhood music program, supporting curriculum development and the program launch in fall 2022. The new program is being developed by a teaching artist from MacPhail who has come to Walker West to create this program. They will pilot the new program at the center, and they are discussing collaborating with other early childhood programs to use the curriculum.